Hilary Travers, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor of Special Education; Principal Investigator, Transition Tennessee

VKC Member

Overview of Interests

As Principal Investigator (PI) of the Tennessee Department of Education-funded Transition Tennessee, Dr. Travers' research has focused on supporting the lives of transition-aged youth (students 14 years of age or older) in meaningful and practical ways. In 1999, Kochhar conducted a study involving 35 state education agencies (SEAs) who each reported that one of the most significant barriers to systemic reform and service improvement was the assignment of unqualified personnel to lead secondary inclusion and transition initiatives. More than 20 years later, this barrier to meaningful change and improvement in schools persists. Travers' current work focuses on understanding the preparation of in-school educators who work with transition-aged youth so that we might support them in improving their practice to therefore improve post-school outcomes for youth. Last year, she conducted a mixed-methods study involving educators who support students with visual impairment to understand their confidence in providing transition instruction and their professional development needs related to serving this student population. She is currently in the process of replicating this study with career and technical education teachers to make sure they too have the resources and supports they need to better include all students with disabilities in their classes. Separately, Travers is currently engaged in research to understand how personnel preparation programs across the state of Tennessee are preparing educators to work with all transition-aged youth. Across these studies, she actively works to bridge the research to practice gap by creating resources, compiling information, or developing trainings that educators request to improve their practice.