Faculty Profile: Dr. Bethany McKissick

Name: Dr. Bethany McKissick

Title: Associate Professor

Department: Department of Special Education, Foundations, and Research

Hometown: Huntington, West Virginia

Colleges attended and degrees: 

University of Kentucky- Bachelors of Science in Special Education- Moderate to Severe Disabilities and Masters of Education- Moderate to Severe Disabilities; University of North Carolina at Charlotte- Doctor of Philosophy of Special Education

Years working at ECU: 5 years

What do you love about ECU?

As a native of Huntington, WV and a child of Marshall University, we have a shared history. I have always appreciated the reverence ECU has shown Marshall and those lives that were forever changed when that plane went down after playing ECU. That’s just one example of how the culture ECU is a special and as a scholar of accessible and equitable education makes this a great place to work.

What are your research interests?

My research focuses on improving the post-school outcomes of students with disabilities and supporting racial equity of students with disabilities in rural school settings. Essentially, I want accessible education for all students and my research address how we can mitigate the barriers and challenges for all students.

What is your favorite course that you have taught or currently teach?

My favorite course to teach is SPED 3200, which is the methods course for special education. With the national teaching shortage and the fallout for teachers from the pandemic, it solidifies how important it is that our preservice teachers know how to teach independent of prescribed curricula. In addition to being my favorite course, it is also the most difficult course to teach, and probably the most important course I teach.

What drew you to SEFR and, in particular, special education?

I’ve been working with people with disabilities as early as age 8 when I volunteered with my mom for Special Olympics. I have served people with disabilities for as long as I can remember so it wasn’t surprising when I decided to be a special educator at 8 and maintained that focus throughout life. In terms of what drew me to SEFR, it’s the people.  The special education colleagues I have the privilege of collaborating with daily keep me sharp, adaptable, and continue to support me to think critically about accessible education for all students.

Outside of work, what are your favorite hobbies or interests?

I am the mother of two small children so as far as hobbies go…that’s a stretch.  When I do have time to myself, I enjoy reading nonfiction novels and dancing.  I am a long-time contemporary dancer and have started to get back into tap with another departmental colleague.