Department of Educator Preparation, Innovation and Research

Dr. Patricia Kopetz holds the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professorship of Education of Children with Disabilities at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is the Director of the College of Education's Center for the Research and Study of Disability, Education, and Culture (CRSDEC) – website: www.crsdec.org. She advises students in UMSL’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) program, and supervises the Center’s partnerships with local research sites/clinics. She serves on the Board of Directors of Variety St. Louis, the organization that is directly linked to the work of the endowed professorship, and as Chair of its Parents Council and Board Lead for Variety's Facility Project; the Board of Directors of the St. Louis ARC; the Miriam School Learning Center Professional Advisory Board; and is Past-Chair of Missouri’s Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP) for the State's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). In addition, she is a member of the MU Research Board (2010 – present), and participates on several University committees, as well as those within the College of Education.  Dr. Kopetz is the graduate program director for both College of Education certificate programs:  Autism and Developmental Studies; and Applied Behavior Analysis.

Previous professional positions:

  • Professor, Counseling and Special Education:  Central Michigan University (CMU)
  • Fulbright Professor of Research and Instruction:  Mzuzu University, Malawi (MZ)
  • Professor, Graduate Studies Division, Educational Psychology and Special Education: University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC)
  • Director, College Access Program:  University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC)
  • Teacher, Ritenour School District:  St. Louis, Missouri

Scholarship: Dr. Kopetz is senior author of the textbook, Comprehensive Urban Education. She has published numerous book chapters and related scholarship published in peer-reviewed journals, and has been awarded several grants that have supported her research to improve the lives of children with complex, neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.

Instruction/Doctoral Studies: Dr. Kopetz teaches graduate Special Education Law and related graduate-level courses that focus on best-practice instructional accommodations/modifications for children with high- and low-incidence disabilities.  She supervises CRSDEC research projects and activities [www.crsdec.org] that develop and support individualized interventions and compensatory strategies to assist students for whom traditional general education pedagogical strategies are insufficient. She advises students seeking a master's degree in three concentration areas of Special Education, as well as applicants to UMSL's Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) Program, and she chairs several doctoral research projects and dissertation committees.

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e-mail

kopetzp@umsl.edu

phone

(314) 516-4885

office

257 Marillac Hall

Dr. Patricia Kopetz holds the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professorship of Education for Children with Disabilities at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  She is the Director of the College of Education's Center for the Research and Study of Disability, Education, and Culture (CRSDEC). She co-created UMSL's Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) program that builds on the Special Education master's degree certificate: Autism and Developmental Disabilities.  She serves on the Board of Directors of Variety St. Louis, the organization that is directly linked to the work of the endowed professorship, and for which she chairs the Variety Parent’s Council and Adventure Camp Evaluation. She is a contributor to Variety’s newsletter, The Spotlight. With Epworth School personnel, Dr. Kopetz and graduate students participate in the Epworth/UMSL Project SEARCH program for students with Autism and related conditions who learn skills leading to competitive employment. Additionally, Dr. Kopetz serves on the Board of Directors of the St. Louis ARC, and as its Vice Chair for Programs and Supports; the Miriam School Professional Advisory Board; the Special Education Advisory Panel for Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as its Secretary; and the Missouri Autism Guidelines Initiative of the Missouri Department of Mental Health. She co-chaired the College of Education’s NCATE Evidence Team on Diversity, and serves on the Graduate Education Committee and on the graduate education’s Dissertation and Travel Awards Committee. For the College’s Division of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Kopetz served on committees that established Student Literacy and Student Dispositions, respectively, and with the Technology and Learning Center’s “Park Independence Project,” a collaborative of representatives from campus and the Special School District of St. Louis County. She is a peer reviewer for the University of Missouri Research Board, and Special Education Book Reviewer for Exceptional Parent Magazine. Dr. Kopetz was successful in nominating the Giant Steps School for Children with Autism as recipient of the 2011 Playground Build project, a community outreach initiative established and sponsored by the St. Louis Rams Football Organization. In addition, she has participated in grants that have secured funding for Greater St. Louis Area non-profit organizations. Prior to accepting the endowed professorship at UM-St. Louis in 2008, she was Professor of Counseling and Special Education at Central Michigan University (CMU). Earlier in her career, she was Professor of Graduate Studies Education in the department of Educational Psychology and Special Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). While at UTC, she chartered the directorship of the university's program for students with learning disabilities, and, under her leadership, developed and maintained it to peak capacity.  In addition, she chaired UTC's Autism Advisory Committee that designed and chartered cross-disciplinary, academic study of Autism, and she was subsequently appointed research coordinator of the university's Autism Center. In later years, she earned an appointment to CMU's at-large, Asperger Syndrome Exploration Committee.

Dr. Kopetz is senior author of the textbook, Comprehensive Urban Education, and has authored several successful grant proposals and peer-reviewed journal articles. Her outreach initiatives have included successful funding for Neurologic Music Therapy programs for students with Autism; multisensory experiences and therapies for children with complex, neurodevelopmental disabilities; educational accommodations for university students with specific learning disabilities; summer programs for children with multiple limitations; and summer art/music/social skills enhancement programs for youngsters with Asperger Syndrome. Her community collaborations have included years of service to the following Boards of Directors: Autism Society of Michigan; Central Michigan's Autism Society of America; Max's Place for Social and Emotional Growth for Students with Asperger Syndrome; Vice-President of the Executive Board of Directors for Special Education and Training at the Orange Grove Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Chattanooga Center for Autism Spectrum Conditions; and the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, as its Program Director, member of the musician's contract negotiations team, and the Symphony Guild's Education Director. 

As a Fulbright Scholar in 2006, Dr. Kopetz was professor and researcher in the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration at Mzuzu University in Malawi, Africa. While there, she also assisted the department’s chartered development of Distance Learning curricula in Educational Psychology. With her Malawian research partner, she published in the Journal of Research in Special Education Needs, and presented their research findings at the International Association of Special Education in July, 2009, in Spain. Dr. Kopetz was invited to present her research, entitled: Autism’s International Implications, to the International Conference on Education, held in Samos Island, Greece, in July, 2011.

Professor Kopetz welcomes opportunities that energize UM-St. Louis faculty, staff, and students to engage in initiatives that enhance Greater St. Louis's embrace of positive, contemporary perspectives that recognize special populations’ diverse talents, abilities, and unique reasoning of the world. Retrospectively, her life's work has supported the premise that each being is called to love and to serve by the most sincere inclinations of the human heart. In tandem with her passion for activities at the university and among related community collaboratives, she enormously enjoys time with family; reading, gardening, and biking; St. Louis Symphony performances; and St. Louis Rams Football.

Previous career positions:

  • Professor, Counseling and Special Education:  Central Michigan University (CMU)
  • Fulbright Professor of Research and Instruction:  Mzuzu University, Malawi
  • Professor, Graduate Studies Division, Educational Psychology and Special Education: University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC)
  • Director, College Access Program:  University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC)
  • Teacher, Ritenour School District:  St. Louis, Missouri