Monica Simonsen

School of Education - Special Education
Lecturer/Academic Program Associate
Primary office:
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
University of Kansas
1122 West Campus Road
Lawrence, Kansas 66045


Dr. Monica Simonsen is the Director of Special Education Online Programs for the University of Kansas. Dr. Simonsen previously served as the Program Associate for the Secondary Special Education and Transition Services online graduate program and a Senior Research Associate at TransCen, Inc., providing technical assistance and research expertise to a variety of state and national transition projects. In this capacity, Dr. Simonsen worked closely with communities in Maryland to implement a model of seamless transition and improve the post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities. This involved conducting needs assessments, using the findings to help the communities develop action plans, and helping to coordinate appropriate technical assistance and training activities.

Prior to joining TransCen, Inc., Dr. Simonsen worked as a secondary special educator and transition specialist in Maryland, coordinated a post-secondary program for 18-21 year olds with intellectual disabilities, and completed her doctorate at the University of Maryland. She has been an instructor for KU since 2010 and has taught courses at the University of Maryland and at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Simonsen has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and practice briefs.

Dr. Simonsen’s primary research interests are the role of secondary school programming, transition services and family expectations/engagementon the post-school outcomes of youth with disabilities. A particular area of interest is the role of the transition specialist, including their personal, attributes, characteristics and practices.


Ph.D., Special Education, University of Maryland

M.Ed., Special Education, Secondary Transition, University of Maryland

B.S., Special Education, University of Maryland

Selected Presentations

Simonsen, M. . Work Begets Work: Making Integrated Employment a Reality. Annual Pacific Rim Conference. Honolul, HI

Simonsen, M. & Luecking, R. . (11/01/2013 - 11/30/2013). Implementing a Model for Seamless Transition . Division of Career Development and Transition Annual Conference. Williamsburg, VA

Simonsen, M. . (11/30/2013). The Personnel Factor Traits of Effective Transition Specialists. Division of Career Development and Transition Annual Conference. Williamsburg, VA

Simonsen, M. . (11/30/2013). What Promotes Integrated Employment Outcomes for Youth with IDD. Division of Career Development and Transition Annual Conference. Williamsburg, VA

Simonsen, M. . (10/01/2013 - 10/31/2013). Effective Job Development & Quality Work Experiences. Keynote at Florida TPSID Conference. Boca Raton, FL

Selected Awards & Honors

Patricia Stilington Emerging Researcher Award
Council of Special Education, Division of Career Development & Transition

Jacob K. Goldhager Award
University of Maryland

University of Maryland College of Education SPARC award
University of Maryland

Preparation of Secondary and Transition Leadership Personnel Fellowship
University of Maryland

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