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Professor emerita receives CEC lifetime achievement award

by the College of Education at Illinois / Dec 20, 2017

Professor Emerita Susan Fowler has received the 2018 Council for Exceptional Children J.E. Wallace Wallin Special Education Lifetime Achievement Award. The honor recognizes individuals who have made continued and sustained contributions to the education of children and youth with exceptionalities.

Fowler has been connected to the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) since 1975 thanks to her first mentor, K. Eileen Allen. She said CEC membership opened up her world as a graduate student and eventually shaped her professional development.

“Through CEC, I began writing and publishing extensively about practices to facilitate the transition of young children with disabilities from preschool to kindergarten—and later infants, toddlers, and preschoolers—to conduct many of the early studies about supporting the transition of young children from early intervention to preschool services,” Fowler said.

That early research helped lay the foundation to what is now regarded as recommended practice for supporting the transition of young children with developmental delays across services and programs, according to Fowler.

Fowler served as dean of the College of Education from 2000 to 2006. She began her tenure in the Department of Special Education as an associate professor and department head in 1990. Starting in the mid-1990s through 2000, Fowler served as associate dean for academic affairs. She retired from the College in January of 2016.  

During her career, Fowler was actively involved with national organizations, serving as president of the Division of Early Childhood of the Council of Exceptional Children, president of CEC, and president of the Higher Education Consortium of Special Education. She received the College of Education Service Award in 2014. 

Fowler believes CEC’s future will depend on increased global engagement and said the organization’s impact on her life through the years has been great.

“CEC has supported my professional development, made my research contributions accessible through its journals and conferences, and has enabled me to dream, act, and contribute to a future filled with promise for all children,” she said.

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is a professional association of educators who are dedicated to advancing the success of children with exceptionalities. CEC accomplishes its mission through advocacy, standards, and professional development.