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Michele Schutz

Key Professional Appointments

  • Assistant Professor, Special Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Ph.D., Special Education, Vanderbilt University, 2022

M.Ed., Special Education, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2016

B.S.Ed., Special Education, Illinois State University, 2014

Research & Service

Michele Schutz is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She earned her Ph.D. in special education from Vanderbilt University. She previously taught high school students with disabilities and worked as a transition specialist connecting students to postsecondary opportunities. Dr. Schutz’s research interests center upon the transition of youth with significant disabilities from high school to adult outcomes, especially meaningful employment. She is particularly interested in (a) the roles that various school staff play in facilitating career development for students with disabilities; (b) their collaborations within and beyond their school systems; and (c) building staff capacity to capitalize upon the resources and networks of their local communities to connect students with significant support needs to work experiences, particularly in rural communities.


Schutz, M. A., & Travers, H. E. (2023). Career Development in Rural Districts: Opportunities and Limitations Regarding Students With Disabilities. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 42(3), 136-151.  link >

Schutz, M. A., Schwartzman, B., Awsumb, J. M., Burgess, L., Carter, E. W., & Taylor, J. L. (2023). Pathways to paid work for youth with severe disabilities: Perspectives on strategies for success. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 58(1), 11-26.  link >

Schutz, M. A., Carter, E. W., & Travers, H. E. (Accepted/In press). Rural School Staff Roles in Career Development for Students With Disabilities: A Mixed Methods Study. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals.  link >

Awsumb, J., Schutz, M., Carter, E., Schwartzman, B., Burgess, L., & Lounds Taylor, J. (2022). Pursuing Paid Employment for Youth with Severe Disabilities: Multiple Perspectives on Pressing Challenges. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 47(1), 22-39.  link >

Carter, E. W., & Schutz, M. A. (2022). Addressing Transition Preparation in Middle and High Schools. In K. D. Viezel, S. M. Wilczynski, & A. S. Davis (Eds.), Postsecondary Transition for College- or Career-Bound Autistic Students (pp. 179-200). Springer.  link >

Schutz, M. A., & Carter, E. W. (2022). Elevating the employment outcomes of transition-age youth with disabilities: Four decades of intervention research. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 57(1), 1-21.  link >

Schutz, M. A., & Carter, E. W. (2022). Employment Interventions for Youth With Disabilities: A Review of Transition Practices and Partners. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 45(3), 154-169.  link >

Schutz, M. A., Awsumb, J. M., Carter, E. W., & McMillan, E. D. (2022). Parent Perspectives on Pre-Employment Transition Services for Youth With Disabilities. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 65(4), 266-278.  link >

Carter, E. W., Awsumb, J. M., Schutz, M. A., & McMillan, E. D. (2021). Preparing Youth for the World of Work: Educator Perspectives on Pre-Employment Transition Services. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 44(3), 161-173.  link >

Carter, E. W., Schutz, M. A., Gajjar, S. A., Maves, E. A., Bumble, J. L., & McMillan, E. D. (2021). Using Community Conversations to Inform Transition Education in Rural Communities. Journal of Special Education, 55(3), 131-142.  link >

Schutz, M. A., Carter, E. W., Maves, E. A., Gajjar, S. A., & McMillan, E. D. (2021). Examining school-community transition partnerships using community conversations. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 55(2), 131-145.  link >

Schutz, M. A., Carter, E. W., Gajjar, S. A., & Maves, E. A. (2021). Strengthening Transition Partnerships Through Community Conversation Events. Teaching Exceptional Children, 53(5), 359-368.  link >

Awsumb, J. M., Carter, E. W., Schutz, M. A., & McMillan, E. D. (2020). Perspectives of pre-employment transition services providers on preparing youth with disabilities for employment. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 53(2), 205-218.  link >


SPED 431: Assistive Technology and Physical Disabilities (SPED 431) Course focuses on specialized health care needs, policies, and procedures for working with students with disabilities. An overview is provided of methods for accommodating students including task or environmental modifications, assistive technology, and adaptive equipment options.

SPED 444: Career Development and Transition (SPED 444) Course focuses on developing transition plans and activities that prepare students with disabilities for adulthood, including post school employment, independent living, and postsecondary education. Particular emphasis is placed on career development including determining job interests, career exploration, work experiences prior to graduation, job development, and job placement.

SPED 448: Curriculum Development III (SPED 448) Review and application of curriculum development and adaptation principles and strategies to life skill domain areas. Curriculum areas addressed include domestic/home-living, leisure and recreation, community living, and vocational programs and job preparation. Emphasis on designing instruction to address life skill curriculum needs in inclusive educational programs and on critically evaluating curriculum and program effectiveness.