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College of Education

National disabilities group honors

UW's Martin Agran's research, service

College of Education professor Martin Agran’s decades of service to one of the lead organizations advocating for persons with disabilities were recognized by that national group at its annual conference.

TASH (formerly The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps) members honored Agran, UW professor of special education, during the general assembly of its 40th anniversary conference, held in Portland, Oregon, in early December. The group recognized Agran’s years of service on its Board of Directors, which ended earlier this year. It also acknowledge his seven years as editor-in-chief of its journal, Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities.

Agran says he accepted TASH leadership’s request to honor his work modestly.  

“What I’ve done for them, I’ve always found to be worthwhile,” he adds of his service to TASH. “It’s payback time in the best sense.” “That organization literally shaped my career,” with the journal as his primary service outlet. “It wasn’t personal ambition, but it was to say thank you.”

TASH differs from the typical scholarly association, accepting an activist commitment to advocating for persons with disabilities. Members include scholars, public policy specialists, parents, self-advocates (persons with disabilities, administrators and others committed to common issues.  Agran joined the TASH board while still serving in his editorship role. Serving with fellow members representing some of the other internal stakeholder groups was an eye-opening and productive experience.  

“We all shared the same values, but our way of addressing issues differed,” he says of his board experience.

TASH leaders rely on the kind of research that is the hallmark of Agran’s career to inform actions.

“You do things because they are right, and also because the research backs them up,” he says. “That’s a delicate balance.”

Agran’s continuing dedication to high-quality research, and to TASH, extends beyond his journal editorship to two organization-sanctioned books. The first was a volume edited by Agran, titled Equity and Full Participation for Individuals with Severe Disabilities: A Vision for the Future, published in 2013. That volume shares cutting-edge research by scholars working in the field. The second, TASH: 40 Years of Progressive Leadership, offers a retrospective of the organization and its impacts on legislation, practice, etc. Agran’s involvement with both projects was sparked by his previous work and his ongoing commitment to research and TASH.

Dr. Martin Agran

Dr. Martin Agran
Dr. Agran's service to TASH includes editorship of two recent books sponsored by the organization.

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