LAWRENCE – University of Kansas faculty member Karrie Shogren advises foreign government ministers, presents in countries around the globe and contributes her knowledge to Kansas in presentations across the state. She is a leading scholarly figure in nearly every aspect of researching children with developmental disabilities and of self-determination among people with and without disabilities.
After years of academic and research excellence, Shogren has been awarded the rank of distinguished professor, as the Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor of Special Education in the KU School of Education & Human Sciences. The title became effective at the start of the spring semester.
“I have sought to engage in work that advances self-determination for people with disabilities throughout my career,” Shogren said. “This professorship advances the recognition and impact of this work, which has been shaped by people with disabilities, school and community leaders, students and faculty at KU and across the world that have been part of it.
“It is a privilege to learn with and shape the direction of services and supports for people with disabilities in schools and communities.”
In addition to her rank as a distinguished professor in the Department of Special Education, Shogren serves as director of the KU Center on Developmental Disabilities (KUCDD), as a senior scientist at the Life Span Institute and as associate director of the Beach Center on Disability. A KU faculty member for 10 years, she was appointed by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly to the Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities in 2019.
“Dr. Shogren’s achievements at KU and beyond are a testimony to the power of higher education to transform lives and build better communities,” said Rick Ginsberg, dean of the School of Education & Human Sciences. “Through her hundreds of publications and presentations, multiple grants and widely used assessments she developed, her work has directly impacted research, theory and practice in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“She is among the eminent scholars in her field in the world.”
Under Shogren’s leadership, the KUCDD recently received a five-year, $2.9 million grant to expand its work that supports Kansans with disabilities and their families.
Shogren’s research focuses on assessment and intervention in self-determination and supported decision-making for people with disabilities. She presents in countries from Italy to South Korea. She has been at the forefront of multiple grant-funded projects, including assessment validation and efficacy trials for self-determination interventions in school and community contexts.
Shogren has published over 225 articles in peer-reviewed journals and is the author or co-author of 23 books. She is the lead author of the “Self-Determination Inventory,” a validated assessment of self-determination. She is also the lead author for the Supported Decision-Making Inventory System, the first assessment of the supports needed to involve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in decisions about their lives.
She also has a strong focus on inclusive and participatory research approaches.
“Creating opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be co-researchers is essential to promoting self-determination and enhancing outcomes,” Shogren said. “I am thrilled that (KUCDD) has grown into a place that advances inclusive research.”
The importance of self-determination, Shogren said, stems from her belief that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have not had opportunities to make choices and decisions about and set goals for their lives.
“Living a self-determined life is a right shared by all people,” Shogren said. “I have been privileged to partner with people with disabilities to develop interventions and supports that are used in schools and communities to enable people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to challenge the biases that they face, identify the futures they want and the goals and supports that will get them there.”
Before coming to KU in 2013, Shogren spent four years as a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She joined the faculty ranks for the first time in 2006 at the University of Texas at Austin.
She serves as president of the American Association on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities, a leading professional association in the field that she has held roles in for 19 years. Shogren was also the recipient of the Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award from the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities in 2022.
Shogren received her doctorate in special education from KU, her master’s in psychology from the University of Dayton, and her bachelor’s in the liberal arts and distinction in psychology from The Ohio State University.