Rachel E. Donegan
Assistant Professor, Special Education
ACUE Distinguished Teaching Scholar


Special and Early Education (SEED)


  • Ph.D., Vanderbilt University, 2020, Special Education
  • M.Ed., Vanderbilt University, 2008, Special Education
  • B.A., Calvin College, 2006, Psychology


Rachel E. Donegan is an assistant professor in special education in the Department of Special and Early Education. She received her Ph.D. specializing in special education and research methodology from Vanderbilt University where she was a scholar with the National Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention. Before earning her Ph.D., Rachel was an elementary special education teacher and instructional coach for elementary and middle school special educators.

Rachel's research focuses on reading interventions, methods for intensifying instruction and the role of teacher knowledge in student reading outcomes.

Courses Taught

  • SESE 415 Instructional Methods for Elementary Students with Mild Disabilities: Reading, Language Arts
  • SESE 416 Instructional Methods for Elementary Students with Mild Disabilities: Mathematics and Science

Selected Publications

Donegan, R. E. and Wanzek, J. (2021). Effects of reading interventions for upper elementary struggling readers: A look at recent research. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Advance online publication.

McMaster, K., Baker, K., Donegan, R. E., Hugh, M., Sargent, K. (2020). Professional development to support teachers' implementation of intensive reading intervention: A systematic review. Remedial and Special Education. Advance online publication.

Donegan, R. E., Wanzek, J., and Al Otaiba, S. (2020). Effects of a reading intervention implemented at differing intensities. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 35(2), 62-71.

Wanzek, J., Al Otaiba, S., Schatschneider, C., Donegan, R. E., Rivas, B., Jones, F., and Petscher, Y. (2020). Intensive intervention for upper elementary students with severe reading comprehension difficulties. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 13(3), 408-429.

Selected Presentations

Donegan, R. E.,* Wanzek, J. (presented 2020, February). A Synthesis of Recent Reading Intervention Research for Upper Elementary Struggling Readers. Poster presentation at the Pacific Coast Research Conference, Coronado, CA.

Wanzek, J., * Al Otaiba, S.,* and Donegan, R. E.,* (presented 2019, January). Effects of a Multi-Component Reading Intervention for Fourth Grade Struggling Readers. Presentation at the Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference, Indianapolis, IN.

Bresina, B.,* Baker, K.,* Donegan, R. E.,* and Whaley, V.* (presented 2019, January). RTI in Secondary Grades: Does it Effectively Support Adolescent Reading Comprehension Difficulties. Paper presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference.

Donegan, R. E*. (presented 2017, October). Making it Work! Using a Standardized Reading Intervention with Groups of Adolescent Struggling Readers. Poster presentation at Tennessee Council for Exceptional Children Annual Conference, Franklin, TN.


Gabel 162K

ACUE Credentialed Educator