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Erik Carter

Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor, Dept. of Special Education

Erik Carter, Ph.D., is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focuses on evidence-based strategies for supporting access to the general curriculum and promoting valued roles in school, work, community, and congregational settings for children and adults with intellectual disability, autism, and multiple disabilities.

Prior to receiving his doctorate, Dr. Carter worked as a high school teacher and transition specialist. He has published more than 200 articles, chapters, and books in the areas of educational, transition, and community services for children and youth with disabilities. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, the Early Career Award from the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Patricia L. Sitlington Research in Transition Award from the Division on Career Development and Transition, the Research Award from the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and the Young Professional Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. He is an active member of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and invests in collaborative partnerships across the university and state. Visit his website to learn more about his current projects and research: www.erikwcarter.com.

Presently, Dr. Carter works closely with undergraduate and graduate students across a series of research and technical assistance projects addressing:

  • The transition to life after high school
  • Systems changes to integrated employment
  • Faith, disability, and inclusive congregational supports
  • Inclusive postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disability
  • Inclusive education and access to the general curriculum
  • Peer relationships and peer-mediated support models
  • Multi-tiered systems of supports 

The low-incidence program currently has generous funding available for graduate students interested in pursuing a master's degree or doctoral degree in severe disabilities. To learn more about these funding opportunities, click here.

If you would like to schedule a meeting—in person, by phone, or by Skype—just click below:



Courses Taught

  • Procedures in Transition to Adult Life (SPEDS 3312)
  • Advanced Procedures for Transition to Adult Life (SPEDS 7300)
  • Current Issues in Autism and Severe Disabilities (SPEDS 7710)