Ludlow named endowed professor

Dr. Barbara L.Ludlow, chair of the West Virginia University Department of Special Education at the College of Education and Human Services, was recently named the Chester E. & Helen B. Derrick CEHS Endowed Professor.

The endowment supports a professorship for any program at the college, providing a broad range of support for research, teaching, and service. 

“My successes could not have been achieved without the collaborative efforts of many other people and I am honored and humbled by the appointment as the Derrick Professor of Special Education,” stated Ludlow.

Ludlow earned her doctorate in education from West Virginia University, a masters in arts from Cornell University, and bachelor’s in art from St. John’s University. She began her career serving as a special education teacher in public school systems in Wilmington, DE and Buckhannon, WV.

In the 1970’s Ludlow served as a part-time faculty member, before being appointed to a full-time position in 1983 and gaining tenure in 1995.  In 2005, she was appointed as the chair of the special education department, a role she has served in since. 

Although born and raised in metropolitan New York City, after living and working in rural West Virginia, Ludlow chose to focus her professional interests on special education and disability services in rural communities.  

“Critical shortages of special education personnel occur in many areas of the United States.  However, they are especially severe in rural areas like Appalachia,” stated Ludlow.  “I came to realize that WVU was the organization best positioned to make an impact in addressing these critical shortages, which has a major impact on the quality of services in schools across the state.”

By securing state and federal funding, Ludlow was able to pioneer new models of teacher education in special education, using the first field-based training at multiple centers around the state in the 1980s, then live television courses available at public viewing sites during the 1990s, and, finally, fully online programs accessible in the workplace or home beginning in 2001.  In collaboration with her colleague, Dr. Melissa Hartley, she has also been involved in exploring applications of 3D virtual immersive environments in teacher education since 2010. 

“There is a drive here to serve the state. WVU is the best institution to help with the increasing challenges we have. I’ve stayed here because these resources give others the access to education they may not otherwise have,” Ludlow said.

Ludlow has authored numerous articles on teacher education in special education and is a leading authority on rural special education and on technology-based delivery of personnel preparation programs.

“Dr. Ludlow is an exceptional faculty member and is highly deserving of this recognition,” stated Dean Gypsy Denzine of the College.  “Her efforts are nationally recognized, especially her research on the innovative uses of technology. She continues to serve our college and our state through her impressive research and ability to put her research into action. We feel confident we have appropriately honored the Derrick’s intentions for their gift, given Dr. Ludlow’s extensive and impressive work in special education. “

Chester E. Derrick passed in February of 2007.  He received his master’s degree from CEHS in 1958.  He began his teaching career at Hurricane High School in Hurricane, WV, was a principal at John Adams Junior High in Charleston, WV, and was a counselor at Charleston and George Washington High Schools also in Charleston, WV.


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