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Thomas O. Williams Jr.

Thomas O. Williams Jr., Professor

Thomas O. Williams Jr., Professor
Thomas O. Williams Jr., Professor

School of Education
1750 Kraft Drive
Room 2105 (0302)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-8337| thwilli1@vt.edu

Thomas Oliver Williams, Jr
Professor, School of Education
Special Education

Education. After graduating high school, I entered the United States Marine Corps with a primary MOS in logistics. When my commitment was completed, I attended Lord Fairfax Community College and received a degree in Business Administration. I later attended James Madison University where I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Education Degree in Special Education (Emotional Disturbance). I later earned my PhD in Rehabilitation and Special Education from Auburn University in Alabama.

Work Experiences. My professional work experiences are varied. For the past twenty years I have taught in higher education. Before that, I taught in public school as a special education teacher. I also briefly worked in a correctional facility as a special education teacher. Other noteworthy experiences were working as a residential instructor, an autism clinic director, special education liaison for a counseling center, a graduate research assistant, and a job coach for students with disabilities.

Teaching, Research, and Service Connections. Virginia Tech’s special education licensure program was restructured in 2010. From that point forward, my teaching assignment was refocused entirely on the inclusion and education of students with disabilities (SWD) across all licensure content areas. Given this shift, I restructured my research to collaborate across these content areas to facilitate the inclusion of SWD within our teacher preparation programs. My research focus over the past ten years has addressed inclusive education and the characteristics, preparation, and support of the teacher education workforce. This research is extremely important as it addresses access, accessibility, and equity issues both within the classroom and the education workforce.

The majority of my research employs the Schools and Staffing Surveys (SASS) and the National Teacher and Principal Surveys (NTPS). Both are large-scale national surveys authorized by the National Center of Educational Statistics (NCES) and administered by the Institute for Education Sciences (IES). Through an application process and completion of IES training, I was granted authorization to form a research team to use these restricted-access national IES data-bases. Research with the SASS and NTPS is extremely relevant and applicable as the data is weighted to approximate the population of teachers in the United States. My primary research focus addresses questions concerning the teacher education workforce and the inclusion of SWDs and English language learners (ELL) in general, special, and STEM education classrooms.

In addition, I work with researchers investigating vital educational issues in reading, social studies, and special education. I have published articles in psychometrics and psychoeducational assessment on topics such as test development, intelligence, behavior, and cognition. My research is multidisciplinary and collaborative with colleagues across several universities. I try to include doctoral students as collaborative authors whenever possible to provide them with training in research and the publication process.

My service to the university has been focused on college and department level committees. Most recently, I served as the interim Associate Director for three years for the Office of Educational Research and Outreach. I have chaired the promotion and tenure committee for six years (in aggregate) and I have served as the Emergency Action Plan and Continuity of Operations plan coordinator since 2009. I am also an affiliate faculty for the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research and I am involved in their outreach and research. My local outreach involved assisting community agencies in the areas of psychoeducational assessment and intervention strategies. I was awarded New River Valley Community Services award for this work. I regularly contribute to the profession by reviewing manuscripts for journals related to autism, psychoeducational assessment, and large-scale data sets.

  • Special Education
  • Disabilities in STEM
  • Limited English Proficiency in STEM
  • Psychoeducational Assessment
  • Violence and Aggression
  • Behavior Management
  • 2000 Doctor of Philosophy, Rehabilitation and Special Education, Auburn University
    Dissertation: The interacting influences of arousal and fear-anxiety on conduct disorders.
    Chair: Dr. Ronald C. Eaves 
  • 1993 Master of Arts Education, Special Education (SED), James Madison University 
  • 1989 Bachelor of Science, Psychology, James Madison University 
  • 1986 Associate of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Lord Fairfax Community College
  •  
  • 2021-Present Professor, School of Education, Special Education Virginia Tech 
  • 2019-Present Steering Committee Member, Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research 
  • 2017-2020 Interim Associate Director, School of Education, Office of Educational Research and Outreach, Virginia Tech 
  • 2015-Present Affiliate Faculty, Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research 
  • 2007-2021 Associate Professor, School of Education, Special Education, Virginia Tech 
  • 2001-2007 Assistant Professor, School of Education, Special Education, Virginia Tech

Editorial

  • Ad Hoc Reviewer for Exceptional Children
  • Ad Hoc Reviewer for Special Education
  • Paul T. Hiser Exemplary Publication Award, 2019 
  • Paul T. Hiser Exemplary Publication Award, 2018 
  • Paul T. Hiser Exemplary Publication Award, 2017
  • Best Paper in Session, International Education Conference, Orlando Florida, 2016 
  • Paul T. Hiser Exemplary Publication Award, 2015 
  • College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Award, 2009 
  • New River Valley Community Services, Community Service Award, 2007 
  • Presidential Graduate Fellowship Award, Auburn University, 1999

Journal Articles (* denotes Graduate Student)

  • *Albright, J., & Williams, T. O. (2021). Examining National Trends of Teacher Certification in Autism: Implications for Rural Schools. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 40(4), 203-213. doi:10.1177/87568705211031548 
  • *Chun, J. & Williams Jr., T. O. (2021). A Community of Practice for Professional Development in Technology Integrations for Accessibility: A Case Study of a Faculty Inquiry Group, College Teaching, 69:3, 126-137, DOI: 10.1080/87567555.2020.1832435 
  • Williams, T.O., Ernst, J.V., & *Rossi, L. (2020). Instructional readiness in the inclusive STEM classroom. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 21(3), 7-11. 
  • Bowers, S., Williams, T.O., & Ernst, J.V. (2020). Profile of an elementary STEM educator. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 21(1), 50-57.
  • *Mullins, R., Williams T.O., & Hicks, D., Mullis, S.B. (2020). Can we meet our mission? Examining the professional development of social studies teachers to support students with disabilities and emergent bilingual learners. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 44(1), 195-208. 
  • Bettini, E., Gilmour, A. F., Williams, T. O., & Billingsley, B. (2020). Predicting special and general educators’ intent to continue teaching using conservation of resources theory. Exceptional Children, 86(3), 310-329. 
  • Williams, T.O, Ernst, J., Kelly, D. P., & Clarke, A., (2019). A confirmatory factor analysis of the PSVT: R with data from engineering design graphics majors. Engineering Design Graphics Journal, 83(1), 27-34. 
  • Williams, T.O., Peterson, B., & Ernst, J.V. (2019). Technology and engineering education teacher commitment: An analysis of educator supports and demands. Journal of Technology Studies, 45(1), 2-7. 
  • Billingsley, B., Bettini, E., & Williams, T. (2019). Teacher diversity in special and general education: Composition and distribution of teachers of color across schools, Remedial and Special Education, 40(4), 199-212. (In special issue, A Necessary Step in Pursuit of Equity: Developing a Racially/Ethnically Diverse Special Education Teaching Force). 
  • Bowen, B. D., Coats, T., Williams, T.O., & Ernst, J. V. (2018). Secondary engineering design graphics educators: Credentials, characteristics, and caseload. Engineering Design Graphics Journal, 82(1), 1-12. 
  • Williams, T.O., Ernst, J.V., & *Rossi, L. (2018). Teaching credentials in the inclusive STEM classroom. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 19(4), 27-31. 
  • *Besterman, K., Ernst, J.V., & Williams, T.O. (2018). Developments in STEM educators’ preparedness for English language learners in the United States. Contemporary Issues In Education Research (CIER), 11(4), 165-176. 
  • Williams, T. O., Ernst, J. V., & Clark, A. C. (2018). Profile of workforce development educators: A comparative credential, composition, and characteristic analysis. Journal of Technology Studies, 44(1), 14-27. 
  • *Besterman, K., Williams, T.O., & Ernst, J.V. (2018). STEM teachers’ preparedness for English language learners. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 19(3), 33-40. 
  • Bettini, E.E., Billingsley, B., Walraven, C., & Williams, T.O. (2018). Special educators of color are underrepresented across states: A challenge for leaders. The Journal of Special Education Leadership, 31(1), 3-15. 
  • Williams, T., Billingsley, B., & *Banks, A. (2018). Student on teacher threats and attacks in special education: A comparison of special and general education teachers. The Journal of Special Education Leadership, 31(1), 39-49. 
  • Ernst, J.V, Williams, T.O, Clarke, A., Kelly, D. P., & Sutton, K. (2018). K-12 STEM educator autonomy: An investigation of school influence and classroom control. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 18(5), 37-41.
  • Williams, T.O., Ernst, J.V., & Rossi, L. (2018). Teaching Credentials in the Inclusive STEM Classroom. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 19(4), 27-31.
  • Williams, T. O., Ernst, J. V., & Clark, A. C. (2018). Profile of workforce development educators: A comparative credential, composition, and characteristic analysis. Journal of Technology Studies, 44(1), 14-27.
  • Besterman, K., Williams, T.O., & Ernst, J.V. (2018). STEM teachers’ preparedness for English language learners. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research, 19(3), 33-40.
  • Williams, T. O., Billingsley, B.B., & Banks, A. (2018). Incidences of student-on-teacher threats and attacks: A comparison of special and general education teachers. Journal of Special Education Leadership, 31(1), 39-49.
  • Ernst, J.V. & Williams, T.O.  (2015). The “Who, what, and how conversation”: Characteristics and responsibilities of current in-service technology and engineering educators.  Journal of Technology Education Studies. 41(1), 48-56.
  • Mesmer, H. A., & Williams, T.O. (2015). Examining the role of syllable awareness in a model of concept of word: Findings with preschoolers. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(4), 483-497
  • SPrEaD: Actualizing STEM Potential in the Mississippi Delta, National Science Foundation, National Science Foundation, USD $1,641,313 (Active: 07/15/2015 - 06/30/2022), Principal Investigators: Brand Brenda R (50%), Williams Thomas O (45%), Sato Takumi C (5%)
  • Brand, B (PI), Sato, T., & Williams, T. (Co-PIs)(2017- 2021). SPrEaD: Actualizing STEM Potential in the Mississippi Delta. $1,641,313.00. National Science Foundation. Grant continues to 2021.
  • Seibert, M. (PI) & Williams, T.O. (Co-PI) (2019). Academic and Career Plan Portfolio (ACPP) Services Solution. $125,000. Virginia Department of Education.
  • Williams, T. (2018). International Supplementary Travel Grant Award. Virginia Tech.
  • Williams, T. O., Jr. (2015). An Examination of the Effect of Having Completed a GED Program Upon the Post-release Outcomes of CTE Program Completers. $42,396.00. Virginia Department of Corrections - Division of Education
  • Williams, T. O., Jr. (2004). Staying or Leaving? Factors Influencing Teachers of Students with Emotional Disorder’s Career Plans. $5,000.00. Department of Teaching and Learning Faculty Research Grant Program.
  • Virginia Tech Center for Autism Steering Committee Member 
  • Virginia Tech Center for Autism Affiliate Faculty
  • Director of Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research Core 
  • Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research Affiliate faculty 
  • Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research Core Director-distributes fund to those doing autism research

I am an affiliate faculty for the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research

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