Adam Tanners

I have always been interested in teaching and helping others to succeed, particularly individuals with disabilities through the use of technology. The PhD in Education: Exceptionalities program allowed me to explore this interest in depth with the support of knowledgeable and compassionate Faculty.


New York


Special Education

Related Degrees

  • PhD, Education: Exceptionalities

How did you decide to come to the UH College of Education?

When I was looking at schools for my PhD program, I wanted a school where I could study technology and disability. I had been working in the area of Assistive Technology for many years prior to starting my doc program. UH was one of a few schools that had faculty who study technology and disability. I then looked a little further into the program and liked what I saw.

As a person with a disability, how do you feel the COE helps accommodate your needs?

I’m a unique case as far as people with disabilities go. I have over 10 years experience working in Disabled Student Services offices, like KOKUA, I am also seen as an expert in the type of accommodation that I most often use. So a lot of the accommodations I generally need I am able to provide myself.

However providing my own accommodations would be far more difficult if not impossible if not for the support of the COE faculty. Their support and understanding, providing me extended time on exams. Providing me with reading materials early, so I can convert them to audio, and providing me with electronic versions of readings have been tremendous helps.
Another help has been the safety net of KOKUA. Knowing they are around to step in when needed, takes much of the pressure off myself. I have also been able to utilize their services many times to take exams and convert reading materials into a format that I can better access.

Describe the COE’s academic commitment to the area of special education and disability studies.

Nationally speaking there is shortage of qualified special education teachers and the state of Hawai’i is no exception. The COE has met this challenge by having a program to train special education teachers. The Special Education (SPED) program is one of the largest in the COE, with tenure track faculty positions, instructor positions and mentor teachers to support teachers already in the field.

In addition to the Special Education Teacher Training program the COE has a nationally recognized research group (the Center on Disability Studies) who bring in millions of dollars each year in grants relating to people with disabilities.

Through your education and research, what would you like to accomplish for those with special needs?

I have always like the idea of teaching and helping others to succeed. My educational pursuits and research follow along these lines. One of the reasons I am getting my PhD in Special Education is so that I will be able to train future teachers to help future students to succeed. My research is similar. I am interested in Assistive Technology and how it can help students with disabilities to achieve their best. I want to find out what works and what doesn’t.

About Adam

Adam Tanners received his Ph.D. in Education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, with a specialization in Special Education. His research interests include universal design in education and use of everyday technologies as accommodations to students with disabilities. His past experience includes working as a counselor at the Student Disability Services office at The University of Iowa and the Assistive Technology Specialist at the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently working as the Graduate Information Officer and an Instructional Designer for the College of Education at UH Mānoa.

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