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Douglas Fuchs

Professor of Special Education and Nicholas Hobbs Chair of Special Education and Human Development and Professor Pediatrics in the Vanderbilt University Medical School

Special education expert on interventions for children with learning disabilities and behavior disorders.


Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 1985, Doug Fuchs was an assistant first-grade teacher in a private school in Baltimore for children with severe behavior problems. He also was a fourth-grade classroom teacher in a public school outside Philadelphia and a school psychologist in the Minneapolis Public Schools. At Vanderbilt, he has been principal investigator of 50 federally-sponsored research grants. They have facilitated development of models of service delivery, assessments and instructional approaches. He is currently exploring the importance of “hybrid” cognitively-focused and skills-based academic interventions for most difficult-to-teach children.

Media Appearances

  • Explainer: Texas was educating 30% fewer special-ed kids. Here's how we figured out why.

    Have innovative new teaching techniques reduced the need for special education? This is the Texas Education Agency's explanation, and so to evaluate it thoroughly, the Chronicle brought it to Douglas Fuchs, a Vanderbilt University professor who played a leading role in developing the techniques at issue, known as "Response to Intervention." Fuchs said the techniques are being used nationwide and haven't lowered special ed rates anywhere else. "RTI has not reduced the number of kids requiring special ed," he said. (The numbers bear that out: The states that have passed laws implementing RTI actually serve a higher percentage of kids in special ed than states that have not passed such laws, according to a Chronicle data analysis).

    August 10th, 2018

  • Why 2 Vanderbilt professors are warning against a report on a common education practice

    But Vanderbilt University professors Doug and Lynn Fuchs say within a report studying the there are flaws in the national study, and there are enough anecdotal results to bring into question the national study's findings. "There are lots and lots of questions surrounding this evaluation of RTI," Doug Fuchs said. "When we came to a conclusion after looking at the study, we found you can't conclude anything about how it is conducted."

    August 16th, 2017

  • Benefits Seen for Students Teaching Virtual Pupils

    Douglas H. Fuchs, a special education professor at Vanderbilt and developer of Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies, a popular reciprocal-learning program, said he has seen similar benefits in his own studies of real-life students involved in peer tutoring in math. In those studies, high-achieving students, as well as tutees, benefited, which Mr. Fuchs said could mean “there really is something important for the ‘teacher’ if the context is smartly set up and children are provided with appropriate training, guidance [and] direction.”

    October 28th, 2010


Ph.D., University of Minnesota

M.S., University of Pennsylvania

B.A., John Hopkins University


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