Terri Vandercook, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Department Chair
Special Education and Gifted Education
(651) 962-4389
MOH 441 | Opus Hall

Terri Vandercook is an Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Special Education and Gifted Education and coordinator for the program in Developmental Disabilities.  Terri earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota and has worked with and learned from individuals with significant developmental disabilities, their families, and team members for over 35 years.  Themes throughout her career have been the active belonging, participation, and learning (inclusion!) of each child in her or his community.  Recently, she has also focused upon literacy instruction for those individuals with the most significant developmental disabilities.  Terri grew up in Iowa and has an M.A. in Education and a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Northern Iowa.  In her free time, Terri likes to read books for fun, jump around at the Y, and hang out with her family and friends, playing games and eating good food.

Terri is known for two sayings, “Make it a great day” and “Together we are better,” and she strives to make that decision for herself as she interacts with others on a daily basis.


  • Vandercook, T. & Montie, J. (2010).  Together we can make a difference:  Serving and learning curriculum. Minneapolis:University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration.
  • Vandercook, T., York, J., & Forest, M.  (1989).  The McGill Action Planning System (MAPS):  A strategy for building the vision.  JASH.  Reprinted in a published book of readings:  Bambara, L., Dunlap, G., & Schwartz, E. (Eds.).  (2004).  Positive behavior support:  Critical articles on improving practice for individuals with severe disabilities.  Pro-Ed. 
  • Vandercook, T.  (1991).  Leisure instruction outcomes:  Criterion performance, positive interactions, and acceptance by typical high school peers.  The Journal of Special Education, 25(3), 320- 339.

Awards & Accomplishments

  • ARC Suburban, Advocate for Inclusive Community Award, 1999.
  • MNASH School Integration Leadership Award, 1987.
  • Olin Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator, 1981.