Dr. Gary M. Sasso, Dean of Lehigh’s College of Education, has led a distinguished career at the University of Iowa’s College of Education, where he built a national reputation among the special education community for his research in the areas of autism spectrum disorder and social and behavioral disorders. He served as chairperson of the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Iowa for seven years. Gary Sasso’s knowledge base and experience is extensive, extending across the spectrum of the educational discipline. He also held an appointment in the Department of Pediatrics, co- directing a multi-disciplinary clinic for individuals with severe behavior problems.
At the University of Iowa, Sasso was recognized for his ability to balance his research initiatives with his teaching priorities. He was honored as his college’s distinguished teacher and was nominated for the University of Iowa Outstanding Teacher Award by the Iowa Board of Regents.
His personal research interests include the areas of special education, emotional and behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and applied behavior analytic models of learning. He is a member of such professional associations as the Council for Exceptional Children, Autism Society of America and the Association for Behavior Analysis.
Sasso is a prolific researcher, co-authoring nearly 100 scholarly publications and over 125 conference presentations. He’s also been honored on numerous occasions by his peers, most recently with the Award for Outstanding Leadership in Emotional and Behavioral Disorders from the Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavioral Disorders.
Gary’s shared and collaborative leadership style and his ability to connect to faculty at personal and intellectual levels are impressive. In addition to articulating a shared visionary style, he expressed a strong commitment to high quality research and scholarship, teaching and the importance of service to the field. Gary’s background as a scholar has been in the area of applied behavior analysis. He was trained at the University of Kansas and worked with some of the original developers of the field of applied behavior analysis. His interests have broadened to focus on the philosophical future of special and general education. Some of his most recent publications include “Toward ending cultural and cognitive relativism in special education” (Exceptionality, 2006), and “Measurement issues in EBD research: What we know and how we know it” (Behavior Disorders, 2004). He expressed the personal importance of remaining an active scholar, and did so during his administrative role as chair.
After earning a bachelor's degree in Elementary/Special Education from Central Missouri State University, Sasso received a master's degree and a doctorate in Special Education from the University of Kansas.
Gary resides in Bethlehem with his wife, Christine G. Novak, who holds a Ph.D. in School Psychology. Their son, Spencer, attends the University of Iowa.