EdD, Instructional Design and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.
MEd, Special Education, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa.
BS, Elementary Education, University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Pa.


  • Prioritization of professional development needs for inclusive practices in developing regions of the world
  • Development and validation of an instrument for progress monitoring of student’s cognitive, motor, communication and social skills
  • The efficacy of video conferencing in using a curriculum centered on magic tricks in developing communication, fine motor, meta-cognitive and social skills in high school students
  • Reusable Learning Objects: How effective are they at improving teacher training outcomes?


  • O’Rourke, S.L., Spencer, K.W., “Creative Approaches to Working with Trafficking Survivors with Disabilities,” Routledge/Taylor Francis, New York, 2019
  • O’Rourke, S.L., Spencer, K., Kelley, F., “Development and Psychometric Investigation of an Arts Integrated Assessment Instrument for Educators,” Journal for Learning Through the Arts, 2018
  • O’Rourke, S.L., Spencer, K., “Uganda:  A People of Hope,” DISES Newsletter, 2014
  • O’Rourke, S.L., Martin, M., “Instructional Design of a Distance Education Cultural Awareness Course to Enhance Currency and Authenticity,” British Journal of Education Technology, 2011
  • O’Rourke, et al., “International Friendships for Students with Special Needs,” TEACHING Exceptional Children, 2011

Awards & Recognition

  • Peer to Peer Grant from Eurasia Foundation and U.S. Embassy in Moscow, 2019-2020 
  • President’s Excellence in Research and Scholarship Award, 2019 
  • Grace Ann Geibel Institute for Peace and Social Justice grant to fund professional development for teachers and caregivers of vulnerable children in Uganda, 2019
  • Mercy Service Award, 2019
  • Grants for clean water wells in Uganda: Matata Villages, 2018, 2019 
  • Fides grant for defibrillator for Roberto Clemente III Health Clinic in Nicaragua, 2018
  • People’s Choice Award, Create Festival, Pittsburgh Technology Council for “Seeing is believing: Technologies that provide evidence of the power of the arts,” 2017

Professional Memberships

  • Council for Exceptional Children
  • American Education Research Association
  • Community Living and Support Services
  • PLEA Agency Board of Directors
  • Pennsylvania Association of Colleges & Teacher Educators 

“I especially appreciate the kind of student who selects Carlow for their continuing education and particularly students who choose to become teachers of children with special needs. Their core values align with Carlow’s mission to ensure that everyone feels welcomed and valued in our communities here and around the world.” — Susan O’Rourke

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