Areas of work: Direct support workforce, Employment

Contact information

phone: +1 612-624-1062

fax: +1 612-624-8279

Org Leadership, Policy & Dev Room 233 BuH 178 Pillsbury Dr SE Minneapolis, MN 55455


David R. Johnson, Ph.D., is an Emma Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. Dr. Johnson's faculty appointment is in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development where he conducts research, teaches courses, and advises graduate students in evaluation studies and research methods. A former Director of the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), he has also been Principal Investigator of numerous research, training, and demonstration projects. His research interests include investigations of postschool outcomes, school completion, state systems change, cost-benefit analysis, and other policy-related research. Dr. Johnson has published more than 100 book chapters, journal articles, research monographs, technical reports, and products on topics concerning secondary education, special education, interagency collaboration, and other themes related to his research interests. His research and evaluation results have been used by U.S. Congressional committees, state legislatures, state education agencies, and other organizations.



Check & Connect: A Model for Engaging and Retaining Students with Intellectual Disabilities in Higher Education [Archived]

Establishes an inclusive and comprehensive model for engaging and retaining students with intellectual disabilities in higher education programs. Building on the Check & Connect model, this...

In collaboration with: Central Lakes College [MN], Ridgewater College [MN]


National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS 2012)

Conducts a national study of transition-age students with disabilities to identify the challenges they encounter in their preparation for post-high-school life, and the factors that may facilitate...

In collaboration with: Mathematica Policy Research [Princeton, NJ]


Relative Impact of Interventions to Improve Achievement and Retention in Postsecondary Occupational Programs [Archived]

Studied retention programs at community colleges in four states. Each college had strong programs for Career and Technical Education students who are studying for careers requiring a one- or...

In collaboration with: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education


Making a Map: Finding My Way Back (MAP) [Archived]

Develops and implements a comprehensive, evidence-based model to support juvenile offenders with disabilities transitioning from juvenile justice facilities into secondary and postsecondary...

In collaboration with: Amicus, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Ramsey County Community Corrections, Saint Paul Public Schools


Dogged Determination: An Anthology of the 1957 Law Requiring Education for Handicapped Children in Minnesota's Public Schools -- A First in the Nation [Archived]

Wrote and published the book, Dogged Determination: An Anthology of the 1957 Law Requiring Education for Handicapped Children in Minnesota's Public Schools -- A First in the Nation ....


Transition from School to Work for Minnesota's Youth With Disabilities: An Oral History [Archived]

Conducted and transcribed eight interviews with persons who were involved in developing and implementing policies during the 1980s and '90s that helped reduce the unemployment rate among youth with...


Check & Connect: A Comprehensive Student Engagement Intervention

Provides training in use of the Check & Connect student engagement intervention model to promote students' engagement with school, reduce dropout, and increase school completion. The Check &...


ICI Engaged Department Grant Program [Archived]

Creates an infrastructure to grow and develop ongoing community engagement, and to facilitate new initiatives and promote engaged learning on community based action research. In doing so, ICI hopes...


TIES Center: Increasing Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement, and State Support for Inclusive Practices for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Creates sustainable changes in school and district educational systems so that students with significant cognitive disabilities can fully engage in the same instructional and non-instructional...

In collaboration with: Arizona Department of Education, CAST, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of North Carolina Greensboro


Systemic Supports for Promoting Graduation

Develops technology tools that support the expanded national implementation of two evidence-based web applications over the next five years: Check & Connect school engagement intervention and the...


Research Special Education Teachers: How the Field Evolved in Minnesota

Researches how the field of special education teachers evolved from the 1850s to the present time. There were no requirements for teachers in the beginning. In 1910, half of all teachers did not...


Making the Connection: Engaging and Retaining Young Adults in Postsecondary Education [Archived]

Developed a postsecondary version of the Check & Connect student engagement model to increase students' ability to overcome barriers and persist in successful program completion in community...

In collaboration with: Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Jefferson Community and Technical College [Louisville, KY]


National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) [Archived]

Focuses on improved access and success for students with disabilities in secondary and postsecondary education, as well as employment, independent living, and community participation. Activities...


National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth (NCWD) [Archived]

Provides training and technical assistance, and conducts research, that support state and local policies to promote full access to high quality workforce development services on the part of youth...


Exploring Predictors of Transition Planning Participation and Future Goal Aspirations of Secondary Students with Disabilities

Explores the relationship between IEP transition planning meeting factors (e.g., a secondary student’s invitation, participation, and contribution) and the student’s aspirations for postsecondary...