Michael Coyne

Professor and Department Head

Educational Psychology


Department Head, Educational Psycholgy
Co-Director, Center for Behavioral Education and Research (CBER)

Academic Degrees:

Ph.D. Special Education, Literacy, University of Oregon, 2001
M.T. Special & Elementary Education, University of Virginia, 1994
B.A. Music and Political Science, Williams College, 1989

Areas of Expertise:

Reading Instruction and Intervention
Learning Disabilities
Language and Vocabulary Learning
Multi-tiered Systems of Support (RTI)


Michael Coyne is Department Head of Educational Psychology and a Professor of Special Education at the University of Connecticut. He is also Co-Director of the Center for Behavioral Education and Research. He has expertise in beginning reading and early vocabulary instruction and intervention, school-based experimental research, multi-tiered or RTI systems of support, and effective practices for students with learning disabilities. Dr. Coyne has directed or co-directed five multi-year research projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences focused on optimizing vocabulary and beginning reading practices for students with diverse learning needs through school-based experimental research. Dr. Coyne provides assistance and consultation to school districts and state departments of education around the country related to reading and literacy initiatives. He regularly presents at national conferences on research related to effective instructional practices, school improvement, MTSS, and beginning reading and vocabulary instruction and intervention. Dr. Coyne has held certification in both elementary and special education and is a former special educator in public schools.

Current Funded Research:

Coyne, M. D.,Simonsen, B., McCoach D.B., Kearns, D., & Freeman, J. (2019-2024) Evaluating the Impact of Integrated Behavior and Reading Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in Elementary Schools.U. S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Research Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Policy and Practice in Special Education: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. $3,999,589.

Coyne, M. D.,& Simonsen, B., (2019-2024) Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Research Network (MTSS-RN) Leadership Team.U. S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Research Networks Focused on Critical Problems of Policy and Practice in Special Education: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support. $1,499,101.

Coyne, M. D., & Sugai, G. (2012-2020). Project CK3LI: Connecticut K-3 Literacy Initiative. Contract with the Connecticut State Department of Education. $13,920,000

Coyne, M. D., Simonsen, B, & Lombardi, A. (2017-2022). Project NeXus II: Doctoral Leadership Training in Literacy, Positive Behavior Supports, and Postsecondary Transition. U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. $1,250,000.

Coyne, M. D., Kearns, D., Olinghouse, N., Simonsen, B., Freeman, J. (2015-2025). National Center for Leadership in Intensive Interventions. U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. (subcontract with Vanderbilt University). $1,675,000.

Center for Behavioral Education & Research (CBER), Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut

Selected Publications/Presentations:

Coyne, M. D.,McCoach, D. B., Ware, S., Austin, C., Loftus, S., & Baker, D. (2019). Racing against the vocabulary gap: Matthew effects in early vocabulary instruction and intervention.Exceptional Children, 85, 163-179.

Coyne, M. D.,Oldham, A., Dougherty, S.M., Leonard, K., Koriakin, T., Gage, N. Burns, D., & Gillis, M. (2018). Evaluating the Impact of Supplemental Reading Intervention within an MTSS or RTI Reading Reform Initiative Using a Regression Discontinuity Design. Exceptional Children, 84, 350-367.

Coyne, M. D., & Koriakin, T. A. (2017). What do beginning special educators need to know about implementing intensive reading interventions for students with disabilities? Teaching Exceptional Children, 49, 239-248.

 Coyne, M. D., Oldham, A., Leonard, K., Burns, D., & Gage, N. (2016). Delving into the details: Implementing multitiered K–3 reading supports in high-priority schools. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 154, 67–85.

Coyne, M. D., Cook, B. G., & Therrien, W. J., (2016). Recommendations for replication research in special education: A framework of systematic, conceptual replications. Remedial & Special Education, 37, 244-253.


Co-Editor in Chief: Elementary School Journal

Editorial Board: Journal of Educational Psychology, Reading Research Quarterly, Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, Learning Disabilities Quarterly, Elementary School Journal, Teaching Exceptional Children, Reading Psychology

Member: Council for Exceptional Children, Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading, American Educational Research Association

In the News:

UConn Special Education Program Receives $1.3M Leadership Grant

UConn Team Leads the Way on Intensive Early Reading Initiative

Improving the Literacy Skills of At-Risk Kindergarteners

Professor Michael Coyne with schoolchildren
Contact Information
Office LocationGentry 119B