Dr. Colleen Thoma is a Professor of Special Education and currently serves as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Studies in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a leader in the area of self-determination and transition planning, particularly focusing on the preparation of teachers and related services personnel to facilitate self-determined transition planning for students with disabilities. She also is known for her work in linking academic and transition education for youth with disabilities, developing the Universal Design for Transition framework with her co-authors, LaRon Scott and Christine Bartholomew.
Dr. Thoma is a past president of the Division on Career Development and Transition of the Council for Exceptional Children and was a member of the executive board of the Council for Exceptional Children. She has been recognized for her work in disability policy, having served as a Ruderman Family Policy Fellow, working with the Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination, where she authored policy briefs related to improving transition outcomes for youth with disabilities. She is a fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and serves on the editorial boards of several special education journals.