A Conversation with Colleen Wilkinson – Assistant Professor of Education

By | February 22, 2022

An assistant professor in Daemen’s Education Department, Colleen Wilkinson offers expertise in special education – and teaches instructional design courses as well.

Colleen Wilkinson earned a PhD in special education from University at Buffalo. Most recently, she taught at Medaille College for eight years and, prior to that, she taught for 11 years as a teacher in Buffalo Public Schools.

Shown is last year’s Deamen team for the Polar Plunge College Challenge for Special Olympics

What inspired you to pursue the field of special education?

Growing up, my best friend in my neighborhood had a developmental disability. She was always one of the crew, and I never saw her as different. However, newcomers did  – and I couldn’t understand why. This inspired me to work with students like her, and give them the opportunity to do more. 

Many special education majors have someone in their lives who has a disability whether it’s a family member or friend. Having that connection helps inspire many of us in the field.  

What do you like most about working at Daemen?

I used to work as an adjunct professor at Daemen before returning as an assistant professor. I always found that I really enjoy working with the students and other faculty members. All those I work with are friendly, welcoming and willing to help. Our students are inquisitive and ask in-depth questions I really enjoy the conversations we have. 

What is something you’d like the college community to know about you?

I’ve been doing the Polar Plunge College Challenge for Special Olympics for the past seven years I love seeing the Special Olympics athletes’ excitement and gratitude for the fundraising effort. 

Last fall, I did the event with Daemen students, and it was the first and only time I’ve been on the top college fundraising team. 

Achieving that honor was a testament to our Daemen’s great community of students, and their dedication to the field. 

What is something else you do outside of Daemen related to your field?

I am on the executive board of the New York State Council for Exceptional Children, an organization driven to service children with special needs.

That has led to many opportunities and connections with other professionals in the field across the state. 

This year, I am heading the professional development committee. Last fall, we created professional development webinars available for teachers and students. We are also planning a conference for later this year where students can share their research.

What do you hope to achieve in 2022?

I look forward to working with Daemen students to defend our title as the top college fundraising team for the Special Olympics in the fall. Students are already brainstorming how they can double the money they raised last year.