Skip Navigation

Faculty & Staff - Deborah Rooks-Ellis

Deborah L. Rooks-EllisDeborah Rooks-Ellis

5766 Shibles Hall, Rm 303
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5766

phone: (207) 581-2352
fax: (207) 581-2423

Assistant Professor, Special Education

Specialty Areas

Visual impairment
Severe disabilities
Early intervention
Inquiry-based approaches to teaching


University of Arizona (2009, Ph.D., Visual Impairment)
The Johns Hopkins University (1993, MSEd., Visual Impairment)
University of Georgia (1990, BSEd., Early Childhood Education)


  • Diversity and Development in Infancy and Early Childhood, SEI 501
  • Foundations of Early Intervention, SEI 502
  • Fostering Partnerships in Early Intervention, SEI 507
  • Assessment and Program Planning for Early Intervention, SEI 508
  • Serving Infants and Toddlers in Natural Environments, SEI 510
  • Supervision and Professional Development in Early Childhood Programs, SEI 515
  • Seminar and Practicum in Collaborative Consultation for Early Childhood, SEI 516
  • Language and Literacy for Diverse Young Learners, SEI 529
  • Graduate Project in Early Intervention, SEI 650

Current Research

  • Accessible astronomy for students with visual impairment
  • Inquiry-based teaching for students with visual impairment
  • Teacher preparation programs in special education


  • Board Member, Maine state affiliate, NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Co-PI, EChO Scholars, a four-year project to support the preparation of highly qualified early intervention professionals serving children with disabilities in Maine. The program represents Maine’s only graduate study designed with an emphasis on high needs young children ages birth-5 with disabilities and their families, including children who live in poverty, are homeless, are in foster care, are English language learners, or who reside in rural, remote, and sparsely populated areas with limited access to resources.
  • Diversity and Difference Standing Committee
  • New England Deaf-Blind Consortium
  • INSITE Trainer of Trainers
  • JVIB Peer Reviewer
  • Guest Editor, Insight

Professional Memberships

  • AER – Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • NAEYC – National Association for the Education of Young Children

Representative Publications

Books and Book Chapters:

Rooks, D.L. (2000).  Taking Inquiry Outdoors:  Reading, Writing, and Science Beyond the Classroom Walls. Stenhouse Publishers, chapter 9.

Invited and Peer Reviewed Articles:

Rooks, D.L. (in review).  Investigating preconceptions and conceptual understanding about lunar phases with students with visual impairment:  The case of Kyle.  Research and Practice in Visual Impairment and Blindness.

Harris, C.J., & Rooks, D.L. (2010).  Managing inquiry-based science: Challenges in enacting complex science instruction in elementary and middle school classrooms.  Journal of Elementary Science Education, 21, 227-240.

Rooks, D.L., & Maker, C.J. (2009).  Inquiry:  A teaching approach for gifted visually impaired learners.  Gifted Education International, 25, 171-186.


2011 OSEP Project Director’s Conference, Using a Special Education Framework for Program Review: Findings from the Training Opportunities for Personnel (TOP): Birth-5 Personnel Preparation Program

2009 OSEP Project Director’s Conference, Fostering a Community of Practice for Students in Training Opportunities for Personnel (TOP) Birth–5: Examining Learner Choice for Participation in Online Discussions


  • Erasmus Circle Scholar (2009)
  • Jay Howenstein Foundation Scholarship (2008)

Related Links

Early Childhood Opportunities (EChO) Scholars



Back to Faculty & Staff