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Kean University

Susan Polirstok, Ed.D., was named Dean of the College of Education and Professor of Special Education at Kean University in August 2008 and returned to teaching full time in the Fall of 2015. Prior to coming to Kean, Dr. Polirstok was Acting Dean of Education and Professor of Special Education at Lehman College of the City University of New York. She is the author of an edited book, 27 refereed journal articles, 14 book chapters, a monograph, and has presented over 60 papers on topics including grit and mindset, universal design for learning, peer tutoring, parent advocacy and training, classroom management, social skill development, learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, self-monitoring, gentle teaching, emotional intelligence, faculty development, educational leadership and accreditation.  Her article on Classroom Management for Inclusive Classrooms remains one of the most widely read articles published by Kean University faculty according to Research Gate. Dr. Polirstok has also served as principal writer and investigator on four major federal grants and two state grants involving teacher education received at Kean University over the period of 2008-2015, which exceeded $20M in funding.


  • B.A., City College of New York, English - Education
  • M.S. in Ed., City College of New York, Special Education - Emotional Handicaps
  • Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, Special Education - Learning and Behavior Disorders

Areas of Expertise

  • Behavioral Intervention for Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders
  • Parent Training in Behavioral Intervention for Special Needs Children
  • Autism and Autism Related Disorders
  • Professional Development for K-12 and University Faculty

Courses Taught

Selected Publications and Presentations

Polirstok, S.R., & Lee, B. (2019). Universal design for learning, media literacy and repeated measures in inclusion classrooms.  In M. Yildiz, M. Fazal, M. Ahn, R. Feirsen, & S. Ozdemir (Eds.), Handbook of Media Literacy Research and Applications Across Disciplines. IGI Global.

Polirstok, S.R. (2019). A review of strategies for enhancing college freshmen success and retention: Lessons in grit, mindset, and resilience. Future Review: International Journal of Transition, College and Career Success, 1(3), 29-36.

Polirstok, S.R. (2017). Strategies to improve academic achievement in secondary school students: Perspectives on grit and mindset.  SAGE Open, October-December 2017, 1-9.

Polirstok, S.R. (2015). Classroom management strategies for inclusive classrooms. Creative Education, 6(10), 927-933.

Levey, S., & Polirstok, S. (Eds). (2011). Language development:  Understanding language diversity in the classroom. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.