Katherine Davis Murfree - Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies

Dr. Timothy Odegard named Chairholder November 2015

The Katherine Davis Murfree Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies, a professorship in the College of Education at Middle Tennessee State University, was established in 1989 for the purpose of:

  • Building public awareness about the nature of dyslexia and about promising approaches to diagnosis and intervention.
  • Enhancing the skills of teachers, school psychologists, and parents to more effectively identify and assist dyslexic students.
  • Contributing to the research base regarding causes and educational interventions.

In 1999, Dyslexic Studies became a Departmental unit within the College of Education. Dr. Diane Sawyer served as its chair until her retirement in May 2010.

Dyslexic Studies at MTSU offers courses to increase knowledge and awareness of dyslexia. Content is significantly rooted in the research base that defines dyslexia, guides identification, and informs the content and strategies for effective instruction. The courses provide real answers to real questions:

  • Why do some struggling readers fail to respond to interventions?
  • What is dyslexia? Is it purely a specific reading disability, or is it also linked to language disabilities and processing deficits?
  • How are reading disabilities in general and dyslexia in particular identified? How will this process change as schools move from an IQ-achievement discrepancy model to a 3-tier model under the Response to Intervention (RTI) approach?
  • After a reading disability has been identified, how can curriculum-based measurements track the reading progress of children?
  • What instructional approaches have been scientifically shown as effective for struggling readers, and children with dyslexia? What are multisensory strategies?
  • What is differentiated instruction and what does scientific research indicate about how instruction should be modified when children fail to show adequate progress?
  • How does dyslexia affect classroom organization? That is, how can quality instruction for struggling readers be delivered in a regular classroom through small groups, paired instruction, independent work and one-on-one instruction?

For more information about the Murfree Chair of Excellence or the Dyslexic Studies courses, please contact :

Phone: (615) 898-5642
Fax: (615) 898-5694