UNC Faculty to Receive More than $2.1 Million in Funding to Prepare Educators

Completion will lead to advanced degrees, certification and state licensure

Paula Conroy and John Luckner

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded two separate grants, expected to total more than $2.1 million combined, to University of Northern Colorado faculty to provide specialized training in critical areas to boost both the quality and quantity of teachers of students with disabilities.

Associate Professor Paula Conroy will lead a program to prepare teachers of students with visual impairments and orientation and mobility, while Professor John Luckner will direct a separate project to prepare teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Conroy's project, titled "Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments and Orientation and Mobility Instructors: Personnel Preparation to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners," will provide specialized training to improve skills of up to 10 beginning teachers annually. The online program will lead to a credential as a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist from the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals in addition to a teacher educator license from most states, including Colorado. The project was awarded $247,503 for the first year, with anticipated funding totaling $1,244,128 over five years. The project is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Other UNC faculty working on the project include Silvia Correa-Torres, Kay Ferrell and Madeline Milian.

Luckner's project, "ACCESS4ALL: A Western Regional Training Program to Prepare Teachers of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing," will address critical needs in the field. That includes increasing the number of and improving the quality of teachers of students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Forty teacher candidates will be selected to enroll in the nationally approved, four-year program that will be delivered online. Upon completion, students will earn a master's degree and state licensure. First-year funding of the project is $232,845, with a total of $943,651 anticipated over four years. The project is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information on the U.S. Department of Education's grant competition, "Combined Priority for Personnel Development" (CFDA #84.325K), Special Education - Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepprep/index.html.

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