Special Education grant to help prepare faculty to train K-12 teachers

The University’s College of Education has been awarded $1.4 million to prepare six doctoral students for an advanced career in special education

The University of Nevada, Reno College of Education has received Nevada's Collaborative Investment in Teaching Excellence grant from the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education. The N-CITE grant is a five-year, $1.4 million grant that will cover tuition costs and a monthly stipend for six doctoral students.

The N-CITE grant brings recognition to the College of Education and the University in expanding its special education program to meet the need for faculty in this field.
"There is a shortage of special education teachers in K-12, but there's also a shortage of special education faculty to prepare teachers to teach kids with disabilities," Tammy Abernathy, professor of special education, said.

The grant's purpose is to prepare doctoral students for a career at a higher education institution specializing in special education. The six doctoral students have yet to be chosen, but they will be selected based on three main criteria: a 3.0 grade-point average in a master's program, at least three years of exemplary teaching experience in a special education setting and a high writing sample score.

The University's College of Education was chosen as one of the 15 recipients out of 80 schools that applied for the grant. The peers who reviewed the grant applications chose the University because of the exceptional conceptual framework and service component outlined in the grant application by Abernathy and Shanon Taylor, associate professor and program coordinator for special education.

"Our doctorate program is about how to do research, how to do teaching, how to do service to your profession and how to successfully balance all three," Taylor said. "We have students who have been waiting to apply to our doctoral program in special education, so receiving this grant really allows a lot of growth for the college and for the special education program."

Three College of Education faculty members including Abernathy, Ann Bingham and MaryAnn Demchak earned their doctorate degrees through grant programs like N-CITE.

In the last two years, the College of Education has also received two additional grants from the Office of Special Education, both of which were awarded to the master's program.

Applications for the N-CITE grant will open June 1. People interested in applying or learning more about the special education doctoral program should email Tammy Abernathy at tammy@unr.edu.

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