Texas Tech University's College of Education Takes Action Against Special Education Personnel Shortages

by ABBY TOMLINSON

October 29, 2008

Across the United States, there is a critical shortage of adequately trained teachers to serve children with sensory impairments, especially in rural and remote areas. Texas Tech University's College of Education recently received an $800,000 competitive grant from the United States Department of Education that will fund Project: CSI (Children with Sensory Impairments).

The project will give approximately 40 teachers in rural and remote areas the opportunity to obtain specialized sensory impairment training at little or no personal cost.

Efforts to recruit potential teachers will focus in Mississippi, Wyoming, New Mexico, the Navajo Nation, the Bureau of Indian Education and the U.S. Virgin Islands where there is little specialized, local training available for special education personnel who serve students with sensory disabilities.

Texas Tech University will provide the necessary training in visual impairment, orientation and mobility, deafblind and deaf and hard of hearing specializations in or near teachers' homes. Local recruiters in each of the focus regions will locate children with sensory impairments who are served by teachers without specialized training and recruit those teachers for the two-year program. Upon successful completion of coursework, the teachers will be able to work in a variety of capacities including classroom teaching, educational consulting and coordination of educational services.

Coursework will be delivered online, through Interactive Video Conferencing (IVC), and other delivery technologies. Short trips to campus or select sites in the teacher's respective regions may also be required.

Dr. Roseanna Davidson, project director, said that the creation and execution of this project has required a great amount of dedication from the College of Education's collaborative partners which include contacts in each of the targeted geographical areas.

Now that the project is at the recruiting phase, she said that the College and its partners are willing to do whatever it takes in order to ensure the success of the students who participate in the program.

For more information about this project, please contact Dr. Roseanna Davidson by phone at 806.742.1997, ext. 246 or by e-mail at Roseanna.davidson@ttu.edu. Information is also available at www.depts.ttu.edu/distancelearning/projectCSI.php.

With this program and more than 30 other certificates, certificate preparation and degree programs that can be pursed at a distance or through off-campus instruction, Texas Tech University is making an education possible no matter where "here" is.


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