Texas Tech University

The Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities

The Sowell Center promotes quality research to address the academic and social needs of school-age students with sensory disabilities and provides public service to assist local, national and international constituencies.

Student Information & Deadlines

Curriculum Change for O&M Students Working on a Master's Degree

In Summer 2020, the comprehensive examination will change from the UKAT/RASW project to a comprehensive research paper.

For current students who are working on a master's degree and have completed the UKAT/RASW project for internship, you will be given the option of using the project as your comprehensive examination or completing the comprehensive research paper. All new students starting Spring 2020 will be required to complete the comprehensive research paper.

More details about the comprehensive examination will be provided during spring semester 2020.

EDSP 5093 Course fee

Attention students in the teacher of students with visual impairments' program and orientation and mobility specialist's program:

Effective Fall semester 2012, all students who register for EDSP 5093, Internship in Special Education, who are not covered by a grant, will pay a course fee of $750.00 in addition to the tuition cost of the course. This money will cover costs incurred by the university internship supervisor's expenses, who will observe you teach.

University Scholarships

Apply now for Texas Tech University scholarships at www.scholarships.ttu.edu. This application will get you considered for academic and need based scholarships, but your college or department is probably using this application too! Maximize your scholarship opportunities by completing the Current Student Scholarship Application.

Reach Across Texas Application Information

Learn more about the Reach Across Texas program.

Financial Aid for Students With Disabilities

OnlineSchools.org has compiled a list of financial aid options for students with disabilities. View the complete guide here.

News & Events

Dr. Pogrund awarded Corinne Kirchner Research Award

Dr. Rona Pogrund, Ph.D.

The Corinne Kirchner Research Award honors those whose leadership and dedication illuminate the most pressing needs of people with vision loss through timely, innovative, and authoritative research. The 2022 recipients are the three members of the research team comprised of Rona Pogrund, Ph.D., TSVI, COMS; Shannon Darst, Ph.D., TSVI, COMS; and Michael Munro, Ph.D., TSVI; whose work culminated in the Visual Impairment Scale of Service Intensity of Texas (VISSIT). Dr. Pogrund is a Professor and Coordinator of the TSVI Program at Texas Tech University, Dr. Darst is the Program Facilitator for the Visual Impairment Program at Stephen F. Austin State University, and Dr. Munro is the Visual Impairment Consultant in Region 6 Educational Service Center of Texas. Their groundbreaking work is changing the way itinerant vision professionals determine the appropriate type and amount of service each student with a visual impairment should receive.

Learn more

Dr. Griffin-Shirley Honored with 2020 Blaha Award

Dr. Nora Griffin-Shirley, Ph.D.

Nora Griffin-Shirley, professor and director of the Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities, received the 2020 Lawrence E. Blaha Award from the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired (AER).

It is the highest award that the association's Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Division can bestow, honoring people for exemplary behavior in the field of O&M, outstanding contributions to the profession and dedication to serving people with visual impairments.

OSEP Funded Sowell Center to Train Professionals in Neurological Visual Impairment

Drs. Rona Pogrund and Nora Griffin-Shirley received $1.25 million from the Office of Special Education Programs for Project INVITE – Interdisciplinary Neurological Visual Impairment (NVI) Teaching Experts: Training Professionals to Work with Children with Visual Impairments in Rural, Remote, and High-Need Areas. Project INVITE will prepare teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) and orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists through two interdisciplinary master's degree programs focusing on Neurological Visual Impairment (NVI). The project outcomes include:

  1. 30 new professionals will obtain a master's degree in either VI or O&M in Idaho, Montana, Texas, or Wyoming with training in NVI and be eligible for certification as a TVI or an O&M specialist.
  2. Scholars will serve more students with visual impairments resulting in improvement in learning outcomes or successful transition.
  3. Scholars will be proficient using distance education technology, have shared coursework, and local support.

Contact Information


Nora Griffin-Shirley

General Contact:

Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities
P.O. Box 41071
Lubbock, TX 79409