School of Education receives Department of Education training grant to develop Special Education emphasis in doctoral program
The School of Education and UCI Graduate Division contributed an additional $1.25 million to support the development of this critically important emphasis.
"The School of Education is committed to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for everyone, regardless of background, and to training our students to carry out the same charge when they themselves become educators," said Richard Arum, dean of the School of Education. "This grant allows us to make sure that we are imbuing our highly talented doctoral students with the skills necessary to support an underserved population."
Peña, who is a specialist in bilingualism and developmental language disorder, will be working with Chancellor’s Professor Carol Connor and Associate Professor Penelope Collins to recruit, advise, and mentor students in the specialized program. They will work together to run a proseminar that the IRT-LLD (Item Response Theory-Language Learning Disability) scholars will participate in during their time in the program.
"This program offers important opportunities for our students to learn more about how to identify and support children and youth with special needs, particularly those who are English learners," Connor stated.
"One thing that is special about this training program is its emphasis on children who are bilingual, or English language learners," Collins explained. "Bilingual children are particularly vulnerable because practitioners often don’t know how to determine if language or literacy difficulties reflect developing proficiency in English or underlying language or literacy disabilities. This training grant will help address this need by promoting future faculty and special education leaders who have the expertise to meet these students’ needs."
In collaboration with other UCI faculty, the research team will guide 10 doctoral students from the School of Education through a multi-year program that includes three to four specialized classes, a year of faculty-mentored research in Special Education, and a community-based Special Education rotation in a school or district, where students will participate in training or data analysis. Each student will receive Special Education training through the lens of one of the School of Education’s three Ph.D. specializations: Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC), Human Development in Context (HDiC), or Teaching, Learning, and Educational Improvement (TLEI).
“I am very excited about this grant and the opportunity to develop an emphasis in special education in the School of Education,” Peña said. “I think this can open opportunities for our current and future Ph.D. students.”
This is the first training grant awarded to the UCI School of Education focused on doctoral student training. From 2012-2017, Distinguished Professor Greg Duncan led a training grant from the Institute of Education Sciences for postdoctoral scholars studying the long-term effects of childhood poverty.
ABOUT THE UCI SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
One of the nation’s premier education schools, the UCI School of Education is focused on advancing educational sciences and contributing to improved educational opportunities and outcomes for individuals across the entire lifespan. A diverse, dynamic and collaborative institution, the School of Education’s research, community partnerships and programming are dedicated to producing innovative scholarship, addressing the needs of local schools, and inspiring future generations of educators. Established in 2012, the School of Education ranks No. 23 in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of top graduate schools of education, No. 13 among public schools. Located in the heart of diverse and burgeoning Orange County – the nation’s sixth most populous county – the School of Education is uniquely positioned to serve as a model for a 21st Century school of education.
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