CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The College of Education is expanding the capacity of its doctoral programs in special education to help address a nationwide shortage of researchers and faculty members in the field.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs recently awarded funding under several different grants that will enable the special education department to train an additional 24 doctoral students over the next five years.
Currently, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign typically awards four or five doctoral degrees in special education annually.
Recruiting is underway for candidates to fill the programs, with students beginning their studies at the U. of I. this fall.
The programs cover tuition, some fees and a modest stipend for living expenses, enabling scholars to earn advanced degrees without incurring significant debt, said Michaelene M. Ostrosky, the department head.
“These grants enable us to recruit some of the most promising doctoral students across the U.S.,” said Ostrosky, who is also the Grayce Wicall Gauthier Professor of Education. “The faculty members involved are leaders in their field, giving students the opportunity to study and work with some of the most well-respected and internationally known special education scholars in the nation.”
The programs awarded funding for special education doctoral students are:
- Project Family IMPACT (Attending to Individualization, Mobility, Poverty, Adversity, Culture and Trauma) – Funded by a $1.24 million grant, the program will prepare six doctoral students whose studies will focus on meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families who are from diverse backgrounds.
- Project STePS (Preparing Leaders in Special Education, Technology, Research, Policy and Cultural, Linguistic, and Socioeconomic Diversity) – The curricula will explore critical issues in research, public policy and innovative instructional technologies and will include intensive workshops, internships and traineeships. It is funded by a $1.24 million grant that will support six doctoral students.
- Project SCORE (Secondary Curriculum that leads to Outcomes in Research and Employment) – The interdisciplinary doctoral program that will focus on helping youths with severe disabilities transition from school to competitive integrated employment is funded by a $1.1 million grant. The program will support a total of six doctoral students, including three in special education and three in community health/rehabilitation counseling.
- Project Co-LEAD (Collaboration Across Universities to Prepare Leaders in Evidence-based Practices, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Diversity) – Doctoral students in this program will specialize in individualized instruction and behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders. The project, which is a research consortium that the U. of I. is creating with the University of Oregon and Purdue University, will support a total of 17 doctoral students across all three universities, including six students at the U. of I. The U. of I. is receiving $1.18 million as part of the $3.5 million project.
- Training consortia on children with high-intensity needs – The U. of I. and nine other universities have formed a training consortia that focuses on interventions for infants and young children with high-intensity needs that limit their abilities across all developmental domains, particularly in social competence and communication. Over the next five years, the U. of I. will receive about $426,500 to fund three doctoral students in this program. They will be among a cohort of 28 students spread across all of the participating universities, which include the University of Colorado, the University of North Carolina and Vanderbilt University.
More information about the doctoral programs is available on the department’s website or from the doctoral admissions chair, Meghan Burke, at 217-300-1226 or email@example.com