Arts & Humanities

$1.2 Million Grant Creates Training Program For Texas A&M Doctoral Special Education Students

The funding from the U.S. Department of Education created the RISE Scholars Network.
By Emily Knight, Texas A&M University College of Education & Human Development December 6, 2021

For schools around the nation, it is essential to have multi-faceted interventions to address the academic, behavioral, language and functional needs of children with disabilities. Although there have been advancements within special education in recent years, there is still more that needs to be done.

Florina Erbeli and fellow scholars Marc Goodrich, Julie Thompson and Jay Ganz hope to change that with their recently awarded $1.2 million doctoral training grant from the Office of Special Education of the U.S. Department of Education. Erbeli, a special education scholar and assistant professor in the Texas A&M University Department of Educational Psychology, said her team used the grant to create the RISE Scholars Network doctoral training program.

The RISE (Researching Interventions in Special Education) Scholars Network is a five-year training program that prepares 12 doctoral students from three different schools with evidence-based intervention skills in special education. This collaborative partnership is part of a total $3.7 million grant split between the three schools – Texas A&M, the University of Nebraska and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

“The purpose of the RISE Scholars Network is to prepare doctoral scholars and provide them with opportunities and training to design, evaluate and disseminate interventions for students with disabilities across a range of populations and contexts, and to teach and lead the next generation of special educators,” Erbeli said.

The five-year grant will provide a living stipend, fully-covered tuition, fees, health insurance and dissertation support, as well as the opportunity to network with fellow peers at the other two institutions.

“The goal is for them to fly out to a different university every year, and present their research and learn from other professors and RISE scholars at the different schools,” Erbeli said.

Erbeli said the courses offered within the program will provide future scholars the opportunity to design their own interventions. This grant will also enable the RISE scholars to take part in internships with a local education agency, which is something new that is not provided for current students in the program.

Erbeli hopes RISE will foster collaboration later on when doctoral students have finished the program and continue as faculty in their own institutions.

This article by Emily Knight originally appeared on the College of Education website.

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