USU doctoral program in literacy and language receives federal grant

A new multidisciplinary doctoral program track in language and literacy has been announced at USU through the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human services.The program is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The new track is part of the Disability Disciplines Doctoral Program.Timothy Slocum, chair of the USU Disability Disciplines Doctoral Track, said the purpose of the program is to “prepare future faculty members to research and teach on topics of promoting literacy and language for students with disabilities.”There is a lot of research taking place that helps faculty learn how to help students with learning disabilities, and Slocum said it is important to continue that research and that practitioners are up to date on these effective teaching methods.The program pulls in faculty and courses from the departments of special education and communicative disorders and deaf education. Ronald Gillam, director of the doctoral program in speech-language pathology, said special-education workers and speech-language pathologists work closely together in public schools. In most universities, however, departments of communication disorders are separate from departments of special education. This new program will educate students in both areas.The grant created five scholarships. The department will begin awarding some of the scholarships this month and some of the scholarships will also be awarded fall semester. Slocum said the scholarships provide recipients with free tuition, a $20,000 stipend, support for educational materials such as books and research supplies, expense coverage for at least one professional conference a year and student health insurance.The Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation’s Web site states that those who receive financial assistance for the program must agree to a service obligation, which requires those students to work in this field of study after graduation – two years for every year of assistance offered.While the grant helps fund the program, the new doctoral track relies on existing departmental funds. Slocum said he already develops courses for his department, and the grant mostly provides student support, plus a little faculty support.

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