BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Six University at Buffalo doctorate students in
the University at Buffalo/Buffalo State College Joint Doctoral
Program in Special Education will receive up to $40,000 a year
apiece in tuition assistance and a modest stipend, thanks to a
highly competitive four-year grant from the U.S. Department of
Education designed to address a national and local shortage of
highly skilled special-education teacher-educators.
The four-year, $1.2 million grant -- 80 percent of which goes
directly for student scholarships -- will be used to train six
doctoral students who will assume leadership positions in
special-education teacher training programs at colleges and
The doctoral students will be trained to prepare future teachers
to use media, technology and communication tools that will help
students with disabilities, according to Sharon Raimondi, PhD,
adjunct associate professor in the Joint Doctoral Program in
Special Education in UB's Graduate School of Education and project
director for the Department of Education's special-education
They will teach teachers how to provide greater access for
students with disabilities, consistent with principles of universal
design for learning, and deliver technology-rich instructional
"There is a severe shortage in this country of special-education
teachers to work with students with disabilities" says Raimondi.
"Adding to this challenge, the country has a severe shortage of
people at the college level to train these teachers."
The six students who will receive up to $40,000 per year -- for
tuition, fees, books and compensation to leave their jobs while
they are being trained -- will become part of a cadre of
professionals with the skills, knowledge and abilities to train
special-education teachers and to teach them how to provide greater
access to the curriculum for students with disabilities.
And if an established pattern continues, these future teachers
will remain in the area and directly contribute to the quality of
life for special-education teachers and, more importantly, the
students and their families who they serve, Raimondi says.
Graduates of the program will be able to meet the shortage of
services now available for those in special-education classes.
"We know that students traditionally attend an institution
within 100 miles of their homes," Raimondi says. "That's standard.
Almost 90 percent of our doctoral graduates stay in Western New
York. Many are employed as faculty at such institutions as Buffalo
State College, Canisius College and SUNY Fredonia. So this grant is
a shot in the arm for Western New York.
"We are creating the future."
The federal grant is part of almost $20 million going to higher
education institutions to help prepare special-education personnel
to improve services and results for children with disabilities.
Raimondi says the grant was very competitive. UB and Buffalo State
College, which are partners in the grant, were one of 22 grant
proposals chosen to receive money from 90 applications. Kevin J.
Miller, EdD, chairman of the Exceptional Education Department at
Buffalo State College, will be co-principal investigator on the
project with Raimondi.
The UB/Buffalo State College Joint Doctoral Program in Special
Education grant is part of federal money devoted to "Preparation of
Leadership Personnel" grants, money that will be used to support
doctoral, postdoctoral and special-education administration degree
programs. The program is specifically designed to train
professionals who address the needs of these students.
For more information on the program, including how to apply for
the scholarships, contact Raimondi at Raimondi@buffalo.edu or call
716-645-5042. Students from culturally and linguistically diverse
populations, as well as individuals with disabilities, are
encouraged to apply.