$1.1M Awarded to N.C. A&T Educator Preparation for Special Education Teachers

By Staff / 03/27/2024 Academic Affairs, College of Education, Educator Preparation

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (March 27, 2024) – The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs has awarded new resources to the tune of $1.1 million to the College of Education (CEd) at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

The grant competition, “Personnel Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention and Related Services Personnel at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities, and Other Minority Serving Institutions” will help N.C. A&T’s Department of Educator Preparation expand and provide additional opportunities for its Special Education Program.

“I’m thrilled about this award and its potential impact on our communities,” said Kimberly Bunch-Crump, Ph.D., grant principal investigator (PI) and CEd assistant professor. “With national college enrollment trends indicating a shortage of future special education personnel, particularly minorities, N.C. A&T now has the opportunity to provide scholarships to prepare future Aggie Educators who are proficient in teaching practices that support diverse K-12 students with and at-risk for disabilities.”

A&T co-PIs Gerrelyn Patterson, Ph.D., and Brian Williams Ph.D., along with Bunch-Crump, are founders of Project EPIC: Exceptional Educators who are Proficient, Inclusive, and Culturally Competent. The project will use the grant to address teacher shortages in North Carolina by increasing the number of culturally competent special educators proficient in delivering high-quality content instruction and intensive intervention.

The project focuses on recruiting and preparing students from underrepresented groups, including multilingual individuals and those with disabilities interested in pursuing a four-year undergraduate degree in elementary education and obtaining a special education teaching license.

“Project EPIC is set to redefine the process of preparing aspiring special education teachers,” said Patterson, chair of the Department of Educator Preparation. “Through rigorous preparation, supplemental professional development, and sustained hands-on experiences at Aggie Academy and local schools, students in the program will not only earn their degree in elementary education but will also obtain a special education teaching license, equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to enhance outcomes for students with disabilities.”

In addition to aligning with the CEd’s goal to increase enrollment, the grant and project more importantly will prepare and increase the number of culturally responsive special education teachers in the state.

Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu

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