|American Indian special education teachers visit campus as part of $1 million grant|
More than a dozen American Indian special education teachers visited campus to take part in a two-day seminar to orient them to the University and graduate study. The seminar was the first part of four-year, $1,070,000 grant to help beef up the number of Native American special education teachers in North Dakota.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education through its Department of Indian Education, the United Tribes Technical College Special Education Program (UTSEP) grant will be delivered through UND's College of Education and Human Development. The program is designed to recruit 17 Native American teachers, pre-kindergarten through high school, into UND's preservice graduate degree program in special education. The grant will support the preparation of 17 Native American educators in either earning a Master's degree in either Learning Disabilities or Early Childhood Special Education.
The participants came from Standing Rock, Three-Affiliated Tribes, and Turtle Mountain and one South Dakota reservation. Each participant currently teaches (PreK-12) in a school on a reservation.
"This collaborative program addresses the need to provide advanced training for people already in the field. They have the potential for complimenting and extending teacher training and education done at the undergraduate level by tribal colleges and mainstream colleges," said Dr. David M. Gipp, president of United Tribes Technical College. "Educators will appreciate the way these programs are constructed because they can remain on the job through most of the time they are earning the advanced degree."
"We're delighted to be partnering with United Tribes Technical College on this program, which we believe will have a profound effect on the overall quality of public education in this state, particularly within Native American schools. Our exceptional special education department is well-positioned to implement this grant. The result, in just a few short years, will be 16 more highly educated special education teachers," said President Charles Kupchella.
The UTSEP project will run through the summer of 2009.
Dr. Marjorie Bock, associate professor and Rose Isabelle Kelly Fischer Endowed Chair in the Department of Special Education, is co-principal investigator of the UTSEP program. Bock said, "The United Tribes Special Education Project will recruit 16 Native American teachers, pre-k through 12, into the master's special education program at UND. A unique component of this project is to involve practicing Native American educators who are committed both to teaching and to their communities."
Students in the UTSEP program must be currently employed by a school district or Headstart, must hold a bachelor's degree in education and a valid teaching license, must meet UND Graduate School and Special Education admissions requirements, and must be Native American.