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Deaf studies, deaf education selected for $500,000 incentive award

Lamar University’s Ed.D. program in deaf studies and deaf education has been selected for a $500,000 incentive award by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, officials announced.

The selection is the second University Funding for Excellence in Specific Program & Fields Incentive Award. Established in 2009 by the Texas Legislature as a component of House Bill 51, the first award was given to Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2011. The award assists general academic teaching institutions in developing and maintaining national excellence in specific programs or fields of study.

“Lamar submitted the Ed.D. in Deaf Studies and Deaf Education for consideration for the incentive award,” said Steve Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Lamar. “Our program has developed a unique ‘niche’ focused on service to deaf and hard of hearing people in the southern United States.”

The program provides graduate students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective leaders and researchers in the field, said Tony Martin, chair of the department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education.

"Throughout our 19-year history, Lamar's Deaf Studies and Deaf Education program has embraced the cultural diversity that our doctoral students have brought to the university,” said Tony Martin, chair of the department. “Our faculty is proud of the significant contributions that our graduates have made to the fields of art, linguistics, Deaf education, criminal justice, and sign language interpreting, and we are excited about the opportunity to further promote future leaders in Deaf education who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. This award will greatly add to the Department's successful productivity.”

Lamar University submitted an application describing the program; the 18 characteristics of the doctoral program, which detailed the quality and effectiveness of the program; and the many awards and recognitions of the program, faculty, and students. Two consultants from Gallaudet University, the world’s only university in which all programs and services are designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students, were selected to review the application and establish criteria for determining national excellence. The consultants conducted a virtual site visit primarily utilizing videophone and also completed a desk review of the program to evaluate the institution’s response to the criteria

Based on the comments from the consultants, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board staff concluded that Lamar’s Ed.D. in Deaf Studies and Deaf Education program has achieved national excellence in the field. The staff then recommended to the Coordinating Board that Lamar be awarded the one-time grant in recognition of this achievement. The proposal was presented for approval to the Coordinating Board and passed with congratulations to LU for developing such a distinguished program.

“This award is recognition of the hard work done by the outstanding faculty and staff of the department,” said Russ Schultz, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. “They are to be congratulated for being only the second program in the state to be approved for such a significant award.”