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Deaf Studies and Deaf Education awarded $1.25 million grant

Millicent MusyokaThe U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs has awarded a $1.25 million grant to the Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education at Lamar University. The focus of the grant is to prepare teachers for deaf and hard of hearing students in kindergarten through 12th grade who have additional disabilities. During the five-year project, students will receive full funding to complete their masters’ in Deaf Studies and Deaf Education at LU.

“This grant positions LU’s Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education as one of the premier graduate programs of its kind, both nationally and in the state of Texas,” said James Marquart, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Millicent Musyoka, Ph.D., assistant professor of deaf studies, applied for the grant with assistance from Mary Anne Gentry, Ed.D., associate professor of deaf studies. Musyoka will now be the program director for the grant.

“I was thrilled when I found out our grant had been funded,” said Musyoka, pictured above. “This will not only help Lamar University to recruit and retain the best and brightest students in this area, but it is also crucial because the funding is going to support an underserved population. More than forty percent of deaf students have an additional disability, such as autism, attention deficit disorder, and so forth, and this grant will specifically prepare teachers to work with them.”

The key components of the grant include coursework, field experience, advising and mentoring. The coursework will include deaf education courses, general education courses and special education courses at LU. Student teachers will then complete their field experience and clinical teaching with deaf and hard of hearing children who have additional disabilities. LU faculty in the department will mentor program graduates for three years after they complete their degree and transition from college to teaching.

“Lamar University’s Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education has already set itself apart as the only English/American Sign Language-bilingual teacher education program in Texas, and one of the few such programs in the United States,” said Derina Holtzhausen, Ph.D., dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. “These are attributes we will use as the building blocks for the future strengthening and expansion of the department made possible with this generous grant from the Department of Education.”

“Our department is so proud of Dr. Musyoka and Dr. Gentry for winning this training grant,” said Diane Clark, Ph.D., department chair. “This opportunity will allow teachers to be more prepared and for their students to become as successful as they possibly can be as adults. The award dovetails with the vision of our department to support and empower the deaf community through our programming and outreach, and it increases the reputation of Lamar University as one of the top training programs for teachers of deaf and hard of hearing students.”