Driven by Equity

The College of Education at the University of Memphis is Driven by Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. We strive for excellence and transform innovation into action as we lead, teach, research, and serve. We train equity-minded teachers, educational leaders, counselors, and researchers who will impact Memphis, the Mid-South, and the world. 

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COE News

Spring 2021 Newsletter >


Growing Project Memphis: ICL Faculty Provide Early Intervention for Young Children and Families with Special Needs

Dr. Laura Casey, professor in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership, and her commitment to serving young children (aged 0-2) with special needs and their families continues to be rewarded through state and federal grants with recent awards from the TN Department of Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) totaling $2.7 million dollars. These recent awards are the result of Casey’s ability to sustain, maintain, and grow a long-standing home and community grant with the state known as Project Memphis (PM). Under her leadership, this early intervention (EI) service-based grant has grown exponentially in terms of the number of families seen and the type of services provided.

Over the last few years, PM expanded beyond developmental therapy to also include Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) assessment/therapy and psychological evaluation/diagnostic services through the TEIS’s vendor program. This expansion to other disciplines resulted in a team-based, interdisciplinary approach to EI. The team approach is the gold standard for EI with UofM leading the way in west TN.

The grant will allow Casey and her team to continue home and community-based services through 2024 as well as add center-based therapies. The center-based services, once housed and ready to launch, will offer a wide array of services from diagnostics to individualized and small group programs aimed at maximizing each child's development across several domains (adaptive-social-emotional- behavioral) using a team-based approach designed to promote inclusive preschool readiness. The new center-based grant will work in tandem with the home-community grant and will seek to employ licensed behavior analysts, registered behavior technicians, developmental therapists, social workers, and psychologists.

These new opportunities will serve as an opportunity for wraparound services for families at the Integrated Community Health Clinic (ICHC) that will be comprised of ABA faculty and faculty and students from the Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research department. The new grants received, along with the existing initiatives, will also provide more on campus practicum and internship placements for students in the COE and better connect with other free service grants on campus such as Regional Intervention Program (RIP: a parent training program for children 0-6 with behavior disorders), UMBRELLA (an autism focused grant shifting to a billing model) and TN Behavior Supports Project (a school based positive behavior intervention grant currently working with SCS).

For more information on these awards and/or these initiatives, contact Dr. Casey at lpcasey@memphis.edu.

CEPR Faculty and UofM Colleagues Earn Grant to Support Students

The University of Memphis has received a four-year, $1.89 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Behavioral Health Workforce, Education and Training (BHWET) Program to establish the INTEGRATE program – Interprofessional Teams Grounded in Apprenticeship, Telehealth and Evidence. The program will provide funded practicums or internships for students in the COE programs Master of Science in Counseling and Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology as well as in the Master of Social Work and Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology.

“The Mid-South includes several shortage areas for mental health professionals,” said Dr. Susan Neely-Barnes, principal investigator on the grant and professor, director and chair of the School of Social Work. “Through the INTEGRATE program, the University of Memphis will be able to address workforce shortages in the Mid-South region.”

Students in the INTEGRATE program will receive interdisciplinary training in areas critical to addressing the community’s behavioral health needs including integrating behavioral health care into primary care settings; interdisciplinary teamwork; cultural humility and competency; substance abuse treatment; adverse childhood experiences (ACEs); and violence prevention and recidivism reduction. 

The grant is a collaboration of faculty from the School of Social Work (Dr. Susan Neely-Barnes; Dr. Laura Taylor, assistant professor; and Dr. Paige Pirkey, postdoctoral fellow and adjunct professor); the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research (Dr. Michelle Brasfield, assistant professor; Dr. Ashley Batastini, assistant professor; Dr. Chi Li, assistant professor; and Dr. Suzanne Lease, associate professor); and the Department of Psychology (Dr. Kristoffer Berlin, associate professor; and Dr. Meghan McDevitt-Murphy, professor).

CREP Partners with Engineering Research Visioning Alliance

The College of Education Center for Research in Educational Policy (CREP) is beginning a prestigious partnership with the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA). Established via a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation, the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA) was officially launched on April 7, 2021. The first engineering research visioning alliance of its kind, ERVA is a diverse, inclusive and engaged partnership that enables an array of voices to impact national research priorities. ERVA will help the U.S. remain an international leader by identifying and developing new, high-impact engineering research directions to help the engineering community solve major challenges and improve daily life. 

CREP’s team is led by P.I. Dr. Todd Zoblotsky with Dr. Carolyn Kaldon and Dan Strahl serving as Co-P.I. CREP’s portion of the award as a Subawardee to ERVA is $800K for the first five years with more years anticipated. Dr. Zoblotsky, P.I, states, “CREP is excited and honored to be part of this amazing alliance tasked with setting the direction for engineering research for the nation.  Along with Co-PIs Dr. Carolyn Kaldon and Dan Strahl, we look forward to showcasing ERVA’s progress and success. This partnership is not only a highlight in CREP’s research portfolio but will elevate the University’s profile through this important work.” 

To learn more about ERVA and get involved, visit www.ERVAcommunity.org> and follow @ERVACommunity on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Learn more about CREP and their work at memphis.edu/crep>

Dr. Edith Gnanadass and Dr. Sandra Nichols named Hooks Academic Research Fellows

Dr. Edith Gnanadass (Associate Professor in LEAD) and Dr. Sandra Nichols (Professor and Chair, ICL) have been named Hooks Academic Research Fellows in 2021 by UofM's Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change. Serving for two years, Fellows assist the Hooks Institute not only in fulfilling its mission of teaching, studying, and promoting civil rights and social change but also in becoming a premier center for scholars working on race and social justice scholarship. The Institute's goal is to build a network of scholars that will give anyone visiting their website a more accurate sense of our work and partnerships.Dr. Gnanadass and Dr. Nichols demonstrate their commitment to be Driven by Equity in research, teaching and service through this honor. Learn more about the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change and their upcoming virtual events at their website>. 

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