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$1.2M grant creates training program for doctoral special education students

$1.2M grant creates training program for doctoral special education students
November 9, 2021 Emily Knight
Teen boy with special needs working with speech therapist

$1.2M grant creates training program for doctoral special education students


For schools around the nation, it is essential to have multi-faceted interventions to address the academic, behavioral, language and functional needs of children with disabilities. Although there have been advancements within special education in recent years, there is still more that needs to be done.

Dr. Florina Erbeli and fellow scholars, Dr. Marc Goodrich, Dr. Julie Thompson and Dr. Jay Ganz hope to change that with their recently awarded $1.2M doctoral training grant from the Office of Special Education of the U.S. Department of Education.

Erbeli, a special education scholar and assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, explained that her team used the grant to create the RISE Scholars Network doctoral training program.

The RISE (Researching Interventions in Special Education) Scholars Network is a five year training program that prepares 12 doctoral students split between three different schools with evidence-based intervention skills in special education. 

This collaborative partnership is part of a total $3.7M grant split between three schools – Texas A&M University, University of Nebraska and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. 

“The purpose of the RISE Scholars Network is to prepare doctoral scholars and provide them with opportunities and training to design, evaluate and disseminate interventions for students with disabilities across a range of populations and contexts, and to teach and lead the next generation of special educators” Erbeli said. 

The five year grant will provide a living stipend, fully-covered tuition, fees, health insurance and dissertation support as well as the opportunity to network with fellow peers at the other two institutions.

“The goal is for them to fly out to a different university every year, and present their research and learn from other professors and RISE scholars at the different schools,” Erbeli said.

Erbeli said the courses offered within the program will provide future scholars the opportunity to design their own interventions. This grant will also enable the RISE scholars to take part in internships with a local education agency, which is something new that is not provided for current students in the program.

Erbeli said RISE will hopefully foster collaboration later on when doctoral students have finished the program and continue as faculty in their own institutions.

Applications are currently open for the RISE program and are due December 1, 2021. 

For more information about the RISE program, contact Erbeli erbeli@tamu.edu.

About the Writer


Emily Knight is a writing assistant for the Marketing and Communications office in the College of Education and Human Development. She is a senior in the Agricultural Communications and Journalism program at Texas A&M.

Articles by Emily

For media inquiries, contact Justin Elizalde.

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