The UT Center on Deafness is helping to expand educational opportunities for deaf youth in the Southeast and rural Appalachia. In fall 2013, the center received a $1.25 million federal grant to increase the number of deaf education teachers in the region.
The Tennessee Education of the Deaf Personnel Preparation Project is designed to address the shortage of certified teachers for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, said David H. Smith, associate professor and director of the UT Center on Deafness.
“It’s pretty well known that retention is not the issue for deaf teachers,” he said. “They love their job. It’s that there are not enough of them.” The grant provides up to five years of funding for teacher education, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees and licensure. In exchange, participants must commit at least two years of service for every year of support received.