UNF named as only Florida university to receive a U.S. Department of Education grant

Ambar Ramirez

The College of Education and Human Services was awarded a Teacher Quality Partnership grant of $1.6 million. UNF was the only Florida school to receive the grant, given by the U.S. Department of Education, out of 31 awards given. 

On Sept. 29, the College of Education and Human Services was first notified that they were in the running for the grant. Being a competitive grant, the department could only hope that they would be chosen. Upon receiving the news that they would be receiving the grant, Dr. Paul Parkison, the chair of the COEHS, described the overall feeling as excitement for what was to come.

“Grants are exciting when you get them and people within the faculty are excited that we are gonna have the opportunity to really look at the way our Master of Art Teaching functions,” Parkison said. “How it has a focus on inclusive practice for exceptional students and secondary schooling.”

While the department just received news of the grant in early October, the faculty has been working towards this new chapter for years.

“We have the opportunity to develop a program that we needed for a while directed towards elementary and a program directed towards training and preparing ESC teachers,” Parksion said. “So there is that excitement that is tempered just a little bit because there is going to be a lot of work to do, so there’s the good and the bad.”

The grant will be distributed over five years, and over those five years COEHS has a game plan to make the best of what they are given.

“We have about four things that we are really going to be focusing on. The primary focus will be recruiting cohesive students into the Master of Art Teaching program,” Parkison said. “Our second big piece is to get the state recognition of these initial teacher preparation programs, the third and fourth pieces are the development of new MAT programs in elementary and special education MAT.”

Not only will this grant satisfy the COEHS project to diversify students within teaching, but will also benefit the school as a whole.

“The majority of this grant really goes to supporting students to enroll in the program and to fund faculty to help work in systems for mentoring our graduates, emphasizing differentiated instruction and inclusive practice, which are really the big benefits” Parkison said. “The other benefits is to build on practices that we have been working on for the last four years to try and diversify our students so that we can diversify our teachers, so really working on recruiting minority candidates and creating these systems that have proven effective, which is really the benefit to the department and the benefit to the college.”  

With this grant, the COEHS can continue to work and live up to their motto,“Partnering to Make the World a Better Place.”


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