Grants Office Update: November 2019


Principal Investigator: Tessa McCarthy
Department: Instruction and Learning
Project Title: Project Certified Rehabilitation counselors and Educators Supporting Transition Success (CRESTS)
Agency Name: U.S. Department of Education 
Award Dates: 9/1/20 – 8/31/25 
Amount: $1,180,874

The focus of Project Certified Rehabilitation counselors and Educators Supporting Transition Success (CRESTS) is to provide scholars with the opportunity to become highly qualified, highly collaborative professionals who are certified as teachers of students with visual impairments or rehabilitation counselors. Two programs at the University of Pittsburgh are involved in Project CRESTS, the Vision Studies Program, offered at the master’s level which takes three years to complete and the Rehabilitation Counseling Program, offered at the master’s level which takes two years to complete. Scholars will graduate with either a master’s of education (MEd) and certification as a teacher of students with visual impairment or a master’s of science (MS) and certification as a rehabilitation counselor. All scholars will participate in inter-disciplinary coursework and enrichment experiences with an emphasis on supporting students who are blind and visually impaired as they transition from secondary education settings resulting in improved career outcomes and quality of life for the students the scholars teach. 

Scholars will participate in an intensive on-ramp training along with a preliminary field experience, two or three years of coursework, two field experiences, and eight enrichment webinars as a part of Project CRESTS. 

The total grant award is $1,180,874 over the next five years, and with this funding we will be able to provide full tuition awards for a total of 10 master’s students in the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments Program and 8 master’s students in the Rehabilitation Counseling Program. Additionally the grant will provide full funding for one PhD student in Vision Studies. The first cohort of students will begin in summer 2020. During enrichment activities, we will be partnering with two state agencies: the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Bureau of Blindness and Vision Services.

Principal Investigator: Valerie Kinloch
Department: Dean’s Office 
Project Title: Remake Shifting Power
Agency Name: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Award Dates: 10/22/19 – 7/31/21 
Amount: $400,000

The “Remake Shifting Power” grant from the Gates Foundation will be used to create an advisory group of Educators of Color from the Remake Learning Network (RLN) and to connect them with regional learning scientists operating within the RLN in order for educators to drive research and development around issues that are most relevant and salient to them. A major goal of this grant is to intentionally shift traditional power structures away from elevating the needs, aspirations, and interests of researchers to focusing, instead, on centering and uplifting the identities, voices, power, and brilliance of Educators of Color so that they can lead research and development processes with learning scientists as supportive collaborators. Working with educators, researchers, and ed-tech developers across various school districts, higher education institutions, and out-of-school learning organizations will allow us to improve how Educators of Color design, engage with, and lead research and evidence produced through Community Engaged Initiatives and Research Practice Partnerships.

Principal Investigator: Colleen Young
Department: Office of Child Development
Project Title: Family Support Mindfulness Collaboration
Agency Name: Staunton Farm Foundation 
Award Dates: 11/1/19 – 10/31/20 
Amount: $40,000

The Office of Child Development in partnership with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Awaken Pittsburgh will design and deliver curricula to teach and support trauma-informed and equity-focused mindfulness strategies to Family Support staff and families. There is an abundance of evidence that mindfulness practices can support the emotional wellbeing of caregivers. Our goal is to create simple and accessible ways for these caregivers to learn about and incorporate mindful practices into their lives to improve their capacity to care for themselves, foster healthy relationships with their children and families, and model social and emotional regulation skills and practices.