Grawemeyer Hall 2017
Grawemeyer Hall 2017

Researchers from the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky have won a $2.3 million federal grant to train special education faculty.

Project PURPLE (Preparing Urban and Rural Personnel as Leaders in Education), a joint effort between the UofL College of Education and Human Development and the UK College of Education, will fund five doctoral-level scholars from each institution beginning in the fall 2020 semester.

It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.

Ginevra Courtade, UofL associate professor and chair of the Department of Special Education, is co-director of the project.

“We look forward to using our partnership to recruit and support a diverse group of scholars and to implement a comprehensive program focused on evidence-based practices for students with disabilities in urban and rural high-need schools,” she said.


Participants will work with nationally recognized faculty from both institutions.


“The current special education faculty is aging, and projections indicate that retirements will continue to increase by as much as 50%. Without special education faculty, institutions of higher education cannot prepare adequate numbers of special education teachers, an area that has a critical shortage in Kentucky and nationwide,” said Melinda Ault, the project’s director and an associate professor of special education in the UK College of Education Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling.


“The project takes advantage of the strengths of the faculties at both UK and UofL,” said Kera Ackerman, the project’s co-director at UK and an assistant professor in the UK College of Education Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling.

Janet Cappiello covers the College of Business, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Sustainability Council and military initiatives for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since March 2014.