UofL, UK share $2.3 million grant for special education training


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Researchers from the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky have received a $2.3 million federal grant to train much-needed 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.

    The project 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 are thrilled to utilize our strong partnership to recruit and support a diverse group of scholars. UofL and UK are in a position to implement a comprehensive doctoral 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 members from both institutions.

    “The current special education faculty is aging, and projections indicate that retirements will continue to increase by as much as 50 percent. 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 UK’s 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 its Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Rehabilitation Counseling.

    For more information, contact Dr. Courtade at g.courtade@louisville.edu or 502-852-2144.


    Janet Cappiello covers student success 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 2014.