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Center to Help Students Transition to College

UNC Charlotte's College of Education received $12.5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education to create a new technical assistance center to help students with disabilities transition to college or careers. The center will be a partnership among UNC Charlotte and the University of Oregon, Western Michigan University, University of Kansas and Maryland-based TransCen Inc., which provides direct services to students with disabilities.

David Test, professor of special education and child development and the principal investigator for the project, explains that "We will be working with all 50 states and 10 U.S. territories to develop teacher training and professional development for workers in relevant agencies on proven strategies to achieve better outcomes for high school students who are transitioning into adulthood."

The National Technical Assistance Center on Improving Transition to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students with Disabilities will begin formally in January 2015.

Smith Receives Award for Community Engagement

Heather Smith, professor of geography in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, is the 2014 recipient of the Provost’s Faculty Award for Community Engagement. Established in 2012, the award honors a tenured faculty member whose teaching, research and service embodies the University’s commitment to civic involvement and whose work strengthens the relationship between UNC Charlotte and the larger community.

In the 15 years since she joined UNC Charlotte, Smith has built an integrated teaching, research and service profile that places community engagement at its core. Her research explores how immigrants navigate new lives in new gateway locations, and how receiving communities respond to the needs, expectations and cultural diversity foreign-born migrants bring. Her engaged work in the Charlotte community focuses on the rapidly growing Latino immigrant population and challenges of inclusivity and access. For Smith, the research partnerships she establishes embrace trans-disciplinary and cross-institutional learning in a way that fosters sustained commitment to growth, innovation and the public good.