Ashland University Awarded $100,000 Grant

11/23/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University has been awarded an Ohio Department of Education grant in the amount of nearly $100,000.

Under the leadership of Dr. Crystal Kaiser, associate professor and intervention specialist in the Dwight Schar College of Education’s Department of Early Childhood, the University has received a grant of $99,781 from the Office for Exceptional Children at the Ohio Department of Education.

The grant will fund the second year of Project RISE (Redesigning Intervention Specialist Education), which was started last year as a planning grant.

Dr. Kaiser, who works in the University’s Columbus Center, will serve as the project director for Project RISE and Dr. Maria Sargent, professor in the Department of Early Childhood; Dr. Jim Chapple, associate professor in the Department of Inclusive Services and Exceptional Learners; and Tanzeah Sharpe, professional instructor in the Department of Early Childhood, will serve as faculty leaders.

“This new grant will focus on implementation and sustainability of progress made during the planning year,” Kaiser said. “Project RISE faculty community coordinators will work in Ashland/Stark, Elyria and Columbus to create closer collaborative ties between Ashland University and schools/preschools serving young children with disabilities.”

Kaiser said funds from this award also will support AU faculty to better assist both current and future early childhood intervention specialist (ECIS) students and cooperating schools/preschools toward current national evidence-based best practice in the field of early childhood special education.

“Through the efforts of Dr. Mary Rycik, chair of the Department of Early Childhood, Ashland's undergraduate ECIS program has recently experienced significant enrollment increases at the main campus,” Kaiser said.

This recent enrollment increase began with the addition of a new and popular "Fast Track" program in which Ashland University early childhood teacher education candidates can now complete licensure requirements for both early childhood education and early childhood special education within the same four-year undergraduate period, while also completing their bachelor's degree.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2012, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.