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Grants support services for blind children, other research projects

EL VISTA will serve some of the state's most vulnerable and underserved populations: Infants and toddlers with low vision, blindness, or deafblindness.

EL VISTA will serve some of the state's most vulnerable and underserved populations: Infants and toddlers with low vision, blindness, or deafblindness.

Illinois State faculty brought in more than $18 million in grant funding in fiscal 2015. Here are a few research projects that would not be possible without this support.

COE professors receive $1.23 million grant to train service providers for blind children

College of Education Professors Maribeth Lartz and Olaya Landa-Vialard have received a $1.23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to address a shortage of professionals trained in early intervention services for visually impaired children.

Over the next three years, it is estimated that more than 1,500 children in the state will be eligible for early intervention services and less than one-fifth will receive them, or even be identified. Positive developmental outcomes for infants and toddlers depend on the effective preparation and development of these highly trained professionals.

Lartz and Landa-Vialard, through the Early Learning Visual Impairment Services, Training, and Advancement (EL VISTA) grant program, will serve these vulnerable populations by training credentialed providers of these services for children up to 3 years old through a cohort-based model situated in areas of need across Central, Western, and Southern Illinois.

The project is expected to more than double the number of Illinois providers.

ISU educates teachers on primary sources through Library of Congress program

Illinois State University is one of 28 partners in the Library of Congress’ Teaching with Primary Sources program (TPS). The program offers professional development to K–16 educators centered on the acquisition and the utilization of the more than 20 million primary sources that the Library of Congress began digitizing in the 1990s.

Since 2004 the Library of Congress has been awarding annual TPS grants to Illinois State’s program, which has been under the direction of Richard Satchwell ’79.

The project at Illinois State is housed at Milner Library and offers two graduate level courses each semester focused on primary source instruction. These courses are offered online through the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and are taken by in-service teachers from across Illinois and beyond. To date, Illinois State has trained more than 600 teachers and introduced thousands of preservice teachers to primary sources found at the Library of Congress’ website.

The program continues to grow as a result of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The standards emphasize the need for students to be able to cite specific textual evidence to support their analysis, determine central ideas or information from primary sources, and be able to summarize the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

In 2007 the Library of Congress created three regional offices to oversee a grants program to further its impact on K–16 primary source instruction. Satchwell was asked to direct the Midwest Region, composed of 17 states.

This program provides funding of up to $20,000 to institutions for professional development projects focused on the Library of Congress’s digital primary sources.

More information about the Teaching with Primary Sources program can be found at TeachingPrimarySources.IllinoisState.edu. Questions about the program can be directed to Satchwell.

Grant renewed for professor’s research related to heart failure treatment

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has renewed an award to biologist Craig Gatto for a project that the School of Biological Sciences director started when he arrived at Illinois State University in 2000. The grant for $348,000 will run through June 2018.

This long-standing research is on a ubiquitous cellular protein called the sodium-potassium ATPase (Na,K-ATPase). It is an essential transport system and the site of action of digitalis, the most widely used therapy to treat patients with congestive heart failure. Prospects for improved therapies for cardiac and neuronal function, as well as improving renal function, will be greatly aided when scientists have a better understanding of the regulation of the activity of the Na,K-ATPase in cell membranes and by elucidating the mechanisms by which cells properly deliver this vital enzyme to specific subcellular locations.

Dietetic interns use tours to encourage people to eat more fruits and veggies

The Department of Family and Consumer Science’s dietetic internship program received $4,978 from the Produce for Better Health Foundation to lead grocery store tours throughout the spring 2015 semester. The tours focused on getting people to eat more fruits and vegetables and were tied to the Fruits and Veggies More Matters campaign.

A registered dietitian employed by Meijer grocery store trained 10 dietetic interns to give the tours, during which participants were guided through the different parts of the store where fruits and vegetables could be found.

Participants were given a taste test of some of the produce that were featured on the tour. Participants received a reusable grocery bag filled with produce items to use at home and some informational handouts.

The purpose of the project was to introduce participants to produce that they may not have had before and to teach them how all forms of fruits and vegetables can be incorporated into the diet. The dietetic internship program is seeking additional funding to continue the project.

Chicago Pipeline gets $10 million to expand teacher education program

Illinois State University’s College of Education and Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline (CTEP) have received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to expand teacher education programs in Chicago and start new programs in Decatur and Peoria.

The new Teacher Quality Partnership grant will develop the URBAN CENTER (Using Research Based Actions to Network Cities Engaged in New Teacher Education Reform), an integrated, comprehensive system of urban teacher recruitment, preparation, and mentoring. This will strengthen the Pipeline model that will recruit and prepare 500 high-quality teachers for the highest-need districts in Illinois where teacher attrition is high and student achievement remains low.

Now in its 12th year, the Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline has become a model for urban education and has produced almost 400 teachers for the Chicago Public Schools.

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