UT Austin Researchers Receive $20 Million to Improve Education Outcomes for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People

photo of UT Associate Professor Stephanie Cawthon and Principal Investigator Carrie Lou Garberoglio
UT College of Education Associate Professor Stephanie Cawthon and Co-Principal Investigator Carrie Lou Garberoglio Christina S. Murrey

Researchers in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin have received a $20 million, five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs to lead a center that will have a far-reaching effect: supporting postsecondary education outcomes for deaf and hard of hearing people.

It is one of the largest grants awarded by the Department of Education to support technical assistance and professional development in special education.

Stephanie Cawthon, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, an Elizabeth Glenadine Gibb Teaching Fellow in Education and director of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute at the Meadows Center, will lead the program. Carrie Lou Garberoglio, project manager at the Meadows Center, is co-principal investigator on the team.

“We want deaf and hard of hearing people to have access to more robust services — services that assist the whole person and that have been proven effective,” Cawthon said “We want to increase accessibility, concentrating on the grassroots level, and understand why things are happening at a deeper level.”

Currently, best practices for educating and supporting the educational outcomes of deaf and hard of hearing individuals after high school have not been studied rigorously or shared broadly, which means that uneven outcomes are common. The new center, which launches Jan. 1, aims to change that.

The program will be located in the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, which is nationally recognized for its expertise in translating research into practice. Its work will support training programs, colleges and universities that work with organizations and public agencies to more effectively address the postsecondary, vocational, technical, and continuing and adult education needs of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.

“Dr. Cawthon will lead a strong collaborative national team of researchers and practitioners,” said Manuel J. Justiz, dean of the College of Education. “The project is well-positioned to draw upon extensive experience, data-driven research and scholarship in the field.”

“Ultimately, we seek to change the culture surrounding postsecondary outcomes for deaf individuals and create conditions for success in a way that recognizes and honors their experiences, perspectives and abilities” Garberoglio said.

“I’m proud of the fact that we’re bringing together teams of people from education, business, and community organizations, as well as families, in an innovative and useful effort. We want to improve the research and find better ways for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to overcome challenges and be successful,” Cawthon said.

For more information about the center, please visit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute page on the Meadows Center website.