Peabody College Department of Special Education secures $6.4M federal grant

U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs will fund NCLII-2 initiative to support the training of doctoral students in the special education field


Thomas Hum

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Department of Special Education, which is near the pedestrian bridge between Commons and main campus along 21st Ave.

Thomas Hum, Staff Writer

Peabody College’s Department of Special Education has received a $6.4 million federal grant from the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).  According to the NCLII website, this five-year grant will enable the National Center for Leadership in Intensive Intervention (NCLII) to fund an initiative known as NCLII-2. This initiative will train a cohort of 28 doctoral students from seven universities: Vanderbilt University, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin, University of Georgia and Michigan State University.

Eight faculty members from Peabody’s Department of Special Education serve as members of the NCLII. Dr. Joseph Wehby, associate professor and chair in the Peabody College Department of Special Education, will oversee the NCLII-2 grant.

“The primary purpose of the grant is to train doctoral students in methods of intensive intervention, specifically how such interventions should be developed and implemented to improve kids’ learning behavior,” Vanderbilt professor of special education and NCLII co-director Douglas Fuchs said.

The NCLII is an OSEP-funded academic consortium that prepares leaders in the field of special education to become experts in research on intensive intervention. Intensive intervention consists of the specialized methods used to teach students with learning and behavioral disabilities in a manner that caters to their specific needs.

“Our research in the department is very applied,” Vanderbilt professor of special education and NCLII co-director Marcia Barnes said. “That means that although doctoral students learn the theoretical basis for what they are doing, they are also out there in the field working with children, testing out different types of intervention strategies and techniques.”

According to Barnes, Peabody College provides infrastructure support to enable the research work that the NCLII conducts. Barnes recognizes the opportunities that Peabody College provides to link students and faculty across the country in a field where capacity building is crucial.

Our department is recognized nationally, if not internationally, as the premier department of special education,” Fuchs said. “It has a level of expertise in intensive intervention that surpasses other programs of special education in the country.”