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By Ralph Derickson

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Ted Stephen Hasselbring, who will fill the first endowed chair in the UK College of Education, has a doctorate in special education from Indiana University and has been on the faculty of Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.

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Jan. 25, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees today appointed Ted Stephen Hasselbring as the first endowed chair in the College of Education.

Hasselbring, who has a doctorate in special education from Indiana University, has been on the faculty of Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in Nashville since 1984.  Prior to his Vanderbilt appointment, he was on the faculty of North Carolina State University at Raleigh.   He also taught at Yorktown Heights, New York.

A specialist in the development of computer software for teaching reading and mathematics to persons with mild disabilities, Hasselbring served on a long-term project at Vanderbilt called "Read 180" aimed at improving the reading skills of middle and high school students.

"Read 180" was adopted as a name for the project because its aim was to turn around by 180 degrees the reading skills of some 10,000 middle- and high-school students in Orange County, Florida, Hasselbring said.  "These students were 13 and 14 years old and could only read at the second- and third-grade levels," Hasselbring said.  The successful computer-aided reading program has since become available commercially from the Scholastic company.

In the UK College of Education, Hasselbring said he would seek grants to help continue his research and software development for teaching math and reading to kindergarten through fourth grade schoolchildren.   The scientist said he plans to examine the use of voice recognition technology in his newest research and development efforts.

Hasselbring said he began to hone both his interests and his skills in using technology to teach persons with disabilities while he was a graduate student at Indiana University working in the Center for Innovation in Teaching the Handicapped.

 When microcomputers emerged in the 1980s while he was on the faculty at North Carolina State, Hasselbring, the son of an engineer from Lebanon, Ohio, began adapting that technology to his work.   In 1984, he won an award from the Council for Exceptional Children for a software program that collected children's on-going performance data and helped teachers make instructional decisions based on the data.

Hasselbring was a visiting scholar in China, the USSR, and Japan during the late 1980s.  During those years, he said, the United States was far ahead of those countries in the use of technology for teaching persons with disabilities.

Hasselbring began appreciating the special educational needs of persons with handicaps when he was about nine years old and his mother and father began caring for a nephew, Hasselbring's uncle, who had severe physical disabilities resulting from Polio.  "He was about my age and he was very bright," Hasselbring remembers, "but he couldn't even go to high school because of his disabilities."

The uncle who had such a major influence on Hasselbring's educational interests eventually earned a doctorate in nuclear physics from Stanford and had a successful teaching career at the University of Texas in Austin.

Dr. Hasselbring has one son, a sophomore at Indiana University.

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