By Ralph Derickson
William H. Berdine
Berdine has developed extraordinary expertise which would greatly assist the commission as
it prepares its recommendations for Congress."
-- U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell
and Jim Bunning, in a letter to President Bush supporting Berdine's appointment
|Dec. 4, 2001
(Lexington, Ky.) -- William H.
Berdine, professor of special education and chair of the Department of Special Education
and Rehabilitation Counseling in the University of Kentucky College of Education, has been
named to the President's White House Commission on Excellence in Special Education.
In an executive order, President George W. Bush
instructed the commission to make a report of its findings and recommendations by April
30. President Bush charged the commission to collect information and study issues related
to federal, state and local special education programs with the goal of recommending
policies for improving he educational performance of students with disabilities.
The other members of the commission are Gov.
Terry Branstad of Iowa, chair; Adela Acosta, a Maryland school principal; Steve Bartlett,
former Texas Congressman; Paul C. Butterfield, a Pennsylvania school official; Jay G.
Chambers, a California educator; W. Alan Coulter, a Louisiana State University professor;
Thomas Flemming, an Eastern Michigan University administrator; Jack M. Fletcher, a
University of Texas-Houston administrator; Douglas H. Gill, Washington state special
education director; David W. Gordon, a school's superintendent in Oak Grove, Calif.' Nancy
S. Grasmick, a Maryland superintendent; Bryan C. Hassel, a North Carolina education policy
consultant; Douglas Carl Huntt, commissioner of Ohio Rehabilitation Services; Michael
James Rivas, a Texas environmental design architect, Cheryl Rei Takemoto, who heads a
parent education advocacy training center in Virginia, and Katie Harper Wright, a writer
for a St. Louis newspaper.
In a letter to President Bush supporting
Berdine's appointment to the commission, U.S. senators Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell
said, "Dr. Berdine has developed extraordinary expertise which would greatly assist
the commission as it prepares its recommendations for Congress."
The letter from the senators pointed out that
Berdine also serves as the President of the Higher Education Consortium in Special
Education, a private, non-profit organization represent ting a special education
leadership personnel preparation programs at institutions of higher education throughout
the United States.
In commenting on his appointment, Berdine
said, "It is clear President Bush is committed to making thoughtful, well-designed
changes in education across the full spectrum of the life span and that the mantra of
'leave no child behind' was more than just another publicized slogan." Berdine added
that he is excited by the challenge of serving on the commission, the fist of its kind to
focus on special education.
Berdine, a native of Warren, Pa., completed a
bachelor of arts degree from Lycoming College in 1965 with a major in ancient and medieval
history. He has a master's of education and a doctorate of education with a major in
mental retardation/personnel preparation from Pennsylvania State University. He joined the
UK faculty in 1972. His current research interests involve the transition of students with
disabilities from secondary education to postsecondary settings.
He is the principal investigator on a
federally funded demonstration project, the UK
Engaging Differences project. The Engaging Differences project is developing a
replicable computer-based personnel support system to aid university administrators,
faculty and auxiliary services personnel to effectively work with students with
disabilities on the UK campus.
Among other things on the Engaging
Differences Web site is an example of a letter of accommodation faculty members might
receive from persons who have disabilities noting special academic needs they may have in
Berdine is married to Stacie Meyer, a special
education teacher with 25 years of experience.