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SEN. MCCONNELL ANNOUNCES $1 MILLION IN FUNDING TO HELP STUDENTS WITH LEARNING CHALLENGES

By Ralph Derickson

Photo of William Berdine, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and UK President Lee T. Todd Jr.
Education Professor William Berdine, left, U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. at today's ceremony.

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"This is a banner year for earmarked federal funding for UK programs and that is precisely the kind of support we must have to continue our quest to be a top 20 public research university by the year 2020."

-- Lee T. Todd Jr., president, University of Kentucky .

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Feb. 21, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) today presented a ceremonial $1 million check to University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. for a new UK program that will support public teachers working with students who have learning challenges.

McConnell sponsored the proposal for earmarked federal funds to establish the new Commonwealth Center for Instructional Technology and Learning (CCITL) in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling in UK's College of Education.

Todd praised McConnell for his support of the new UK program and added a special thanks for a record-breaking total of more than $17 million in earmarked federal funds the senator and other members of Kentucky's congressional delegation, including Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), helped secure for UK this year.

"This is a banner year for earmarked federal funding for UK programs and that is precisely the kind of support we must have to continue our quest to be a top 20 public research university by the year 2020," Todd said in accepting the check.

McConnell, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said, "I was proud to secure these federal funds for UK because I know the university will use them to improve the quality of education for all of Kentucky's children, especially those with learning disabilities."

The Commonwealth Center for Instructional Technology and Learning has the goal of creating a Web-based model program that can be replicated across the country.

"We plan to give local education agencies a variety of learning preferences for students with learning challenges that fit their respective grade and school building responsibilities and schedules," said Bill Berdine, CCITL director. He added that the project will draw extensively on the research and knowledge of the recently funded UK National Assistive Technology Research Institute.

UK has developed an extensive capability to produce electronic instructional activities, Berdine said, including entire courses on compressed interactive video, satellite systems, performance support systems in education, and content courses that combine face-to-face interaction with compressed video, the World Wide Web and the Internet.

"This technological capability gives us the systems for quick and easy delivery of the products we will be developing to help teachers working with students who have learning challenges," Berdine commented.


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