Meadows Foundation Grant of $1.5 Million Creates New Center to Help At-Risk Students

Aug. 25, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin has received a $1.5 million grant from the Meadows Foundation of Dallas to establish the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk in the College of Education.

The center will be a research and training institute for teachers and school leaders to help them diagnose and alter the course of students who are at risk of academic failure. The five-year grant will help fund the start-up and operations of the center.

"We are deeply grateful to the Meadows Foundation for its support of educationally at-risk students in Texas," said Dr. Manuel J. Justiz, dean of the College of Education. "The foundation has been a generous supporter of the college for many years and is dedicated to improving education in our state."

The Meadows Center will partner with the University of Houston and the University of Texas System Institute for Public School Initiatives to conduct research, train educators, promote policy changes and prepare students for academic success.

"Because students are successful when they are provided engaging instruction," said Dr. Sharon Vaughn, director of the Meadows Center and professor of special education in the College of Education, "the center will work to involve all students—including those who may have low literacy, special needs or are capable but not performing—so they can improve their academic achievement and social outcomes."

Vaughn has developed a number of programs for educationally at-risk children and has received several prior grants from the Meadows Foundation. Holder of the H. E. Hartfelder/Southland Corp Regents Chair in the College of Education, she is the founding director of the Center on School-Based Research at the University of Miami and the founding director of the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts at The University of Texas at Austin.

"Working with a unique group of colleagues from psychology, special education, sociology, and speech and language, we hope to be the bridge between research and practice to create educational settings that promote success," said Vaughn. "Key focus areas will be academic instructional practices as well as social environments, knowledge attainment and college and life preparation, and engagement of underrepresented youth."

The Meadows Foundation was established in 1948 by Algur H. and Virginia Meadows to benefit the people of Texas. The foundation's mission is to assist the people and institutions of Texas to improve the quality and circumstances of life for themselves and future generations. The foundation has contributed more than $6 million to The University of Texas at Austin for programs in the College of Education, the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the Blanton Museum of Art, the Harry Ransom Center and the School of Architecture.

For more information, contact: Kay Randall, College of Education, 512 471 6033;  Gail Giebink, University Development Office, 512-475-9628.