Board Chair and President of Siskin Children's InstituteLeft to right: UTC Chancellor Bill Stacy, board chair of Siskin Children's Institute, Mrs. Pregulman, and president of Siskin Children's Institute, Paul K. Brock, Jr.

 

Siskin Children's Institute and UTC Announce New Initiative

Siskin Children's Institute and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga are proud to announce the creation of the Siskin Children's Institute Chair of Excellence and Circle of Scholars program. This exciting new initiative will benefit children with special needs by strengthening special education within the Chattanooga community.

"There is a dire shortage of teachers in our nation today--particularly within the field of special education," said Paul K. Brock, Jr., president of Siskin Children's Institute. "The Chair of Excellence and Circle of Scholars is an effort on our part to help address a local and a national problem. We want to attract the best and brightest to this field."

Siskin Children's Institute has agreed to invest $1 million and UTC is matching the donation with an additional $1 million from the Lupton Renaissance Fund to create endowments for the Chair of Excellence and scholarship program. "With this investment, we hope to improve the quality of services available to children with special needs and their families," Brock said. "It's a wonderful way for us to carry our mission beyond our walls."

UTC Chancellor Bill Stacy also shared his excitement about the new partnership, anticipating new learning opportunities that will benefit the entire community.

"The University is thrilled to be associated with such an outstanding partner as the Siskin Children's Institute in this joint venture. Working together, Siskin and UTC can create opportunities for learning and research in the area of special education far beyond what either of us could alone," said UTC Chancellor Bill Stacy.

Dr. Mary Tanner, Dean of the College of Education and Applied Professional Studies feels the involvement of UTC students in the Siskin Children’s Institute program will be strengthened through the partnership of the two non-profit institutions.

"The College of Education and Applied Professional Studies enters the new partnership with The Siskin Children's Institute with much excitement. Our common interest in education for children with special needs will allow us to create new opportunities and visibility for children and their families. We also hope to engage the larger community in a better understanding of special needs children and state of the art educational programs," Tanner said.

The Chair of Excellence is designed to attract a recognized expert with experience in early childhood programming and special education. The expert will serve as a faculty member in the UTC College of Education and Applied Professional Studies. The holder of the chair will teach graduate and undergraduate courses at the university, conduct research at Siskin Children's Institute, consult with other educators in the community, and help the Institute stay on the cutting edge of educational programming for children with disabilities.

The Circle of Scholars is a scholarship program that will allow students in special education and school psychology to complete their degree while continuing employment. "Each educator trained through this partnership will potentially affect the lives of several hundred children and families during their career," explains Debbie Matthews, director of programs at Siskin Children's Institute. "By partnering with UTC, the Institute can play an active role in identifying, training, and supporting future educational leaders who can pave the way to a brighter future for young children with disabilities."