GSE awarded three grants totaling over $2.7 million

Vocational rehabilitation grant awarded to Counselor Ed

A new $753,310 grant has been awarded to the GSE’s Counselor Education faculty by the US Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Drs. Hanoch Livneh and Tina Anctil recently learned they will be able to train more rehabilitation counselors to fill a growing gap in the vocational rehabilitation field. Working with the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services (OVRS), the grant will provide scholarship dollars to recruit, train, and place 70 qualified and competent rehabilitation counselors by the year 2017.

The 2011 OVRS plan outlines an increased need in Oregon over the next five years to prepare qualified rehabilitation counselors. OVRS projects a need for 56 new qualified hires to fill eminent vacancies at their agency, as well as 20 percent more new Qualified Rehabilitation Professionals (QRPs) for vacancies in OVRS-affiliated agencies.

Keeping students in school: childcare grant for student parents

Dr. Will Parnell (Curriculum and Instruction: Early Childhood Education), Ellie Justice (Director, Helen Gordon Center) and Lola Lawson (Coordinator, Student Parent Services) have received a grant for $697,330 from the US Department of Education to provide additional childcare services on campus, to provide additional staff development for child care personnel, and to subsidize childcare fees for low-income student families.

One of the major reasons PSU student parents cite for leaving school is the difficulty of arranging sufficient childcare while attending classes. With an average student age of 27.5, PSU has a large number of students who are working and raising families while seeking degrees. Services to PSU student parents have not kept pace with the rate of campus enrollment growth. PSU has two childcare facilities on campus: the short-hour center in Smith Memorial Student Union and the Helen Gordon Child Development Center—both subsidized with student fees and providing services to low-income students. Waiting lists for these facilities tops 500 to 800 families.

RELATED STORY: A recent grant to fund a study for additional child care facilities on the PSU campus was reported in the 2010 GSE Annual Report in September.

American Indian Urban Teacher Project awarded over $1 million

Dr. Micki Caskey from the Graduate School of Education and Dr. Cornel Pewewardy from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have collaborated on a unique grant intended to enlist more Native Americans to be Oregon teachers.

The Portland metro area has the largest Native American population in Oregon, yet very few Native Americans are represented among the ranks of Oregon’s 33,000 teachers. Dr. Caskey and Mr. Pewewardy intend to change that.

The grant, called American Indian Urban Teacher Project, is from the US Department of Education and provides $1.2 million to train 18 new fully-qualified Native American teachers. This will considerably increase the number of Native American teachers in Oregon who will work in schools with significant numbers of Native American students.

The grant will be administered by the Graduate School of Education and will be distributed over the next four years.

GSE/CEED to offer new certificate focused on trauma services

Social service providers across the country are becoming increasingly aware of the effects of traumatic events in the lives of their clients, and the need to tailor services accordingly. In the winter of 2010, the Graduate School of Education was approached by the leaders of local mental health organizations about providing training to fill a gap in this area in the human services workforce. As a result, local human services leaders and Continuing Education joined to create the Trauma-Informed Services Certificate of Completion, which will be offered beginning this fall.

This new noncredit certificate program is a series of  workshops designed to increase skills in therapists and mental health professionals in providing services to clients and organizations affected by trauma. All the workshops may be taken individually or combined to receive the certificate of completion. Taught by specialists in the trauma and rehabilitation fields, they focus on resilience, recovery, and hope.

The program is designed for personnel at all levels of mental health, addictions, corrections, and domestic violence; educational institutions; and other human service organizations. By participating in this program, peer mentors, case managers, clinicians, policy makers, and administrators will benefit from increasing skills and awareness of necessary core competencies in trauma-informed services.

Workshops include:

  • Foundations of Trauma-Informed Services
  • Trauma Interventions with Diverse Populations
  • Trauma-Informed Services Across the Lifespan
  • The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Trauma
  • Organizational Resilience in the Face of Trauma
  • Vicarious Traumatization and Self Care
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Suicide Prevention and Intervention

For more information about the Trauma-Informed Services Certificate of Completion, visit the program website at, or contact Kathy Lovrien, program manager, at or 503-725-8165.

Over 130 participants attend workshop supporting returning veterans

Over 130 participants took part in an event sponsored by PSU and partners designed to help returning veterans reintegrate into the community. Continuing Education, TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and the NW Veterans Administration MIRECC program collaborated to help professionals in education, mental health, and addiction services who work with veterans understand the challenges facing soldiers and their families when reintegrating into civilian life. Over 14 speakers in 11 sessions presented on topics crucial to this process.

The overarching goal of the event was to equip providers and other professionals with information needed to better identify and treat combat-related mental health problems. Sessions covered topics such as:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Suicide
  • Addiction
  • The criminal justice system
  • Threat assessment
  • Women’s issues in reintegration
  • Issues for families of soldiers, such as absentee parent issues, home financing while deployed, and stress on children and teens

What is it like to be a vet on PSU campus?

Several PSU students were guest speakers, including Navy veteran Dave Ball. “While on active duty, I was injured and involuntarily separated from the military,” he said. “I instantly lost the camaraderie of the other members of my unit.” He found it difficult to adjust until he started classes at PSU and began affiliating with other student veterans on campus. Sharing similar experiences with his fellow student vets has helped him regain that fellowship at PSU.

Ron Kincaid spoke about veterans in higher education. As the Service Officer for Region 1, he is a new resource for veterans on PSU campus. His job was created by the Oregon Legislature in 2009 to place state veteran services officers on Oregon’s college campuses. His goal is to make sure veterans in the NW region know what their benefits are and how best to advocate for themselves if they get tangled up in the bureaucracy of the Federal VA system. He is often hands-on with individual veterans. His philosophy is “Every day is Veteran’s Day!”

Mr. Kincaid can be reached at his PSU office in 104 Neuberger Hall where he advises veterans on benefits for education, disability compensation and pensions, health care benefits, home loans, and more. He also can assist vets in appealing claims that the VA has denied.

PSU’s Office of Veterans Affairs and the Student Veterans Association are two sources on campus providing support for veterans returning to school. PSU began as a school for returning veterans and has a long history of support for veteran students. These groups assist students with financial aid, advising, and academic issues. This is the first event held by PSU to help the broader audience acquire an understanding of returning veterans’ issues.

PSU will continue to collaborate with Veterans Affairs and TriWest Healthcare Alliance, and will provide additional training to the community as veterans return from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas of combat.

PSU and community partners to host workshop supporting returning veterans

The Graduate School of Education is hosting a workshop on mental health for community members who work with returning military veterans. Sponsored by PSU, Tri West Healthcare Alliance, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, it provides information on understanding the challenges facing soldiers and their families when reintegrating into civilian life. The overarching goal is to equip providers and other professionals working with veterans in educational and community settings with information needed to better identify and treat combat-related mental health problems. This will enhance work with soldiers, their families, and members of the systems they encounter.

The event is  Friday, June 4, from 8am-4:30pm in Smith Memorial Student Union. A $75 fee includes lunch and breaks. For registration or information contact the school of extended studies at 503-725-4832 or register online. For event information, contact Kathy Lovrien, 503-725-8165.