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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Programs for the education and training of professionals who serve deaf or hard of hearing people are expanding at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

 Professor William E. Woodrick, director of the Center on Deafness in the UT-Knoxville College of Education, said the programs also include increased outreach activities and more technical assistance for service providers.

 The Center on Deafness was recently created on recommendation of college and campus administrators with final approval of the UT Board of Trustees.

“The designation depends in part on a demonstrated ability to attract outside funding through grants and contracts,” Woodrick said. “We already have more than $5 million in external funding.”

 The center will enhance UT’s ability to offer important learning experiences for faculty, students and service providers throughout the South, Woodrick said.

 “We are available to assist vocational-technical schools, community colleges and four-year institutions,” Woodrick said. “We can show them how to access and use the programs that are in place to serve deaf and hard of hearing students.”

 Woodrick said having the center provides improved access to funding for the research projects of faculty and master’s and doctoral degree students.

 “If the project is applicable, we can get funding for it,” Woodrick said. As one example he cited a UT-Knoxville student whose dissertation involved interviews with parents of deaf children in Appalachia.

“We were able to get the student’s dissertation funded with a $28,000 grant,” Woodrick said.

One of four national postsecondary education centers for deafness, the UT-Knoxville center serves 14 states and the Virgin Islands or about one-third of the United States’ population, Woodrick said.

 The UT-Knoxville Deafness Center also is one of 10 federal sites for the training of interpreters for deaf or hard of hearing students.

 Working with colleges in seven other states, the UT-Knoxville center last year trained more than 65 new interpreters for the deaf, Woodrick said.

“We also offer the only program in the Southeast that provides academic and development opportunities for rehabilitation and human services providers who serve deaf and hard of hearing customers,” Woodrick said.

 Contact: Dr. William E. Woodrick (423-974-4135)