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Aug. 18 , 2004
CONTACT: Carol Anderson

EMU awarded $12,000 for future teachers of the visually impaired

YPSILANTI — Thanks to the Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund, two Eastern Michigan University special education students may be closer to achieving their goals  – teaching the visually impaired. The Fund, a nonprofit, service organization staffed by inmates at the State Prison of Southern Michigan, recently awarded EMU $12,000 for scholarships.

The gift, part of a five-year commitment, will cover a full-tuition scholarship for two students majoring in visual impairment in EMU’s special education department.

The first scholarships will be awarded midway through the Fall 2004 semester since one requirement of the scholarship is for students to be successfully enrolled in a Braille course. 

“The generous scholarship gift from the Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund will certainly assist in addressing the nationwide shortage of highly-qualified teachers of students with visual impairment,” said Lynne Rocklage, head of EMU’s Department of Special Education.

EMU has the only undergraduate program in Michigan that trains teachers of the visually impaired and is one of only a few universities nationwide offering this training. There are approximately 50 students in EMU’s special education, visually impaired program, said Rocklage.

The Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund  began as a volunteer effort by inmates at the State Prison of Southern Michigan and now encompasses a complete training program and Braille production center. Trainees undergo a certification process prescribed by the Library of Congress and transcribe textbooks and other “hard to Braille” materials such as bus schedules and corporate manuals.

For additional information, contact Rocklage at 734.487.3300.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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