JAN 5, 2001

CONTACT: Nancy Mida

Phone 734-484-3237



YPSILANTI - A Verizon Foundation grant will help enhance collaborative leadership skills through new technology for superintendents and school board members in three Michigan school districts. The Eastern Michigan University Centers for Corporate Training (CCT), Ypsilanti, the Michigan Virtual University (MVU), Lansing, and the Michigan Nonprofit Association join Verizon as sponsors in the one-year project.

Verizon will fund the project through the Eastern Michigan University Foundation-Institute for Education Reform, the project coordinator. Representative urban, rural and suburban districts will be chosen to participate in the project, scheduled to begin in January, 2001.

"If schools systems are to succeed in having every student achieve at higher levels and make productive entries into the world of work, the superintendents and school board members-the Governance Team-must function as mutually accountable individuals," said John D. VanWyck, manager of Verizon external affairs in Michigan.

"We are entering a new era in which our leaders-in education and in many other fields-will need to know more about how to use technology, or face the risk of having technology become a barrier and not a tool for change," said Walter DiMantova, director of EMU's Centers for Corporate Training.

The traditional face-to-face training will occur on-site in participating districts. Technology-enhanced training will be delivered via the Michigan Virtual University, including use of its Global Collaborative Center (GCC). The GCC offers 16-station computer conferencing through specialized group productivity software.

The Centers for Corporate Training have provided training and consulting to more than 170,000 individuals from hundreds of companies in the United States and 11 other countries. It is the first unit in a public university in North America to be registered with the prestigious ISO 9002 Quality Systems Certificate.

Michigan Virtual University is a private, nonprofit corporation established in 1998 by Michigan Governor John Engler and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to provide online learning opportunities for Michigan's employers and citizens.

The Verizon Foundation is committed to supporting programs and projects that create innovative e-solutions, help bridge the digital divide, foster basic and computer literacy, help enrich communities, educate citizens and create a skilled workforce.

The EMU Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation that increases private support and manages endowment assets for the benefit of Eastern Michigan University, a four-year, comprehensive metropolitan university committed to the needs of its students and communities through teaching, research and service.

Verizon Communications , formed by a merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States.