1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to secondary navigation
  3. Skip to content
  4. Skip to sidebar

Primary Navigation


6342-National Professional Development Grant Awarded to The University of Akron with Malone University and Stark County Schools partnering in the initiative

6342-May 21, 2012

Nancy Varian, Ph.D. director of the Center for Professional Development at Malone University announced The University of Akron has been awarded a National Professional Development Grant through the U.S. Department of Education. The $2 million grant, Project ACHIEVE, will strengthen the knowledge base of teachers of English Language Learners (ELL) and pre-service teachers through professional development and support. Malone University and Stark County school districts are among northeast Ohio schools that will benefit from the initiative. Malone University collaborated with the University of Akron in developing the grant proposal. Dr. Varian will serve as a co-chair of the advisory board and work closely with the project investigators to develop the online ELL modules.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for our Stark County teachers and Malone's pre-service teacher candidates. Having additional training and support through Project ACHIEVE for our teachers will make in impact for our ELL students' educational progress and academic success." says Dr. Varian.

The $2 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education will be used to improve the quality of instruction that teachers provide to K-12 English language learners (ELL) in Northeast Ohio.  The department plans to partner with Akron Public Schools, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Lakewood City Schools, Parma City School District, Youngstown City Schools, Stark County Schools, Malone University, The University of Akron, and Kent State University on the project.

The research-based grant, Project ACHIEVE, will focus on increasing the proficiency of general and special education teachers, particularly those specializing in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), who work with ELL students so as to accelerate the academic language and content knowledge of these students as measured by the Ohio Achievement Assessments (OAA) and other assessments.

Specific goals include:

Increase the number of in-service teachers who complete the TESOL EndorsementIncrease the effectiveness of STEM, special education, and general education teachers who work with ELLsIncrease the academic performance of ELLs in participating districtsImprove system support for the professional development of teachers who serve ELLs.

Lynn Smolen, principal investigator and professor of education; Wei Zhang, co-principal investigator and assistant professor of English; and Shernavaz Vakil, co-principal investigator and professor of education, collaborated to make this interdisciplinary grant a reality.

Malone University, a Christian university for the arts, sciences, and professions in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 100 academic programs. Malone is recognized by the prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development, named an NAIA Champions of Character Five Star Award winner, and is ranked among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest under the category Regional Universities according to U.S.News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2012.


Suzanne Thomas, APR
Director of University Relations
Malone University
2600 Cleveland Avenue N.W., Canton, OH, 44709
Phone: 330-471-8239
Cell: 330-324-2424

Categories: academics