DENTON (UNT), Texas - UNT's Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions recently received
a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development/Mexico and Higher Education for Development to
bring its master of science degree program in rehabilitation counseling to Mexico, in partnership with the
Autonomous University of Guadalajara.
UNT was one of 10 universities in the United States to receive a USAID/Mexico grant under the Phase II Cycle II of the U.S.-Mexico Training, Internships, Exchanges and Scholarships initiative. TIES is a partnership between USAID's office in Mexico and HED, an organization that promotes higher education's engagement in social and economic development. HED assists higher education agencies in developing partnerships with USAID and other development agencies, donor organizations and foundations. USAID has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years.
With the $300,000 grant, which will provide $100,000 annually for three years, UNT faculty members will go to the Autonomous University of Guadalajara to teach courses for the master's program in rehabilitation counseling, beginning in the spring 2007 semester.
In addition, the funding will bring some students at Guadalajara to UNT to take courses in the program, and the students will also be able to take the courses long distance once the university is added to the Consortium for Distance Education in Rehabilitation. The Department of Rehabilitation Studies, Social Work and Addictions began the consortium with a federally funded grant. Consisting of San Diego State University and Georgia State University as well as UNT, it provides a way for students to complete the master's program in rehabilitation counseling via the Internet.
The two-year master's program requires a minimum of 48 semester hours, including 36 hours in the core curriculum, three hours of electives and nine hours of practicum and internship. The core courses focus on counseling those with disabilities, medical and psychosocial aspects of disability, employment and career development for those with disabilities, and case management and rehabilitation services, among other topics.
Dr. Paul Leung, chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation, Social Work and Addictions, said that although Mexico has legislation similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the nation lacks many of the resources that the U.S. has to assist those with disabilities in acquiring employment and education and being productive in the workforce.
In Mexico, he said, "people with disabilities are often not seen as capable" of working.
"They're often protected by their families and their disabilities are seen as something to be hidden," he said. "The disabilities are also often seen as a result of something the parents did, even when having a disability is caused by a totally random event."
Programs in Mexico that cater to people with disabilities usually don't require a master's degree, so the rehabilitation studies faculty will spend the fall 2006 semester recruiting students for the master's program that will be taught in Guadalajara, Leung said. The program at UNT has 60 to 75 students every semester, and 15 to 20 new students are admitted each year.
UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108
Contact: Nancy Kolsti (940) 565-3509