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ODU to Participate in Collaborative Initiative to Train Doctoral Students in Adapted Physical Education

By Isaiah Wright

Universities across the nation have a limited number of faculty who specialize in adapted physical education. Justin Haegele, assistant professor of human movement sciences at Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education and Professional Studies, is confident a new training program can change that.

Haegele is part of a team that was awarded a $6.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to train doctoral students in adapted physical education. The Darden College of Education has received $840,000 to support the initiative.

Adapted PE is physical education adapted for persons with disabilities. The field straddles special education and physical education.

Eight other universities are involved in the grant, including East Carolina, Georgia State, West Virginia, Texas Women's, Ohio State, Virginia, Oregon State and Delaware.

"We are creating a consortium across nine universities that are each going to train doctoral students in adapted physical activity together," Haegele said. "We are going to have group activities such as biweekly online meetings, a summer institute and an exchange program that are all built collaboratively so that we can train students together."

In addition to regular coursework students will receive at their universities, they will participate in an enrichment online program that will include meetings with national experts in the field. During the summer, students will gather to discuss research and practice in adapted physical education. The optional exchange program will allow students to attend other universities.

The grant will fund the enhanced training and education for 28 doctoral students as well as the development of the program.

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