University receives grant to lead national research center

by Erin Ghere

The working environment of the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education could be uneasy until Jan. 1.
After receiving an $11 million grant Tuesday, the University will take the reins of the center from the University of California-Berkeley, but not until after the first of the year.
To win the U.S. Education Department grant, University officials, along with researchers from four other universities, broke off from the Berkeley-led group.
The smaller consortium — which also includes Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana and Oregon State University — now has control of two centers. The National Dissemination Center for Career and Technical Education will be housed at Ohio State.
Together, with the $11 million gratn, the centers will conduct research and disperse results to technical and career educators.
The center’s administrative offices will be housed in the St. Paul campus’ vocational- and technical-education building beginning in January, according to the center’s brochure. Research will take place all over the country.
Major research themes will include educational accountability, education technology, mainstream integration, professional development and employment skills, said James Stone, who will become the center’s deputy director beginning Jan. 1.
A federal law established the center 30 years ago, Stone said. It was originally housed at Ohio State University. In the late 1980s, the center moved to Berkeley and was governed by a consortium of colleges, including the University.
Universities re-bid on control over the center, and the grant that accompanies it, every five years.
“We wanted to run (the center) differently,” Stone said. “The center was doing excellent research, but it wasn’t speaking to the day-to-day needs of practitioners.”
All of the new consortium’s researchers are technical educators, so they know what research would benefit other educators, Stone said. Land-grant universities have a history of vocational and technical education.
U.S. News & World Report has rated four of the five partners, including the University, among the top five schools for career and technical education in recent years.
“We hope to refocus on problems of professional practice,” he said.

Erin Ghere welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3217.