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By Carol Olechowski

UAlbany Assistant Professor of Educational and Counseling Psychology Bruce Saddler has received a prestigious $225,000 grant to support a three-year study of approaches designed to improve the writing of both learning-disabled and non-disabled elementary school students.

The U.S. Department of Education Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Initial Career Award, presented each year to only four individuals in the United States, supports researchers in the early stages of their careers. It will enable Saddler, who has experience teaching elementary and middle school students with learning and emotional disabilities, to embark on a study of children as they progress from second through fourth grades. Some of the youngsters will receive instruction in sentence construction; a matched control group will be given instruction in grammar. Both groups, Saddler explained, “will have peer-assisted components wherein two writers will work together to complete exercises and write stories.” The study began in January; “we are halfway through data collection for this year,” Saddler said.

For the research project, Saddler has hired four UAlbany graduate students to teach the curricula to about 200 second-graders in the Albany and Mohonasen school districts — a mix of urban and suburban/rural districts. Each of the schools has “a fairly diverse student population in terms of race, disabilities, and income,” noted Saddler, who will analyze writing samples submitted by the students before, during, and after the study to measure the impact of the instruction on their writing ability.

The results of the study “will be used to instruct classroom teachers in remediating writing disabilities,” Saddler said. “I will use the findings in my courses, but, in addition, this research will provide important information for researchers in an area of writing where there have been few studies conducted — sentence construction. Finally, since this is a three-year study, it is the first to investigate the long-term effects of writing instruction on a group of writers. I will present the findings at a national conference and plan several research articles based upon them.

“At the conclusion of the grant, I in-tend to pursue this research on a larger scale by expanding the grades and numbers of students involved and the participating school districts.”

Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus of English Eugene K. Garber has written a new book of short stories, Beasts in Their Wisdom (The Snail’s Pace Press, Cambridge, N.Y.) Garber will give a reading of his new work at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 29, in Campus Center 375 on the uptown campus. His reading is a part of the New York State Writers Institute Spring Visiting Writers Series.

Assistant Professor Igor K. Lednev of the Department of Chemistry has won a Research Innovation Award in the amount of $35,000 in support of his project Structural rearrangement of human S100A12 protein on metal ion binding: Real time kinetic studies. The award is from the Research Corporation of Tucson, Ariz., which seeks to encourage innovation by supporting proposals with plans that offer promise for significant discoveries.

Thomas Gebhardt, director of Personal Safety and Off-Campus Affairs was a panelist at an audioconference “On the Edge — The Dynamics of Town/ Gown Relationships in Higher Education.” Gebhardt is chair of the Committee on University and Community Relations. The audioconference was organized by Society for College and University Planning of Ann Arbor, Mich.

 
 
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