Photo of Dr. Sharon Vaughn, Meadows Center Executive Director
The University of Texas at Austin is pleased to announce that The Meadows Foundation recently fulfilled its $4 million commitment to The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) at the College of Education by awarding the center $2 million this winter, nearly a year ahead of schedule.
The Meadows Foundation funds Texas arts and culture, civic and public affairs, education, health, and human services, with special emphasis on three high-priority initiatives: education, the environment, and mental health. The foundation began funding Sharon Vaughn, Ph.D.’s research to practice work related to improving reading more than 15 years ago and have extended their funding to developing a new center, The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, with a $1.5 million gift over five years and another $4 million for naming of the center, with Vaughn as the center’s executive director. Vaughn also is the Manuel J. Justiz Endowed Chair in Education, and director of The Vaughn Gross Reading Center at the University of Texas.
The additional funding from The Meadows Foundation facilitates the mission of The MCPER to improve academic outcomes and reduce dropout rates for students at risk of academic failure. The foundation’s gifts help sustain and strengthen the center as a critical resource for educators and policy makers throughout Texas. The funding supports the dissemination of research and provides endowment funds to support the research in perpetuity.
“I am grateful to The Meadows Foundation for its longtime, generous support of The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk in the College of Education,” said Vaughn. “The foundation’s most recent gift will make a deep and lasting contribution to our work. I so value my relationship with The Meadows Foundation and appreciate its extraordinary impact in the community and the high regard with which it is perceived. I strive to enhance that positive view with the work we are doing.”
“The Meadows Foundation has been pleased to support the ground-breaking education research of Dr. Vaughn over many years,” said Bruce Esterline, senior vice president for strategic initiatives and grants. “Under Dr. Vaughn’s leadership, The Meadows Center has produced research that advances the education goals of our foundation. We are honored to associate our name and our support for the center and to further its efforts to improve outcomes for all learners.”
The new funds support 14 initiatives, including building capacity for response to intervention, preventing dropout among at-risk youth, the Texas Literacy Initiative, statewide professional development center and writing instruction support for secondary English/Language Arts teachers, developing connections between word problems and mathematical equations to promote word-problem performance among students with mathematics difficulty. Other initiatives include the Middle School Matters Institute, the National Consortium on Leadership in Intensive Intervention, and the Learning Disabilities Research Center.
The center continues to pursue its work through eight institutes that support ongoing research and the development of tools and interventions to support educators. Its website and other social media continue to have direct influence on education across Texas and the nation, with more than 3,000,000 downloads and contacts every year.
Said Dean of the College of Education Manuel Justiz, “The College of Education is fortunate to be home to The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk and is proud of the work conducted by Dr. Vaughn and her team. Their research positively influences the educational outcomes of students not only in Texas, but also across the United States.”
Publications and resources are available and accessible via the www.meadowscenter.org.