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Gallagher receives Fulbright grant for Sri Lanka trip

College of Education & Human Development Professor Peggy Gallagher was awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant for a project focused on special education curriculum development.

Gallagher will spend three weeks in December working with the Department of Disability Studies at Sri Lanka’s University of Kelaniya to help create a graduate program for students interested in working with children with special needs.

She’ll have the opportunity to speak with local teachers, parents, students and experts in the field to better understand what challenges and needs Sri Lankan educators and families face when caring for and educating children with special needs and use that information in developing a post-graduate program that’s relevant to their culture.

“We’ll be creating a list of the courses students will need to take and outlines for the syllabi,” Gallagher said. “They really see a need for a special education teacher training program and they’d like to see more inclusion classes, where children with special needs are taught in the same classroom as other children.”

This is Gallagher’s second Fulbright award to travel to Sri Lanka. She met with several ministers of education and toured the country for six weeks as part of a Fulbright-Hays grant she received in 1984.

“I kept a journal while I was there and I still have it,” she said.

And she hopes this trip and the work she’ll be doing on special education curriculum development will foster future projects with the University of Kelaniya.

“I think this could be the beginning of a collaborative relationship with Kelaniya and Georgia State,” Gallagher said.

For more information about the Fulbright Specialist Program, visit http://www.cies.org/program/fulbright-specialist-program.