The information below is reprinted from the Neag
School of Education's Fall 2000 Spotlight
which features news and events.
In 1999, Donald J. Leu, an education professor at Syracuse
University and a nationally prominent specialist in reading and Internet
technologies, was hired to become the John and Maria Neag Chair in Literacy
and Technology. The chair was made possible by the $21 million gift
from UConn alumnus Ray Neag and is named in memory of his parents.
Leu was impressed by his first visit to UConn. "I
flourish in positive environments," he says. "And I sensed
tremendous enthusiasm and a commitment to providing support to schools
in this country. There is an incredible array of talent at the Neag
School of Education and with each new colleague I meet, the more excited
I am at being here."
Leu, who holds a joint appointment in the departments
of curriculum and instruction and educational psychology, has hit the
ground running. He has just received a $5.5 million grant from the National
Science Foundation for a five-year, large-scale project which will be
a collaboration between UConn, Vanderbilt University, the University
of Georgia and the University of Illinois.
The project's main goal is to significantly raise the
reading ability of young children by improving teacher education. Leu
and his fellow researchers hope to achieve this by developing and studying
the use of multimedia cases of teachers using best practices in literacy
instruction. The cases will be delivered with streaming video over the
Internet and used in pre-service education programs at over 100 universities
around the country.
"Instead of diminishing the need for traditional
reading and writing skills, these become even more important with the
Internet," he says. "As the John and Maria Neag Chair in Literacy
and Technology, it is my hope to provide the leadership needed to better
prepare our teachers for the profound changes taking place."