Dr. Donald J. Leu Jr.

comes to the University of Connecticut

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."



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