SCSD's Woods and COE's Hanline awarded $1.2 million grant to train early educators of special-needs kids

Mary Frances Hanline, left, and Juliann Woods
Dr. Mary Frances Hanline, left, of the College of Education and Dr. Juliann Woods, right, of CCI's School of Communication Science & Disorders

For the increasing number of “high-risk” families in Florida facing the complex challenges of infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays, additional help is on the way.

Two Florida State University professors have received a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to train more educators in specialized early intervention and support.

“We are grateful that the U.S. Department of Education has once again recognized Florida State University’s extraordinary expertise and impact in educational policy and research,” President Eric J. Barron said.

The grant to Mary Frances Hanline, a professor of early childhood special education in the College of Education, and Juliann Woods, a professor in the School of Communication Science & Disorders, will support their Personnel Preparation in Early Intervention and Education Project. The five-year project aims to improve the quality and increase the number of personnel who are fully credentialed to serve children with disabilities from birth to age 5.

The new grant will enable Hanline and Woods to provide online courses to practicing early-intervention professionals throughout the state.

And for Florida State students preparing for careers in special education and early childhood education, the grant will mean enhanced opportunities for training in early intervention.

“Dr. Woods and I will be expanding the content of existing academic coursework and of field-based experiences, which will take place in programs providing services to ‘high-need’ families who need specialized intervention and support,” said Hanline, the Personnel Preparation in Early Intervention and Education Project principal investigator.

Among the project’s goals: Work with a total of 71 students over the next five years to produce 22 speech pathologists, 27 early-childhood special educators and 22 interdisciplinary pre-service professionals.

For more information on the grant, contact Amber Smalley of the College of Education at (850) 228-5943 or

Listen to the FSU Headlines radio news story about the grant and the research it is funding.