FIU - Education , Florida International University

Facebook Twitter Flickr Youtube

Research and Grants

Our vision is to assist faculty, staff, and students obtain and administer sources of support for the conduct of mission-related research within the College of Education, to help shape both the research and academic programs within the college to support the pursuit of new knowledge, and to foster a research culture.

Currently Funded Projects

Principal Investigator: Dr. Patricia Barbetta

Co-investigator: Dr. Linda Spears-Bunton

Funding Amount: $81,417.00

Funding Source: FIU Technology Fee Grant

Project Period: 2011-2014

Purpose: Provide opportunities for education majors (future and current teachers) to learn from instruction using mobile learning devices (iPads specifically).  The iPad can be used for dynamic presentations of course content with the added benefit of interactivity and it can serve as an active student response system. The Ipad is also useful for active, small-group and/or individualized instruction and learning with access to a multitude of learning tools and information. This grant is important for FIU cause the international society of technology in education states that teacher who effectively integrate technology demonstrate the relevance of 21st century education, and keep more students engaged to graduate, and to be a highly effective teachers, teachers must be able to use modern information tools, digital content and assessment strategies. Up to a potential 1000 Education majors will benefit in a multitude of ways, they will expand their abilities to teach with technology thus improving their teaching outcomes. In addition, this fee will have a positive impact on COE majors because it will have them learning and prepare them to use this technology in their teaching with a variety of students across varied curricular areas.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Patricia Barbetta

Co-investigator: Dr. Melanie Morales

Graduate Assistant: Cigdem Catmali ZEB 249A/B, 305-348-6149,

Funding Amount: $325,000.00

Funding Source: FL Department of Education

Project Period: 10/01/2012 to 09/30/2014

Purpose: The purpose of the ESE Tuition Support Program is to increase the State’s capacity to prepare and retain highly qualified personnel to provide instructional and related services to students with disabilities.  The initiatives for this project include the provisions of financial support to prepare teachers of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), with Severe and Profound Disabilities, and those of prekindergarten students with disabilities. The project will provide tuition support for ESE teachers to an autism, severe/profound, and prekindergarten disabilities endorsement through the Tuition Support Program. These statewide programs will provide tuition support to teachers who currently hold a certificate in ESE and who meet either the SBE Rule 6A-4.01796 for Specialization for the Endorsement in Autism, the SBE Rule 6A-4.01790 for Specialization for Endorsement in Severe or Profound Disabilities, or the SBE Rule 6A-4.01792 for Specialization for the Prekindergarten Disabilities Endorsement.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Linda Blanton

Co-investigator: Dr. Elizabeth Cramer, Dr. Diana Valle-Riestra

Grant Assistant: Reina Parrish

Funding Amount: $1,131,175.00

Funding Source: US Department of Education

Project Period: 1/1/2011 to 12/31/2014

Purpose: Florida International University (FIU), uniquely situated in Miami-Dade County, Florida, proposes Project EDUCATE to respond to a critical need to prepare doctoral level special education leaders to meet the demands of high need communities and students.  The project will recruit a diverse cohort of doctoral students, including those who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) and those who have disabilities, from the local community, the state, and nationally.  Students may choose to focus their program on one of two roles:  higher education teacher education (HETE) or community agency leadership/advocacy (CALA).  Retention strategies will include full tuition support and stipends, faculty mentors, and ongoing engagement in cohort activities.  Connections will continue past the life of the grant to support graduates in assuming roles as teachers and researchers in higher education and in direct service to high need children and families to positively impact change in the lives of children with disabilities.  
These emerging leaders will bring and acquire the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that enable them to address the needs of CLD learners with disabilities and their families in terms of ethnic/racial, language, values/beliefs, and interpretations of disability. EDUCATE offers a unique graduate curriculum focused on collaboration among an interdisciplinary faculty, urban community partners, and CLD families to meet the needs of students who have disabilities in inclusive environments.  The cohort-based, interdisciplinary program will be composed of professional studies, a core of special education advanced courses, a cognate focused on CLD learners and urban settings, and a strong emphasis on research.  Courses will include activities and projects that lend themselves to supporting students in the roles they plan to assume upon graduation from the program.  Further, the program will offer academic year and summer internships that engage doctoral candidates in working in role-related settings. 
While both groups will have experiences in community agencies and with families, the HETE group will focus their research and teacher education experiences with faculty on evidence-based practices for students who have mild disabilities and who spend the majority of their school experiences in general education classrooms.  The CALA group will focus their research and community-based experiences on students who have mild disabilities and work with agencies such Parent-to-Parent of Miami, Inc. where doctoral candidates can work on projects related to research and evaluation, family advocacy, parent trainings, project development, and fundraising. 


Principal Investigator: Dr. Lenoard Bliss

Research Assistant: Fabiana Bornmann ZEB 237B - 305-348-2611

Student Assistant: Akil Shabazz ZEB 237B - 305-348-2611

Funding Amount: $448,153.24

Funding Source: National Science Foundation

Project Period: 8/15/2011 to 7/31/2014

Purpose: Howard University (HU) and Florida International University (FIU), have developed a partnership with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCAT) and University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM) to conduct emerging research in a large, empirical, collaborative research study focused on Black and Hispanic engineering undergraduates recognizing that one of the keys to increasing the numbers of minority engineers—a compelling national concern—is an understanding of the pathways that they travel and the identity that they acquire on their way to becoming an engineer. This three year study is divided into three major areas of examination: the study of persistence, identity, and pathways in undergraduate engineering education for underrepresented minority students matriculating at a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) where they are the majority. Although there are several documented studies that examine the persistence and pathways of underrepresented students, most of these investigations have been conducted at predominantly white institutions (PWIs) and the findings have been generalized, perhaps inappropriately, to the larger minority engineering student population.
The importance of this study lies in increasing the body of knowledge of the factors that are related to greater persistence for underrepresented minorities studying engineering at a MSI.  The study is being conducted by a collaborative interdisciplinary research team of engineers and educational researchers. In the past, members of this team have overseen a mixed method longitudinal study in engineering education and STEM education, both funded by NSF. Preliminary findings from those studies sparked the interest in studying these important issues on a diverse population. Using a triangulation mixed method research design, while focusing exclusively on Black and Hispanic engineering students, this longitudinal study will (a) identify the factors that relate to persistence; (b) examine the role that culture, ethnicity and/or gender plays on their educational pathways and identity; and (c) explore the factors that relate to their post-baccalaureate plans. Surveys are being used to gather quantitative data and interviews (semi-structured and focus groups) are being the source of the qualitative data. The quantitative and qualitative data is being collected and analyzed separately. Interpretation of the results will be corroborated at the end of each study year for congruence. This work will build on the literature in the fields of engineering, engineering education, education and cultural studies.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Brewe

Co-investigator: Dr. Laird Kramer; Dr. Renee Goertzen

Funding Amount: $ 200,000.00

Funding Source: National Science Foundation

Project Period:
7/15/2012 to 6/30/2015

Purpose:  This is a Phase 1 project that will develop a comprehensive set of learning materials to implement Modeling Instruction in introductory university mechanics. Modeling Instruction is a unique approach to introductory physics in that it employs a model-centered curriculum that explicitly engages students in a cyclic process of creating models of physical phenomena rather than iterations of quantitative problem solving.  The goals of this grant are to adapt and develop (1) student learning materials, (2) in-class activity guide, and (3) video training materials.


Principal Investigator: Dr Delia C. Garcia

Coordinator: Fabiola Hernandez

Director OAWPS: Tonnette Rocco

Funding Amount: $2,726,707.00

Funding Source: US Department of Education

Project Period: 10/1/2009 to 9/30/2015


The Creating Latino Access to a Valuable Education (CLAVE) project in the College of Education was designed to expand post-baccalaureate opportunities for Hispanic Americans by enhancing graduate student support services, providing faculty professional development activities and by building infrastructure to increase instructional effectiveness. The five-year $2.8 million grant was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, under the Title V, Promoting Post Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans program.                         
The project goals include:

  • Create greater access for Hispanic-Americans to post-baccalaureate degrees through the provision of supportive mechanisms such as mentoring, tutoring and workshops.
  • Increase the academic writing skills and publication rate of graduate students through the newly created Office of Academic Writing and Publication Support.
  • Increase the number of graduate degrees being awarded to Hispanic teachers and administrators from the Miami Dade County Public Schools through the provision of scholarships and employee reimbursement program.
  • Increase professional development opportunities for FIU faculty to enhance their effectiveness as instructors, advisors and mentors.
  • Enhance the instructional facilities at the College of Education with new technology to better prepare students to use the latest tools available.
  • Measure and assess student success in terms of graduation and effectiveness as teachers and administrators.

CLAVE is a collaboration between Florida International University (FIU), a Hispanic –serving institution and Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), the fourth largest school district in the nation.

Please click here to download the Faculty Travel Application (PDF).


Principal Investigator: Gail Gregg

Program Assistant: Smilling Y. Rodriguez

Research Program Coordinator: Evelyn Borrell

Student Assistant: Christian Barbera, Carlos Marin

Funding Amount: $261,838.00

Funding Source: Early Learning Coalition of Miami Dade and Monroe

Project Period: 07/01/2013 to 06/30/2014

Purpose: The Data Management Services project will continue to provide accurate and quantifiable screening and assessment information/analysis to the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe.  Project houses and maintains a web-site to collect, store and aggregate information from the Ages and Stages Screening Questionnaire (ASQ) which is administered to every subsidized child enrolling in a childcare facility in Miami-Dade County.  It also provides the statistical analysis for the LAP-D assessments that is administered to 450 subsidized children currently enrolled in childcare centers in Miami-Dade County and by virtue of a stratified random sampling attempts to answer several research questions relative to early learning in Miami-Dade County.


Principal Investigator: Gail Gregg

Program Assistant: Smilling Y. Rodriguez

Assistant Director Educ./Train. Program: Alison Gonzalez

Coordinator Educ/Train. Program: Gloria E. Betancourt Gomez, Jamileth D. Jarquin, Elizabeth C. Deulofeut, Corina Febres Cordero, Maria L. Lopez, Jennifer Cao, Beatriz Vinson, Guzide Aygun Yeakey, Kenia y. Najera, Marcella Corrales

Student Assistant: Vania Gonzalez

Funding Amount: $850,000.00

Funding Source: Quality Counts is a quality rating and improvement system designed and funded by The Children's Trust in partnership with the Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe

Project Period:07/01/2013 to 06/30/2014

Purpose: This project will provide technical assistance and accreditation support to early care and educational centers south of Flagler Street to the Monroe County line. The project reviews early learning programs according to clearly defined, high quality standards using a five star method of evaluation and offers supports and incentives to help providers reach their goals.


Principal Investigator: Thomas Reio

Program Assistant: Chaundra Whitehead

Funding Amount: $ 165,000.00

Funding Source:: Big Brother Big Sisters

Project Period: 4/2/2012 to 6/30/2014

Purpose: The Florida Department of Education, recognizing the value of community engaged services on student performance, has allocated funds to Big Brother Big Sisters on Greater Miami in the form of a performance based grant to support a unique community compact program, for which Florida International University (Dr. Thomas G. Reio, Jr.) will serve as the external evaluating agent. The Booker T. Washington Senior High School Feeder Pattern Community Compact Program managed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami and partners is a performance based grant funded project designed to benefit the parents and students attending the six schools in the feeder pattern for Booker T. Washington High School in Miami-Dade County, as well as the high school itself.

The Community Compact intends to do this by promoting and increasing partnerships between schools, families and communities participating in the Community Compact, as a result:

  1. Family literacy programs will be enhanced
  2. Parent academies that develop parent leaders will expand
  3. There will be an increase of volunteers, mentors, and student internships through engaging with the business community.
  4. Students who exhibit patterns of non-attendance will increase school attendance.

The goal of this empirical research is to gain knowledge by observing the Compact programs and reviewing documents provided by the Compact partners in an effort to provide an external evaluation of the program’s effectiveness with participants, assess the Compact outcomes and examine the programs ability to meet set milestones.

The goals of this research project are to provide comprehensive external evaluation by examining and assessing measurements and metrics predetermined by the funder, along with examining the following questions:

  1. To what extent does the grant funded Community Compact project use partnerships to meet the needs of the community?
  2. What are the participant’s thoughts, attitudes and beliefs about participation in the Community Compact sponsored programs?
  3. Are the criteria and standards specified by the various partners and programs consistent with and appropriate for achieving the goals and expectations of the Community Compact project?
  4. Is the Community Compact producing the intended benefits and what was the overall impact on the population?


Principal Investigator: Diana Valle-Riestra

Funding Amount: $799,854.00

Funding Source: US Department of Education

Project Period: 8/1/2009 to 07/31/2014

Purpose: This project will prepare 43 individuals over 4 years to serve young children with disabilities, their families, and communities in natural, inclusive, and diverse environments. There is a great need to provide this type of personnel preparation program because of the critical shortages of special education teachers.


Principal Investigator: Diana Valle-Riestra

Grant Assistants: Mandy Giust, Anthony x6149

Funding Amount: $14,844.41

Funding Source: The Florida Consortium on Postsecondary Education (USF)

Project Period: 8/15/2012 to 8/14/2014

Purpose: Florida International University (FIU) in continuing partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) and Parent to Parent of Miami, Inc. proposes to continue to implement and expand a postsecondary transition program for students with intellectual disabilities (ID) entitled Project Panther LIFE: Panther Learning Is For Everyone. Project Panther LIFE will prepare ten (10) students with ID to complete a well-planned, structured, and individualized curriculum and a system of supports through partnerships that will result in a certificate. The need to provide this type of postsecondary transition program is twofold. The first is to ensure that high school students with disabilities have access to and can fully transition and participate in postsecondary education and related experiences and activities, and secondly, achieve meaningful employment following program completion.

The need for knowledge attainment and skill development through two-year and four-year colleges and universities, as well as public and private vocational training programs, has intensified for both students with and without disabilities. Attainment of a postsecondary education credential creates opportunities in the labor market for individuals with and without disabilities, including higher earnings, better benefits, and more systematic opportunities for career advancement. Yet, students with disabilities are still not accessing and fully participating in postsecondary education compared to their non-disabled peers.

The principle objectives of Project Panther LIFE in Year 2 will include: (1) The recruitment, preparation, and retention of ten (10) students with ID that meet project eligibility criteria; (2) Initial and ongoing advising, academic mentoring, peer coaching support, and job coaching; (3) The development of self-determination and advocacy skills for students and families enrolled in the program; (4) The development and generalization of independent living skills in the community; (5) The ongoing evaluation of the program leading to revisions and modifications in program development and expansion, functioning, implementation, and requirements; (6) The successful completion of students with ID from the program; and (7) The successful and paid employability of students with ID from the program.

An array of supports will be provided to students who qualify and enroll in Project Panther LIFE to ensure successful completion of the program and potential for paid employability. Supports will include: (1) transition support, ongoing academic advising, and instructional programming from M-DCPS project coordinator and university faculty advisors; (2) ongoing and consistent academic mentoring from a trained mentor during the academic year (fall and spring); (3) ongoing and consistent peer coaching from a trained coach during the academic year (fall and spring); (4) job coaching, support, and supervision during job shadowing experiences and employment internships; (5) additional student supports through the College of Education, University’s Department of Psychological and Counseling Services and the Division of Human Resources through individualized and hands-on technology trainings and workshops (e.g., stress management, study skills strategies, customer service); and (6) access and participation in University activities and events (e.g., clubs/organizations, sporting events) facilitated by peer coaches and project personnel.

This certificate, non-degree program of study will allow students to access and participate in a variety of University courses, varied job shadowing opportunities throughout campus, a 2-semester supervised employment internship experience, and other required program and community activities (e.g., online academic curriculum, transition curricula, family/student seminars and networking, Best Buddies, Special Olympics) through a system of supports from academic mentors, peer coaches, faculty, and project personnel.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Elizabeth Cramer

Co-investigator: Christina Crocco x6149

Grant Assistant: Dr. Elizabeth Cramer

Funding Amount: $499,990.00

Funding Source: US Department of Education

Project Period: 08/17/2012 to 08/16/2017

Purpose: This grant plans to improve the education of K-12 students with autism spectrum disorder by providing coursework leading to an endorsement for special education teachers to teach students with ASD. This project will recruit, educate, and fully fund, and retain special educators highly qualified to work and serve culturally and linguistically diverse students with ASD.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Brewe

Funding Amount: $141,187.38

Funding Source: Office of Naval Research

Project Period: 07/29/2011 to 09/30/2014

Purpose: This grant has the intent of decreasing the significantly high attrition rate during freshman and Sophomore years of college. The goal is to develop an integrated model for student retention in STEM that will result in a significant increase of students reaching their Upper Division status in STEM. This program plans to target students in engineering, computer science, and physics. With this grant the researchers are implementing a high school to college bridge program, renovating a classroom to accommodate more students for physics classes, and expanding the Learning Assistant program in order to reform introductory engineering and computing courses.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Eric Brewe

Funding Amount: $338,833.00

Funding Source: National Science Foundation

Project Period: 09/15/2013 to 03/31/2016

Purpose: This project will address questions of retention and persistence of physics students at a Hispanic Service Institution by integrating the use of network analysis techniques with qualitative education research approaches to investigate student communities. Project results will include network models that predict retention and persistence in formal and semi-formal learning environments as well as recommendations for educational units on supporting retention and persistence of Hispanic students in physics. Project outcomes will contribute to the broadening of participation by Hispanic students in physics. This project is being carried out in collaboration with the College of Arts and Sciences.


Principal Investigator: Dr. Mido Chang

Funding Amount: $56,434.00

Funding Source: Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University

Project Period: 01/01/2013 to 07/31/2014

Purpose: The GAMES initiative, awarded by the Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University, is a research project consisting of collecting research data, conducting data analyses and reports, presentation and dissemination from Virginia Floyd School Districts and Danville Schools on student's performance, engagement, and game engagement in 6-8 grade Math through the use of designed instruments.