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January 21, 1999

Child Development office gets $1 million in grants

Pitt's Office of Child Development (OCD) has been awarded grants totaling $1 million from the Howard Heinz Endowments and the Richard K. Mellon Foundation. The grants will supplement OCD's basic operations and coordinate a new interdisciplinary graduate program.

OCD facilitates, coordinates and manages interdisciplinary and University-community projects in education, research, human services, policy, needs assessment and program evaluation. The office is part of the University Center for Social and Urban Research.

About $400,000 of the Howard Heinz Endowments grant is earmarked for a training program to supplement degree curricula for graduate students in education, public and international affairs, public health, psychology, and social work as well as other disciplines concerned with children, youth and families.

"Funders and policy makers now routinely require systematic monitoring and evaluation of educational and human services programs," said OCD co-director Robert B. McCall. "But there is a shortage of specialists in program evaluation and professionals who hold other administrative policy positions who can conduct or supervise these required evaluations. This program is intended to train people to fulfill this need." The program will be directed by Hidenori Yamatani of social work, working with a faculty-community professional advisory board chaired by William Bickel, education.

According to Yamatani, "These courses will be supplemented by intensive workshops on specific programs, policies and issues." The grant also will fund internship training and independent study for four fellows working with faculty and professionals engaged in evaluation and policy, Yamatani said.

Bickel said the first fellows will begin this fall. "This program will complement the traditional training students receive in their home disciplines with additional interdisciplinary course work plus an intensely applied and community-based apprenticeship," Bickel said.

A grant of $300,000 from the Richard K. Mellon Foundation coupled with $300,000 of the Howard Heinz Endowments grant will fund OCD's sustainability plan and underwrite its basic operations for the next three years.

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