This item originally appeared in the April 29, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.
By RINDY METCALF
Dr. Jo Ann Dauzat, dean of the College of Education, was named Educator of the Year by the National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana on April 3 at its annual banquet.
Pam Allen, president of the NFB of Louisiana, said the federation is an organization committed to improving opportunities for blind people through advocacy and education.
"The philosophy of the NFB is that blindness does not have to be a debilitating tragedy," Allen said. "With proper training in the skills of blindness, opportunity and a positive attitude, blind people can compete on equal terms with their sighted peers."
Allen also said the NFB of Louisiana is one of the federation's largest and most active affiliates.
She said Dauzat has worked with the federation for the last 10 years to establish innovative programs for professionals working in the field of blindness.
"[Dauzat] has demonstrated a strong commitment to developing programs which have truly made a positive difference," Allen said.
Dauzat said it was a humbling experience to receive an award from her colleagues in recognition for the work she has done.
"It was certainly magnified by receiving an award from people who only see your work," Dauzat said.
Dauzat has been an advocate for special initiatives for the blind for 12 years and has worked in conjunction with the federation for almost as long.
Dauzat said, "We have established programs in the College of Education that are designed to promote full participation [of the blind] in all aspects of life."
Dauzat also said the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness has been in operation for three years, and it is a "fine example of a collaboration between an institution of higher learning and a center for the blind."
Two programs for educating the blind are available to graduates of education: a master's in education in teaching the blind and a master's in education psychology with a concentration in orientation and mobility.
Brooke Sexton, a graduate of education, was one of the first students to graduate from the program, which enables her to teach the blind.
Sexton is currently doing research for the Institute on Blindness.
Sexton said Dauzat has done a large amount of work with the institute and is supportive of the master's programs that have been established.
"She is supportive of the programs by making sure high quality teachers will be certified to teach blind students," Sexton said.
For information about the NFB of Louisiana, visit http://www.nfb.org.