Foundation provides UHCL scholarships for future child educators

September 30, 2019 | UHCL Staff

Foundation provides UHCL scholarships for future child educators

The Samuels Family Foundation has given University of Houston-Clear Lake's Early Childhood Education program, in the College of Education, a $400,000 grant to offer scholarships to graduate and undergraduate students seeking the education and credentials to become child care center directors. The grant will release $100,000 a year for four years.

"Bobbi Samuels, a UH-Clear Lake associate professor emerita of reading and language arts, whose family are Houston entrepreneurs and philanthropists and established the grant, asked the Early Childhood faculty at UHCL to establish a program that would support the development of early childhood leaders," said Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education Amber Brown. "The grant will support scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students interested in early childhood leadership to complete their early childhood degrees at UHCL. In addition, the grant will provide funds for select students to participate in the Texas Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH) program."

Brown said that the Early Childhood Education program will partner with the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University. "This is exciting for students because through this partnership, students can complete the Aim4Excellance modules McCormick offers and earn their National Director Credential while completing the UHCL Early Childhood Leadership Certificate." she said. "McCormick has a national reputation and other universities use their modules as well. By completing their modules, students can get course credit and their credential to be a child care director."

She added that they were sending information about the scholarship to child care centers and community colleges in the Houston area, hoping to recruit new students and encourage them to stay. "Child care directors' salaries are often the same as public school classroom teachers'. And we're also hoping this will encourage master's level students to join the profession and come here," she said.

Additionally, Brown said, $8,000 a year will be earmarked for support for current child care directors. "They're required to complete 25 hours of professional education development a year," she said. "It's hard to find director-specific professional development classes, and we're hoping these funds will allow us to offer those classes as well as provide support for local child care directors."

She said they would conduct a needs assessment at the Gulf Coast Chapter of Texas Association for Early Childhood Educators Infant-Toddler Conference in November to find out what directors would find helpful. "Our vision for the money is to create a support group for directors in the field," she said.
The availability of the scholarship funds and the partnership with the McCormick Center make undergraduate students seeking a degree in early childhood education more marketable, Brown said.

"The UHCL Early Childhood Leadership Certificate fills the critical need for credentialed, well-trained child care directors in the industry and for high quality leadership in the field of early childhood education. UHCL is the place where early childhood leaders are coming from," she said.

Find out more about UHCL's Early Childhood Education program online.