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UHV education dean reviews grants for U.S. Department of Education

Aug. 25, 2012 at 3:25 a.m.

When Fred Litton took over as dean of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Education and Human Development this summer, he brought a wealth of experience in teaching, research and leadership to the university.

When Fred Litton took over as dean of the University of Houston-Victoria School of Education and Human Development this summer, he brought a wealth of experience in teaching, research and leadership to the university.

He also brought with him an out-of-the-ordinary side venture - reviewing federal special education grants and evaluating how they are used. For the past two decades, Litton has served as a grant reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education.

Because of his expertise in special education, Litton was asked to evaluate the quality of grant applications from universities across the country.

"Performing the reviews helps me keep current with what's going on nationally in special education," Litton said. "It can be a bit time-consuming, but it has helped me stay connected with the Department of Education and national trends."

Because of a potential conflict of interest, Litton is not allowed to review grants applied for by UHV or any other nearby university. But there are some advantages to knowing how universities in New York, California and other places write grants and train personnel, Litton said. He has gained insight into best practices which, in turn, has strengthened his own grant writing.

"It's valuable to see what other universities are doing," Litton said.

Litton took over as dean on July 1, replacing interim dean Diane Prince, a professor in the School of Education & Human Development.

Prior to arriving at UHV, Litton had worked at Louisiana State University at Alexandria, since 2004, first as founding dean of the College of Professional Studies and then as a professor of special education. Before that, he served as dean of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville College of Education and interim dean of the University of Central Arkansas College of Education. He earlier rose through the academic ranks at the University of New Orleans, serving as chair of the Department of Special Education and associate dean of the graduate school.

In his first six weeks at UHV, Litton has met with all of the education faculty members to learn more about their interests and thoughts about the future of the school.

"UHV has a tremendous upside, and I am pleased to be here," Litton said.

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