The Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts (VGC) is dedicated to improving the educational outcomes of traditionally underrepresented student populations, such as English language learners and students with learning difficulties.
Formerly known as the Texas Center for Reading and Language Arts, the center was founded in 1996 with funding from the Texas Education Agency to support the Texas Student Success Initiative. In 2004, the center was renamed in recognition of 3 decades of contributions to Texas schools by educator, UT Austin alumna, and College of Education Foundation Advisory Council member Vaughn Gross.
While staying true to its promise to enhance the knowledge, skills, and practices of Texas educators in implementing the state’s reading and language arts curriculum standards, VGC has steadily diversified its resources. It now draws upon state, national, and private funding for a variety of projects, including the development of internationally recognized professional development products and resources. This diversity enables VGC to broaden its focus beyond Texas to bring the latest research to the neediest schools and classrooms in the United States and throughout the world.
In 2006, VGC research began to diversify even further—applying multitiered assessment and intervention structures developed in reading research efforts to research in mathematics instruction.
The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) was created in the spring of 2008 with a major commitment from the Meadows Foundation of Dallas. A research and training institute for teachers and school leaders, MCPER is dedicated to providing educators with the knowledge and tools to diagnose, intervene, and alter the trajectory of students who are at risk for educational failure. MCPER undertakes rigorous new research aimed at understanding the biological and environmental factors affecting at-risk students. It also translates science-based findings into real-world practice and promotes needed policy changes to create educational settings that foster success.
MCPER has assembled a unique group of colleagues from psychology, special education, sociology, and speech and language from both within and outside of the The University of Texas at Austin. Key focus areas are academic instructional practices, social environments, knowledge attainment, college and life preparation, and engagement of underrepresented youth.
VGC produces resources related to effective, research-based instruction for prekindergarten, primary, secondary, and special education students. Its professional development guides, videos, and booklets address a range of reading topics, including phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. These materials are housed in the MCPER library.