UF: Four Bits December 2014

University of Florida among those receiving $7 million to empower women farmers

The University of Florida is part of a consortium led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) that has been awarded $7 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase global food security and support effective rural development. The focus of the project is to empower women to increase agricultural productivity, thereby contributing to higher household incomes and improved nutrition.

The new project, “Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services,” (INGENAES) aims to strengthen gender and nutrition integration within and through agricultural extension and advisory services and ultimately reduce poverty, improve food security and reduce malnutrition.

UF receives $1 million to boost skills of Florida’s early learning educators

The Jim Moran Foundation has awarded a $1 million grant to the University of Florida College of Education to provide access to the latest teaching tools for the state’s 55,000 early learning educators.  The funding will boost the college’s transformational Early Learning Florida program, a first-of-its-kind online professional development system.


Built through community support, Early Learning Florida offers online and face-to-face instruction and continuing education with the latest course content, plus new certification programs for technical assistance coaches. State-funded stipends for early learning providers who successfully complete the course also are made available.


Technology pioneered by UF researcher provides improved access for disabled voters

A University of Florida researcher’s desire to provide citizens with disabilities the same opportunity to vote as everyone else could serve as the catalyst for revolutionizing voter access nationwide.  Juan Gilbert’s Prime III, an electronic voting machine a decade in the making, has debuted in primary elections in several states. Officials in New Hampshire were so impressed with Prime III’s performance that they plan to use it in additional precincts in the upcoming general election.


The uniqueness of Prime III lies in its ability to allow voters to cast ballots by tapping a touch screen or speaking into a microphone. Those who can’t articulate a candidate’s name have the option of blowing into the microphone, and those who have trouble reading or seeing the screen receive audio instructions via headphones.

Zucker provides lead gift for $10 million early childhood studies initiative

Anita Zucker, a passionate advocate of early childhood education, will provide a leadership gift of $5 million to bolster a comprehensive initiative at the University of Florida to help the nation’s youngest, most vulnerable learners reach their full potential.


Zucker’s gift – the largest from an individual to the College of Education — will be combined with another $5 million in Preeminence faculty and program support from the university over the next several years. This $10 million investment will help position UF as a world leader in understanding how young children learn and help create programs that enhance teaching and early supports and intervention for at-risk children. UF’s Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies housed in the College of Education will be named for Zucker, a UF education alumna, in recognition of her generosity.


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