College Secures Grants to Support TVI Program

A student in the TVI program at Dominican College is shown here looking through a light filter. This allows a student who is visually impaired to use best contrast when viewing their environment.

Dominican College’s graduate level program to educate teachers of students who are blind or visually impaired (TVI Program) is getting updated equipment thanks to an influx of grant money. The grant money will also be used to support technology, instruction, professional development, student assistance, marketing, and outreach for the TVI Program. The College has secured a total of $394,507 in grants since July 2018.

Dominican College has one of just two graduate level TVI programs in New York State. The College’s program combines both online and on-campus learning and aims to help meet the needs of a severely underserved population. Experts say 5,000 additional teachers of the blind are needed nationwide to serve more than 63,000 students who meet the definition of blindness or low vision.

“The money that we’ve received is very much appreciated and will help us get additional instructional materials, such as braille writers, embossers, and assistive technology devices that our students will utilize in the classroom,” said Yvette Blitzer, Dominican College Coordinator of the TVI Program.

Dominican College is also increasing marketing and outreach efforts for the TVI program in an attempt to educate more students to help meet the demand for teachers of the blind and visually impaired in New York State and across the nation.

Dominican College received grants from the Lavelle Fund for the Blind, the Hearst Foundation, the Sarah K. de Coizart Article TENTH Perpetual Charitable Trust, the Thomas & Agnes Carvel Foundation, and the Ralph M. Cestone Foundation.
The TVI program is a certificate program that also offers students the option of earning a Master of Science in Education.

Beginning this fall, undergraduate students also have the option of earning a master’s degree in the TVI program in five years as part of the Senior Year Overlap Program or SYROP. In this program, highly motivated students are able to earn graduate credits during their senior year, while simultaneously completing requirements in the undergraduate Teacher Education Program.

For more information about the Teachers of Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired Program, contact 845-848-7910 or visit

Parents of “The Man with the Red Bandanna” Speak with Education Students

Professor Diane DiSpagna presented Alison and Jefferson Crowther with a study guide for a biography about their son. The study guide was written by students in DiSpagna’s Literacy class.

Education students who read about the 9-11 hero known as “the man with the red bandanna” met for more than two hours with his parents to discuss Welles Remy Crowther’s incredible life.  Welles is credited with rescuing 18 people from the World Trade Center on 9-11, while wearing his signature red bandanna.  His parents, Jefferson and Alison, have traveled all over the country sharing his story.  Alison said she enjoyed the discussion on December 14, 2107, with students in Professor Diane DiSpagna’s Literacy Class.  The students had read a biography about Welles called “The Red Bandanna” by Tom Rinaldi.

“To me, it’s the most wonderful thing to see these young people inspired by Welles, embraced and excited by his story and them wanting to share it,“ said Alison.  “And these are future teachers who developed from what I see is a beautiful study guide.”

The students presented the Crowthers with a study guide they wrote for the “The Red Bandana” for grades 4 through 12.  The guide includes suggested classroom activities and comprehension questions for teachers to use when assigning this book.

Alumni From the Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Program Recognized

Dominican College is pleased to announce that alumni of the Teacher Education Program for Students with Visual Impairments have been selected to serve on the board of NYSAER, a local chapter of the Association For Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. They are Jamie Wallace, Chelsea Hale, Jennifer Dohman-Kehrer, and Amy Fisher.

NYSAER will be hosting their annual conference in October. Current students, Fotini Tsillis and Melinda Gonzalez, have been awarded full scholarships to attend the AER conference based on their submitted applications and their academic achievements.

The mission of AER is to support professionals who provide education and rehabilitation services to people with visual impairments. The Association was formed in 1984 as the result of a consolidation between the American Association of Workers for the Blind and the Association for Education of the Visually Handicapped.

Teacher Education Earns Highest National Accreditation

On Friday, October 4 the Teacher Accreditation Council announced that the College’s Undergraduate and Graduate Teacher Education Programs have earned accreditation for 7 years, the highest granted to education programs. Both programs received “Above Standard” ratings in the Council’s three primary assessment areas.

In 2006, both programs earned the highest national accreditation as well, placing the College’s program among an elite group of teacher education programs nationally.