UM receives federal grant to support telemental health, distance learning in 3 counties

The University of Montevallo has received a nearly $600,000 United States Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Services grant to support its efforts in delivering telemental health and distance education programs to its neighbors in Bibb, Dallas and Talladega counties.

Through the grant, the University will partner with Bibb County Schools, Dallas County Schools and Talladega County Schools to place technology hardware and software in each community. 

As a result of the grant, the counseling master’s degree program in UM’s College of Education & Human Development will expand its free Community Counseling Clinic to serve students and community members in the three counties through telehealth. UM will also expand distance education opportunities for students in the three counties to access on-campus dual enrollment courses taught in real-time and for professional educators to further study in their field and learn more about educational research and best practices.

The principal investigator for this newly acquired grant is CEHD Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, Dr. Jennifer Alexiou-Ray, who in 2018 also led the team that secured the $27 million Department of Education GEAR UP Jefferson County grant.

“The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program allows the University to partner with neighboring rural communities to increase the availability of education and mental health care services, which is particularly relevant given the challenges everyone has experienced over the past year,” said Alexiou-Ray.


Established in 1896, the overriding mission of the University of Montevallo, unique in higher education in Alabama, is to provide to students from throughout the state an affordable, geographically accessible, “small college” public higher educational experience of high quality, with a strong emphasis on undergraduate liberal studies and with professional programs supported by a broad base of arts and sciences, designed for their intellectual and personal growth in the pursuit of meaningful employment and responsible, informed citizenship.

To enhance student success within a vibrant campus community, the University of Montevallo provides a premier educational experience characterized by distinguished degree programs, personalized instruction delivered by highly qualified faculty and affordable tuition. Enriched by an array of opportunities, the UM experience prepares students to enter graduate or professional school or to begin their careers with an understanding of how to succeed in a constantly changing and complex world.