Phil Hatlen, Executive in Residence 2008 and 2009

APH News, March 2008
APH Has Noted Scholar of Significance in Residence!

For the next six weeks, APH will have the good fortune to listen and learn from a most accomplished "Scholar in Residence," Dr. Phil Hatlen. Dr. Hatlen, recently retired Superintendent of the Texas School, professor, author, and lecturer, will honor us with his presence from March 6 until April 16. During his time with us Dr. Hatlen will work primarily on projects in conjunction with our Department of Research.

APH in the Springtime

By Phil Hatlen

Most of you know that I was privileged to spend three months, March through May of 2009, at APH. I was housed in an office between Tuck and Bob, and was provided a computer and a phone. Ralph Bartley supervised me—he provided me entre to all his Project Leaders. I spent most of my time with these creative and talented people. Most of the time, I asked the Project Leaders three questions:

  1. What have you done in the past?
  2. What are you working on now?
  3. What do you hope to do in the future?

They eagerly shared this information with me. The conversations usually centered on the projects they were working on at that time. And I was blown away by their excitement and dedication to their work.

A major interest of mine is the development of appropriate and sequential tactile graphics. This is also a major interest of APH. Good reading material for Braille-using students consists of words and graphics. APH long ago mastered the production of words, but the development of understandable and useful graphics is still a challenge. From what I learned, there are three different departments at APH working diligently on this need. One team is in textbook production, another in tests. But the one in which you and I are probably most familiar is the work of Project Leaders Karen Poppe and Fred Otto. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I was privileged to spend with these two. One day, they filled a large table with their products, and it was an amazing display. This led us into two topics: is there a sequence to use of the products, and assuming that many TVIs don’t have time to work with their students on graphics, who will do it?

The third floor, is almost entirely devoted to Project Leaders. The second floor has one of the most amazing and beautiful museums. On the fourth floor, there is the awesome Hall of Fame. The ground floor is quiet and business-like in the front, then there is the real plant where products are developed in the back.

In addition to the wonderful, intelligent, and creative Project Leaders, these are the experiences that meant the most to me:

I deeply appreciate the support and encouragement, as well as the friendliness of Tuck Tinsley, Bob Brasher, and Ralph Bartley.

From APH Executive in Residence Dr. Phil Hatlen

Originally appeared in the APH News, May 2009


Phil Hatlen accepted the Hall of Fame inductee plaque on behalf of the late Sally Mangold, 2008.


Phil Hatlen was the 2009 recipient of APH’s highest honor, the Wings of Freedom Award. Hatlen was honored for his lifetime of achievement in the field of blindness, including the creation of the expanded core curriculum. Here Hatlen poses with Patricia Williams of the Hatlen Center (left) and Betsy Wada.

As many of you know, I’m here for my second long stay at APH. Last Spring, I was here for six weeks. This year I’ll be here for three months. I enjoy being with Ralph Bartley who is taking very good care of me. And I especially like talking with project leaders about what they’re doing. Tuck and Bob are close friends whom I’ve known for many years, and the opportunity to get better acquainted with them is very special for me.

In addition to learning as much as I can about APH, I’m working on a project concerning the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC). With the help of Ralph and others, I want to find the answers to:

  1. What is the current status of the ECC? How many blind and visually impaired students are receiving instruction in the ECC?
  2. If warranted, how can the instruction be improved?
  3. Are there products that APH could produce that would enhance the teaching of the ECC?

We received completed surveys from teachers, parents, consumers, and other professionals. An analysis of these will help me answer the first question, and lead me closer to answers for the other two.

If any of you would like to know more about the ECC, I’d be happy to visit with you sometime and discuss it with you. If any of you would like to visit with me about any topic, I’d enjoy it very much.

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