- Letter from AHEAD President Mike Shuttic
- Letter from the Editor
- ADA Amendments, College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2008, DOJ Rule Making, AHEAD & You
- Professional Development Calendar
- Reframing Disability: Multiple Intersections and Universal Design
- Announcement for GEM-ASEE Fellowship Position:
- EFC Launches New Online Tool to Help Students & Families Prepare for College
- Reframing Disability…In the Brave New World of Social Networking and Online Video
- Join AHEAD’s Diversity Initiative Listserv
- Opportunities for International Students with Disabilities through MIUSA
- Call for Cookbook Submissions
Hello Colleagues, and welcome to the start of a new academic year. It is a time when we find ourselves filled with questions and seeking answers and collaboration. Publications such as this one (ALERT) help provide useful information toward meeting those needs.
This year begins my 2-year tenure of facilitating AHEAD’s activities and continued progress. Issues such as returning veterans, students with intellectual disabilities seeking postsecondary ed opportunities, the reauthorization of the ADA (and its impact on defining “disability”), and accessible textbooks set before us. As in many cases, people are all along the continuum of preparedness and comfort regarding these issues. And, much work has been done, and continues, to address the anticipated questions/concerns of DS providers, and to provide direction and assistance. Everyone has a voice in collaboration, so please pose questions, challenge thoughts, suggest points of focus, and submit articles to share.
Amidst the myriad topics on the horizon that are to be addressed, two areas of interest that I hope we can continue to pursue are transition and global presence. Transition is an ‘old’ topic with ‘new’ wrinkles and open to broader interpretation. More students with varying level of needs are looking to transition to postsecondary ed. Documentation and differing systems necessitate collaborative efforts. Highlighted focus on moving from postsecondary ed to work and/or internship opportunities is another point of transition. AHEAD also must find a way to reach out to, gain from, and collaborate with others internationally. Certainly we all have something to offer to one another.
These are a few thoughts as we embark into the Fall term. Opportunities await!
Greetings AHEAD Colleagues.
We enter into the Fall season with a new AHEAD president and the passage of
the ‘‘ADA Amendments Act of 2008.” Check out this issue of
ALERT for an introductory letter from AHEAD President Mike Shuttic, and information
about the new bill. Also included are two articles in the Reframing Disability
series. The first, by Aura Hirschman from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, “Multiple
Intersections and Universal Design, “ delves into how we as DS Professionals
can help “shift the responsibility for meeting the needs of students
with disabilities to the whole of the postsecondary campus.” The second
article of this series included in this issue explores the concept of reframing
disability “In the Brave New World of Social Networking and Online Video.”
Among other announcements and opportunities included in this ALERT are calls to join AHEAD’s new Diversity Listserv, and a request for recipes, articles discussing kitchens designed using UD principles and other related cookbook submissions to be included in a unique AHEAD project, a Universal Design Cookbook.
To read this issue of ALERT, please go to:
I hope you enjoy this issue of ALERT. Please keep sending your articles, announcements, calendar items and opportunities for involvement to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today (9/17) the Senate version of the ADA Amendments where passed the House replacing the previous House version and allowing the bill to be immediately forwarded to the President for a signature. In previous weeks the Conference Report on the College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2008 that reconciled the House and Senate versions AHEAD was consulted by congressional staffers working on the Act and the final language includes a number of initiatives that AHEAD worked for: Under section 132(i)(1)( I) Colleges will be asked to report the "percentage of undergraduate students enrolled at the institution who are formally registered with the office of disability services of the institution (or the equivalent office) as students with disabilities". This is the first time data on college students with disabilities will be systematically collected by the federal government along side data related to race and gender.
Section 772(a)(1)(B)(v) requires that AHEAD be included on the Advisory Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials in Postsecondary Education For Students With Disabilities that the act will establish. Related to the work of the commission the Section 773 of the Act will also fund model demonstration programs improve the provision of instructional materials, including text books in accessible formats. In Section 777 the Act established a National Center for Information and Technical Support for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities. Other disability related issues in the Higher Education Opportunity and Affordability Act include teacher preparation, model programs for students with intellectual disabilities and training for faculty and staff to improve the quality of higher education for students with disabilities. AHEAD already engages in providing guidance to the Department of Education through the public comment and rulemaking process. Check the AHEAD web site for updates as this develops.
The Department of Justice issued proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They were available for public comment through August 18th. Along with posting the regulations for comment the DOJ posed over fifty questions to help guide how the regulations will be changed. The proposals impact a wide range of subjects from service and companion animals to effective communications for individuals with sensory disabilities. AHEAD submitted comments focusing on the definition of service animals, event ticketing policies, access requirements for assembly areas and residence halls, and documentation requirements for high stakes testing . To see the proposed changes, the questions and a transcript of the July 15, 2008 Public Hearing visit www.ada.gov.
In an effort to support the work of its members and their institutions The AHEAD Board is establishing a formal Government Relations Committee. The application is available at here. The Board is invested in the diversity of this committee and needs you to apply to help realize that goal. If you have questions contact Emily Singer at SINGERE@CUA.EDU.
Professional Development. Take advantage of these upcoming events, conferences, and other opportunities to increase and share your knowledge.
Calls for Presentations and Articles:
ALERT submission and publication dates:
The ALERT is now being published every 2-3 months. Here is the schedule for
|Submissions Due:||Publication Date:|
|November 21, 2008||December 5, 2008|
|March 6, 2009||March 13, 2009|
AHEAD and Affiliate Events:
October 31 & November 1, 2008
AHEAD Fall 2008 Topical Workshops
Sheraton Hartford Hotel Hartford, Connecticut USA
Workshop #1: Risk and Stigma Management in Higher Education: Practical Skills and Policy Guidance for Disability Services and College Personnel
Workshop #2: Disability Services in the Community College: Key Issues and Best Practices
Workshop #3: In-Depth: The Reality of TRiO Students and LD
For more information or to register, visit http://www.ahead.org/events-and-workshops/regional-training
April 28 and 29, 2009
Ninth Annual Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion & Disability: Change, Challenge, & Collaboration
The Ohio State University Columbus Campus
Session Proposals Are Due November 1, 2008 - Student Posters Due March 30, 2008
Conference information including updates and past programs can be found at: http://ada.osu.edu/conferences.htm
CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS
(Proposals are due November 1, 2008) The Ninth Annual Multiple Perspectives conference continues the university's efforts to bring together a diverse audience to explore disability as both an individual experience and social reality that cuts across typical divisions of education & employment; scholarship & service; business & government; race, gender & ethnicity.
This year’s theme “Change, Challenge & Collaboration” reflects the critical place in history we occupy. Between last conference and this call for papers the United Nations has adopted the Convention on Disability, Congress passed a new GI bill and the Higher Education Opportunity Act which include a significant focus on disability; the Access Board is proposing changes in Section 508, the Department of Justice is in the final stages of a comprehensive review and update of the regulations for the ADA’s Titles II and III; and the ADA Amendments of 2008 are working their way through Congress. The theme and the quotes below are offered as a guide to framing your proposals and considering your topics from a fresh perspective.
“Disability Studies should serve as an access ramp between the disability
community and research universities”.
Paul K. Longmore
“For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and
“Congress acknowledged that society's accumulated myths and fears about
disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that
Justice William J. Brennan
Continue to surprise those who would put you in a neat demographic. Be insistently
For submission guidelines and more info, visit
L. Scott Lissner, ADA Coordinator ?Office Of The Provost
292-6207(v); 688-8605(tty); 688-3665(fax) HTTP://ADA.OSU.EDU
In authoring this article, I must first disclose that I am not a Disability Services Provider or a person with a disability. A Rehabilitation Counselor by training, I have worked on federal and state grants that involve higher education and disability; both the campus experience for students (and all parties involved with students), and the subsequent employment opportunities for students. I have familiarity with the issues facing campuses and postsecondary students with disabilities, but I come to write this article with a unique perspective. There are a number of topics that intersect within the field of higher education and disability that I strive to integrate, including theoretical frameworks, disability studies, research, and best practices for application.
The theme of the AHEAD 2008 conference, “Multiple Intersections”, describes my experience as a presenter this year, though perhaps not in the way that our conference coordinators had intended. The multiple intersections that evolved from my experiences at AHEAD 2008 actually evolved and developed in the two previous years of participation in AHEAD conferences and also in my capacity as an Outreach and Training Coordinator for a federally funded demonstration project. The ACCESS-ed Project promotes Universal Design in all aspects of higher education with the aim to ensure that students with disabilities in higher education receive quality education. I have been pleased to participate in workshops at past AHEAD Conferences that enriched my work experience and, in turn I have also been able to present on aspects of the ACCESS-ed Project.
As was the case for many of you who attended the AHEAD Conference, multiple intersections arose through networking with colleagues from various parts of the world. For me, these intersections began this year on my flight to Reno with the coincidence of sitting next to a fellow conference presenter and universal design committee member. I had never met this colleague, but the opportunity to exchange ideas on the plane resulted in a new connection. The conference continued to provide layers of interconnected experiences, both personal and professional with interesting discussions of current issues and thinking on disability. Many colleagues with shared interest in Universal design in Education that I had met at past AHEAD Conferences were again a part of my 2008 experience.
Where does “reframing disability” enter in? I had consented to write this article about our campus ACCESS-ed project for the Reframing Disability column for ALERT. It was through the UD Initiative discussions that I started grappling with the term “reframing disability”. Many phrases were used during the course of the discussions, including “universal design in education”, “universal design for learning”, “accessibility”, “access by design”, “reframing disability”, “social vs. medical model of disability”. A myriad of ideas arose from the dynamic conversation regarding universal design in the field of higher education and disability; where we are now, and where we are headed. In the aftermath of the committee discussion, I struggled to synthesize all of these ideas. Here is how I see “reframing disability” as intersecting with universal design and campus accessibility.
To achieve universal access, we need to facilitate the reframing or restructuring or redefining of how society and culture view disability. The way we currently view disability is focused on the human being with the functional impairment(s). (The word impairment, incidentally, is synonymous with hurt, injury, harm, and mutilation.) Many authors in the field of disability studies have noted that our society views disability within the context of a medical model. The individual is the focus; an individual with a medical problem who needs an intervention to mitigate the problem. In education, the problem is addressed by finding individualized interventions or accommodations. Campuses expend funds, energy, and time to mitigate the academic barriers for a percentage of students with disabilities, those who declare their disabilities in order to receive services, based on the current law.
Scholars in the field of Disability Studies suggest that we adopt a social
model of disability, recognizing that disability is another part of the institution’s
diversity. It is the barriers in the design of the institution and its activities
that create disabling environments. A disability is only disabling to the individual
if the environment does not allow for ease of access.
Institutions of higher learning have in recent history approached diversity by creating welcoming environments for students of varying minorities; by making it clear that diversity is welcomed and sought after. This has been accomplished through campus-wide initiatives that involve all staff, faculty, service providers and administrators. It has stemmed from affirmative action and civil rights, which resulted in policies that promote access, and support recruitment programs and student services. Disability has not been viewed by most institutions as being a part of diversity initiatives. The creation of Disability Services offices has in many cases isolated the responsibility for serving students with disabilities, often allowing the rest of the campus to evade responsibility for providing accessible environments. Whereas policy has been applied to honor diversity of students from racial and ethnic minority groups, this has only just begun to evolve with students who have disabilities.
“AHEAD dynamically addresses current and emerging issues with respect to disability, education, and accessibility to achieve universal access.” In keeping with the mission of AHEAD, the dialog of the Universal Design Committee meeting at AHEAD was truly dynamic in addressing and connecting universal design and reframing disability.
During the course of the Universal Design Committee discussions, the question was posed: Could it be that as we provide individualized accommodations we are discriminating as professionals? We are legally mandated to ensure academic access, and excellent training is available on how to do so on an individualized accommodations basis. However, what role can already overburdened Disability Services professionals and offices play in shifting the issue of access to a campus-wide initiative that focuses more on the campus than on the individual? How can we focus on changing environments to be usable by everyone, thus reducing the need for people to declare their disability, provide medical documentation of disability, and be determined eligible for services in order to receive accommodations? The intersection of engaging in reframing disability and universally designing all aspects of the higher education experience requires that we also examine and change how we view our jobs.
Access by design or Universal Design in Education (UDE) strives to shift the responsibility for meeting the needs of students with disabilities to the whole of the postsecondary campus. As Disability Services professionals, we can educate our colleagues who teach or deliver services on post-secondary campuses. We are in a unique position to offer the line of reasoning that designing physical, instructional and service, and information media environments that include all types of learners, including students with disabilities, will decrease the need for expensive accommodations and individualized services.
There will always be a need to provide academic accommodations for some students with disabilities on an individualized basis. However, the vision of a universally designed campus is one where all students can feel welcome and can participate easily and independently in all aspects of the campus; instructional, social, recreational, and residential. A vision for campus change in attitude toward inclusion must evolve from policy changes that require all staff to be involved in promoting access to all aspects of campus life. A universally designed campus is one where policy speaks unequivocally to campus planning with access for everyone in mind. In order to achieve this goal, representatives for all students, staff and consumers need to sit at the table as part of the planning process. Disability Service professionals are in the position to ensure that consumers are tapped to participate in the process.
In the field of Rehabilitation Counseling, early intervention used to mean early rehabilitation intervention to achieve the best employment outcome of the injured party. Now, in the realm of higher education, early intervention means early involvement of people with disabilities in the design of environments: physical, instructional and service, and information media. Whereas advocacy was once viewed for benefit of the individual, in the realm of higher education, advocacy has switched to educating the whole campus about access by design and the need to include individuals with disabilities in the planning. Design for the inclusion of individuals who have disabilities almost always benefits all individuals with or without disability. Universal design is the inclusive process and accessibility and usability is the end goal. Campuses that recognize the principles of universal design truly embrace both diversity and accessibility. Affording equal opportunity requires universally designing all aspects of a campus to provide the highest standard of accessibility, above and beyond the law.
Aura M. Hirschman, MS, CRC
Outreach and Training Coordinator, ACCESS-ed Project
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
The National GEM Consortium and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) seek talented applicants with a deep interest in improving science and engineering education for a joint GEM-ASEE fellowship position. The fellow will help develop one or more college-level online introductory engineering courses for the website www.curriki.org, which provides free educational resources for students and educators in third world countries and across the globe. This project is expected to have lasting impact in making engineering more accessible to diverse populations. Under the guidance of an ASEE staff member, course creation will take place through an internship at ASEE headquarters in Washington, DC during the summer of 2009. Prior to this time, the fellow will be expected to gather course materials from ASEE-member (and other) professors, and propose outlines for one or more courses.
A technical background in electrical, materials, mechanical, aerospace, civil, or related engineering fields is a plus. M.S. program applicants (preferred) and Ph.D. program applicants will apply through the existing GEM fellowship module and adhere to all guidelines set forth by GEM (http://www.gemfellowship.org). For full consideration, applications must be received by November 15, 2008.
WASHINGTON, D.C., (September 9, 2008) – Today, the Education Finance Council (EFC), an association of nonprofit and state-based student loan providers, announced the launch of its new College Center www.efc.org/collegecenter, an online tool that provides timely and targeted information and resources to students who face unique challenges in reaching their goal of a higher education. Recognizing that not everyone starts in the same place on their path to college, the College Center gathers in one convenient location tailored information so that all students, no matter their circumstances, are aware of their postsecondary options.
“ Today’s launch of the College Center www.efc.org/collegecenter is part of an ongoing effort by EFC members to ensure that students and families are informed about the possibilities of a higher education. Unfortunately, there are some students who think college is out of their reach and that just isn’t the case,” EFC President Kathleen Smith said. “EFC members work side-by-side with a number of organizations to provide the information and support students need to successfully access and complete college. Along with timely and important information, the College Center gives students and families the opportunity to connect with other organizations that can assist them along that journey.”
The College Center provides information geared to:
- Military and National Guard – There are numerous programs that will enable the brave men and women of our Armed Services to gain access to higher education during and following their service.
- Youth from Foster Care – With reports detailing how few students from foster care gain access to higher education programs, it’s important that these youths know that college is possible for them and learn about the steps they need to take to become college ready.
- Runaway and Homeless Youth – It is estimated that between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth runaway away from their homes each year. For these youth, connecting to a network of support organizations is the first step towards achieving long-term educational goals.
- Students with Disabilities – Though students with disabilities may face unique challenges along their path to and through college, multiple programs and resources are available to make that path more manageable.
- Blind and Visually Impaired Students – Whether enrolled in or in the process of enrolling in college, blind or visually impaired students can seek assistance from the Office of Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education which provides audio and Braille versions of its Federal Student Aid publications.
- Spanish Speaking Students – The Latino representation in higher education continues to grow; however, these students remain underrepresented compared to other groups. Resources available from the U.S. Department of Education include Spanish language versions of its Federal Student Aid website and its Federal Student Aid guidebook.
- Adult Learners – Statistics show there are 54 million adults in the nation’s labor force who lack a college degree. Higher education is possible at any age and there are numerous resources available to help them get started on the college path.
- Aspiring Teachers – Those who choose to teach play a critical role in American society by educating and training our country’s most important asset – its people. Individuals wishing to pursue a career in teaching or those teachers seeking subsequent professional development may be able to receive student financial aid to help them achieve those goals.
“ We’re excited to offer the College Center as a complement to EFC’s Financial Literacy homepage www.efc.org/finlit launched earlier this year. From budgeting tips to EFC’s Guide to Credit, the Financial Literacy homepage provides concise information and user-friendly tools to help students make informed decisions in managing their finances before, during and after college,” Smith said. “The College Center and Financial Literacy homepages are representative of the dedication and effort EFC members put forth as they continue to fulfill their public purpose mission of making college more affordable and accessible for students and families.”
EFC’s mission is making college more affordable. Together with its members, EFC works to expand access to higher education by ensuring the availability of student loan funds while striving to make paying for college easier and less expensive for all students and families. EFC represents nonprofit and state-based student loan providers that participate in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) as well as affiliated entities including guaranty agencies, lenders, rating agencies, insurers and investment bankers.
Education Finance Council
1850 M Street, N.W., Suite 920, Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone (202) 955-5510 Fax (202) 955-5530
CONTACT: Krista Cole
Director, Project PACE
Associate Director, Disability Resource Center
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
As I network with AHEAD members from Disability Resource offices across the country, I often hear similar remarks:
“Students with disabilities avoid coming to our office as much as possible.”
the “We have removed the term ‘disability’ from our office name because of stigma it carries.”
When I hear such statements, I have concerns about the attitudes our students and colleagues have internalized around the term “disability.” As I have grappled with this, I realize that we have a lot of work to do to “reframe disability” on our campuses and beyond. But how can we get the message across that disability is an aspect of diversity that is integral to society? This question led me to consider the power of social networking and online video. By doing a bit of research, I found the following statistics:
Social Networking Statistics
The number of worldwide visitors to social networking sites has grown 34 percent in the past year to 530 million, representing approximately 2 out of every 3 Internet users. (Source: comScore.com)
MySpace and Facebook are in a tight battle for the global leadership position, each attracting more than 100 million visitors per month. (Source: comScore.com)
55% of online teens have created their own profile on a social network site like MySpace or Facebook. 20% of adults have done so. (Source: Pew Research Center)
Online Video Statistics
66% of video viewers have watched online video ads and 44% have taken an action on what they had seen. (Source: eMarketer Survey)
76% of users tell a friend about a video they have seen. (Source: eMarketer Survey)
84.8 million viewers watched 4.3 billion videos on YouTube.com (50.4 videos per viewer). The average online video duration was 2.8 minutes. (Source: Startup-Review.com)
YouTube has a wide range of user demographics, but the largest segment of users is the 18 to 35 year-olds. (Source: StartUp-Review.com)
As a result of reading these compelling figures, I decided to conduct an informal experiment. I first created a personal profile page in Facebook. I waited until June 25th, when my number of friends (the people who I knew that I found or that found me on Facebook) grew to 100. At that time I created a group that I called “Reframing Disability” began to invite friends to join the group. At this writing, less than two months later, there are 227 members in this group. Many of them are my friends and colleagues, but most are not. Within this group, we can also harness the power of YouTube and add videos that relate to our topic. When new content is added, we have the option of messaging all group members.
At the beginning of the Fall Semester, we set up a page for the Disability Resource Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and have added a link to the Reframing Disability page. We hope to see more students, faculty, staff and administrators join that group. Whether or not this effort will result in attitude change among those who join and read the posts remains to be seen. It does offer one more venue for creating change.
In closing, I’d like to share this excerpt from an article in New Mobility online magazine:
One way to counteract society's negative messages regarding disability is to identify with the larger disability community. "For some even just knowing there is a strong and respectable disability community is something that can really help buffer the feelings of shame and hopelessness," says Gill. "If you can say that there is a group of people out there that is like me in some important ways, similar to me, and that is a strong and valuable group of people, that helps protect a person from disability prejudice."
Gill says psychologists who study identity formation in marginalized social groups talk about identification with that social group as sort-of having a support group in your pocket--an idea she finds useful. If she's the only disabled person in a room and part of what she's saying is devalued by disability prejudice, she feels shaken. "Then I think about the group in my pocket, and that fortifies me."
Source: Byzek, J. (2004). What’s in your head? Who put it there?, [Electronic version], New Mobility Magazine May 2004 issue, http://newmobility.com/articleView.cfm?id=862&.
The “group in my pocket” just grew to 227…228…229.
AHEAD’s Diversity Initiative has established a listserv for the discussion of diversity issues in an open, respectful forum. The listserv was one of the recommendations made during a series of diversity focus group sessions held during the AHEAD conference in Reno in July 2008. If you would like to participate please email Diversity Initiative Board liaison Bea Awoniyi (email@example.com) or Ruth Warick, DI Chair, (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also contact them for more information about diversity plans and activities for the coming year. The Diversity Initiative goes back to 2004 and is supported with project funding by AHEAD.
Current members of the Diversity Initiative are:
- Bea Awoniyi, Florida State University
- Mattie Grace, University of Southern California
- Kelly Leonard, Purdue University
- Shanti Ramcharan, Emporia State University
- Roxana Stupp, University of Illinois at Chicago
- Ruth Warick, University at British Columbia
- Mike Shuttic, AHEAD president – ex officio
Do you know of international students with disabilities interested in studying in the U.S.? The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA recently released “Opportunities in the U.S. for Non U.S. Citizens” (http://www.miusa.org/ncde/intlopportunities/comingtousa), a webpage that covers many commonly asked questions international students with disabilities have such as:
- What are my rights as a person with a disability in the U.S.?
- How do I get support related to my disability in the classroom?
- Are there any scholarships for people with disabilities to study in the U.S.?
This page is helpful for prospective and current students and admissions, disability services, and international student services staff. For more information or to ask a question, please email email@example.com or visit www.miusa.org/ncde.
Dear AHEAD Members,
You are invited.to participate in a unique AHEAD project, a Universal Design Cookbook! The working title for the book is currently (subject to change) Cooking Is A Major Life Activity. We are looking for:
- Brief articles that discuss how to design a kitchen using universal design principles.
- Cooking techniques for persons with various types of disabilities.
The deadline for submissions is October 2008.
All submissions need to be typed as a Microsoft word document and sent electronically
to the Editor, along with the contributor's name, address, telephone number
email address and any other relevant contact information. Submissions will
not be returned. Submissions and questions need to be directed to
Joyce Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The name of the dish
- An itemized list of the recipe ingredients and quantities.
- A complete description of the preparation process.
- A brief description of the history or story behind the dish (if available).
Article idea submissions:
Suggestions for short articles:
- Planning a universally designed kitchen
- Cooking techniques for persons who are blind or visually impaired
- Accessible cooking utensils.
- Accessible cooking techniques.
If you submit an article, please include:
- A tentative title
- The complete article with any footnotes and/or references.