PC#10 – What You Need to Know: Assistive Technology and Digital Accessibility
Rachel Kruzel, University of St. Thomas
Over the last decade, the assistive technology industry has boomed. With the explosions of apps, accessibility being built-into many of the devices we use daily, and a decrease in the cost of assistive technology devices and programs, these tools are becoming easier to integrate into daily life. However, with a field flooded with options and limited time, understanding and learning about, let alone mastering, assistive technology can feel like another language. Assistive technology can be a huge asset to any disability resource provider and having the knowledge to provide these invaluable tools to students is essential.
Coupled with assistive technology, the digital and technological accessibility is taking over college campuses. For many, accessibility is another task on the long list of job responsibilities, an area in which we are expected to provide leadership. Given the importance of the topic, it is essential that every disability resource staff member have a basic knowledge of digital accessibility and how to support and partner with stakeholders to advance campus accessibility.
This preconference session will address necessary, but often overlooked, topics central to our work. First, attendees will be immersed in a crash course in assistive technology. We will begin the session by learning what assistive technology is and why disability resource staff should embrace it. We will then drive into the different types of tools that are available are available and commonly used in higher education. Then, practical steps, including a framework and workflow, for working with students and logistical tips to start or tweak your assistive technology loan program will be discussed. The assistive technology portion will round out with a showcase of common tools used to support students.
The second portion of this preconference will introduce on digital accessibility. Participants will receive training on accessibility and how it applies to their campus. Participants will leave with language, steps to move these efforts forward on campus, and an understanding of the laws and lingo that drive the movement. New disability resource staff, as well as seasoned veterans, looking for updates will benefit from attending this session to round out their expertise and knowledge on assistive technology and accessibility. Every attendee will leave with a toolkit of technology tools and implementation strategies.
PC#11- What Makes Community College Disability Services Tantalizing? A Dive into Discourse and Discovery
Michelle L Mitchell, M.Ed., Lehigh Carbon Community College
Linda Nissenbaum, M.A., St. Louis Community College
Thanks to popular demand, AHEAD’s Community College Special Interest Group (SIG) is again offering a full-day opportunity for disability resource personnel to come together for professional development and networking. Designed SPECIFICALLY to address the unique challenges and concerns faced by two-year campuses, the session content is informed by feedback from the SIG membership and will address the following topics: Thanks to feedback from many of our community college institutions, topics will include:
- Challenges with open door admissions, open enrollment
- Parental expectations and underprepared students
- Social engagement on a commuter campus and for students taking limited classes but remaining on campus
- Being asked to do more with less
- Community-based instructors not invested in professional development agenda
- Creating on-campus and off-campus collaborations and partnerships
- Role of disability services and Title IX and code of conduct
Whether you work at a traditional community college, a two-year regional or state university, or a technical or vocational two-year college, please join us for a day filled with practical application and collaboration. The format will provide opportunities for small group discussion, dedicated time for networking, and experiential activities. We’ll also save time to explore how AHEAD can work for you.
Participants will leave with tools and resources to be used to meet the needs of their unique campus environment. The session is facilitated by one of the Co-Chair of the Community College SIG and kicks off a full track of conference sessions dedicated to the issues common for those of us who work at two-year institutions.
PC#12- ADA Coordinators SIG / Seven Essential Components of the Role
Gabriel Merrell, M.S., Oregon State University
Scott Lissner, The Ohio State University
Tina Vires, Georgia State University
This one-day preconference is designed for participants who are serving (formally or informally) as the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator at their institution in areas beyond student accommodations. This fast-paced training assumes a working knowledge of the accommodation process. Our focus will be on articulating a philosophy for institutional access and translating it into a compliance and inclusion program.
Using a review of the administrative requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended, Non-discrimination, Notice, Designated Coordinator/Compliance Officer, Accessibility, Accommodation, Grievance, Self-evaluation and Transition/Strategic Plan) the facilitators will draw on their and participants’ experiences to explore the role of ADA Coordinators within higher education to highlight best practices. We will discuss models for implementing a coordinated program that moves your institution towards seamless access and enhances the full participation of disabled individuals in all aspects of the institutional enterprise.
Interactive scenarios will highlight principles in action and illustrate best practices, allowing participants to workshop policy and process elements to bring back to their campuses.
PC#13- Leading with Purpose
Courtney Jarrett, Ed.D., Ball State University
Zebadiah Hall, Ph.D. student, Cardinal Stritch University
Those of us who care about leadership development rightly spend much of our time improving how we lead others. Yet we often don’t think about the equally important question of why we lead. Join us for an exploration of this side of leadership. We will discuss both external and internal leadership, social justice in leadership, workplace culture, and the terminology used by leadership experts.
Participants will be active throughout the day. You’ll share your leadership style and develop plans to change, update, and share it with colleagues. What have you found challenging and rewarding as a leader? After exploring your leadership strengths and learning more about the themes from your mental model, you will develop a short statement that describes the unique and animating purpose of your leadership. Properly conceived, your purpose statement will help you make better choices about your lifelong work as a leader. You will develop an understanding of how to lead out of your best self on a daily basis and learn how stereotype threat affects all of us as leaders, especially those from marginalized communities.
Participants should come prepared for a contemplative and challenging workshop in a supportive environment. This program is recommended for people interested in engaging in self-discovery and the simplicity of self-awareness.
PC#14- Reframing Deaf Services to Ending Band-Aid Solutions!
Lauren Kinast, M.A., NIC, National Deaf Center
Tia Ivanko, M.S., National Deaf Center
Stephanie Zito, M.A., National Deaf Center
Dave Litman, M.A., NIC, National Deaf Center
This preconference is an opportunity for participants to take steps toward reframing access services for deaf students. Instead of reacting to requests, this proactive approach integrates accessibility into the fabric of the institution. The National Deaf Center (NDC) Nav Team will guide participants through a self-assessment and planning session to improve access from a systems level. Participants will self-identify areas for improvement, learn about evidence-based recommendations, explore resources, and discuss timelines for implementing new strategies.
This preconference is an opportunity for participants to gauge their institution’s readiness for change, identify target areas of improvement, and create a plan of action. The day will begin with a self-assessment using NDC's Project Open Doors, which measures institutional capacity, accessibility, and inclusion of deaf students from the faculty, staff, and student perspectives and can be used to provide a baseline understanding of the institution’s readiness and progress. Using their survey results and NDC data, participants have a global view of their institution’s physical environment, technical supports, communication and information delivery, attitudes, service provision, and opportunities to build social capital. The group will then identify common areas of improvement, brainstorm effective solutions, learn about resources on trending topics, and identify strategies to improve institutional access. In the afternoon, we will target accommodation and access services directly. Participants will be guided in implementing an infrastructure that anchors policies, protocol, and processes to evidence-based practices. They will leave with an action plan for improving specific areas of service in their department.
NCD recognizes systems change is a strategic process. Using the framework provided in this preconference, participants will have the resources necessary to reduce barriers, improve access services, and improve postsecondary outcomes for deaf students.
PC#15- A Perfect Storm – How Campuses Are Responding to Undergraduates’ Mental Health Challenges
David Parker, Ph.D., Children’s Research Group
The continuing rise in students with psychiatric disorders is nested within a larger trend of increased mental health needs in undergraduates with and without disabilities. This preconference session will explore societal causes for these developments, describe campus practices designed to promote students’ resilience and grit, and link these efforts to evidence-based outcomes for college students to become more self-determined.
- review national statistics regarding college students’ mental health challenges while discussing related trends on their campus,
- identify societal factors that explain why growing numbers of undergraduates come to college with increased risk factors for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety,
- apply evidence-based strategies for promoting students’ resilience and grit in small group activities, including guided opportunities to learn/practice coaching techniques,
- identify examples of courses, programming, and online resources that campuses use to promote students’ resilience, grit, and emotional fortitude, and
- brainstorm ways to contribute disability/mental health expertise to campus-wide partnerships that promote students’ emotional well-being.
This preconference session will explore issues such as the 2008 recession, the impact of social media, and consequences of a “do-over” culture in competitive high schools to help participants better understand why today’s “bubble-wrap generation” seems so poorly prepared to handle challenges in constructive ways. By promoting students’ resilience and grit, we can help undergraduates develop stronger self-determination.
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