Strategic Plan

AHEAD's Mission, Vision and Core Values

Mission
Through progressive, visionary leadership, grounded in social justice principles, AHEAD: develops, shares, and provides relevant knowledge; strategically engages in actions that enhance higher educational professionals' effectiveness; and advocates on behalf of its membership, their institutions, their work, and those they serve ensuring full, effective participation by individuals with disabilities in every aspect of the postsecondary experience.

Vision
AHEAD envisions a postsecondary experience that embraces disability and is free from barriers.

Core Values


  • Diversity: We believe in creating and promoting diverse educational communities to foster the exchange of ideas and perspectives, offering the opportunity for individual growth and developing a forum that honors the disability experience.
  • Equity: Recognizing that equality is NOT the same as equity, we believe in developing resources and fostering attitudes that provide a truly equitable experience that is responsive to individuals' strengths, weaknesses, and differences.
  • Respect: We believe in providing everyone with an opportunity to express individual thoughts, feelings, ideas, and needs; we listen and honor the individual's right to be heard, even if we do not agree.
  • Inclusivity: We believe in creating an inclusive community that encourages participation of all members, colleagues, practitioners, students, and stakeholders in an environment of mutual respect, opportunity for development, and honor of personal experience.

3-5 YEAR PLANNING HORIZON: OUTCOME-ORIENTED GOALS

Goal 1 

Advocacy - AHEAD will strengthen our leadership and influence on national conversations regarding disability access in higher education practice and policy.

  • Objective: 1. Increase clarity of the AHEAD policy platform.
    • Strategy: 1A. Identify the key policy focus areas.
      • Implementation:
        • Hire policy firm to identify areas.
        • Collaborate with firm to develop policy platform.
  • Strategy: 1B. Communicate policy platform to members.
    • Implementation:
    • Post policy platform/policy areas on AHEAD website and invite comment
  • Objective: Increase capacity to adequately engage in policy/advocacy.
    • Strategy: 2A. Identify pathways and create the infrastructure to support policy work.
      • Implementation:
        • Utilize firm to communicate with congressional contacts.
        • Utilize Public Policy Community to identify and respond to policy issues.
      • Strategy: 2B. Identify partners with advocacy strength and influence to guide strategies.
        • Implementation: Utilize firm to communicate with congressional contacts and/or provide roadmap for AHEAD staff to engage with those contacts.
      • Strategy: 2C. Clarify roles and duties of AHEAD staff and volunteers.
        • Implementation:
          • Review functions/job descriptions among AHEAD staff to determine whether current staff can address policy platform or whether additional staff will need to be hired.
          • Review AHEAD Board and other volunteers to determine their role in this work.
  • Objective: 3. Increase strategic partnerships to advance AHEAD platform and policy positions.
    • Strategy: 3A. Identify strategic partnerships and build alliances.
      • Implementation:
        • Review other organizations related to disability, higher education, or other related topics to determine appropriate partnerships.
        • Contact those organizations to determine interest and roles in partnership.

Goal 2

Knowledge Source - AHEAD will be the premier knowledge source for disability in higher education.

  • Objective: Foster greater participation of members in contributing to the body of knowledge, especially members of marginalized groups.
    • Strategy: 1A Develop/cultivate pipeline for knowledge transfer.
    • Strategy: 1B. Mentor new members.
    • Strategy: Invite all members to participate frequently in the sharing of knowledge with particular emphasis on marginalized groups.
    • Strategy: 1D. Mentor presenters to increase their effectiveness.
    • Strategy: 1E. Mentor potential authors and researchers
  • Objective: 2. Increase identification and dissemination of critical research and resources to members.
    • Strategy: 2A. Strengthen relationships with researchers and policy experts.
    • Strategy: 2B. Utilize social media for dissemination of information.
    • Strategy: 2C. Refresh the periodical publications such as the Hub.
    • Strategy: 2D. Explore other pathways to disseminate information
      • Implementation: Development of research and/or policy strands at conference)
    • Strategy: 2E. Increase ranking of JPED.
    • Strategy: 2F. Establish and enhance alliances and partnerships with other higher education professionals, including faculty.
      • Implementation: Establish liaison program with relevant higher education and/or policy organizations (Presidents’ Exchange, etc., co-convene conferences with some common tracks/talks/posters…).
      • Implementation: Support Board members to attend other conferences as appropriate.

Goal 3

Community - AHEAD will create more opportunities for engagement to enhance belonging.

  • Objective: AHEAD will enhance the development of an engaged, connected community.
    • Strategy: 1A. Expand marketing and involvement of members in volunteer opportunities.
    • Strategy: Develop communication strategy to keep new members informed of updates.
    • Strategy: Develop avenues to highlight and discuss expertise, research, and best practice new ideas from members.
  • Objective: 2. AHEAD will expand the creation, promotion and development of member-led support networks.
    • Strategy: 2A. Expand opportunities for members to connect with each other.
      • Implementation: Establish a member book club.
    • Strategy: 2B. Clarify expectations and roles of member-led groups within AHEAD.
    • Strategy: 2C. Leverage and refine online member forums.
  • Objective: AHEAD will address underrepresentation by marginalized groups within the organization.
    • Strategy: 1A. Encourage and mentor underrepresented members in presenting at conferences and writing for JPED
    • Strategy: Collect demographic information about members to determine representation.
    • Strategy: Examine processes and policies that may lead to less representation by members of marginalized groups.

Goal 4

Professional Development - AHEAD will diversify professional development activities to expand the knowledge base, capacity, and fluency of its members.

  • Objective: Increase the capacity for online professional development offerings.
    • Strategy: 1A. Create an accessible Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Objective: 2. Increase affordability and accessibility.
    • Strategy: 2A. Diversify price points.
    • Strategy: 2B. Create a more robust virtual conference.
    • Strategy: 2C. Include some training as a part of basic membership.
  • Objective: 3. Expand the content and focus of materials and programs to ensure they are representative of the membership.
    • Strategy: 3A. Target material for specific demographic categories (i.e. community colleges).
    • Strategy: 3B. Survey members on needs.
  • Objective: 4. Increase the communication of the value of AHEAD's professional development activities.
    • Strategy: 4A. Create and distribute testimonials.
    • Strategy: 4B. Encourage members to tell their personal stories.
    • Strategy: 4C. Establish and distribute ratings/evaluation data.
    • Strategy: 4D. Encourage conference tweeting.