Annual Report 2011

As the premier professional association of disability service providers at colleges and universities, AHEAD seeks to provide resources, training, and expertise on relevant topics to its members and other agencies and individuals with shared interests. Since 1977, AHEAD has continued to grow its membership, providing resources for disability professionals and influence on topics related to postsecondary education for disabled students.

AHEAD operates with a staff based in Huntersville, North Carolina (a suburb of Charlotte) under the leadership of the Executive Director, Stephan Hamlin-Smith. The AHEAD Board of Directors is comprised of eleven individuals, elected and appointed. Other than the positions President-Elect and President which are occupied for two years, each member of the Board of Directors serves a three year term. During 2011 the following individuals served on the AHEAD Board:

• Officers:


o President - Jean Ashmore

o President-Elect - Scott Lissner

o Secretary - Terra Beethe, began July 2011, preceded by Kathy McGillivray

o Treasurer - Michael Johnson

• Directors at Large:


o Alberto Guzman, began July 2011

o Jamie Axelrod, began July 2011

o Gaeir Dietrich, began July 2011

o Ron Stewart, began July 2011 - appointed to board as Leach Chair of the Standing Committees

o Mary Lee Vance

o Scott Bay

o Tom Thompson

o Katheryne Staeger-Wilson

o Jose Soto, concluded July 2011

o Bea Awoniyi, concluded July 2011

o Karen Saracusa, concluded March 2011

• Ex Officio:


o Stephan Hamlin-Smith, Executive Director

The membership of AHEAD reflects disability professionals working, primarily, in higher education. The offices or departments that provide resources, services and support for disabled students are those from which AHEAD members mainly come. Additionally, numerous professionals from countries other than the United States are members of AHEAD. Across the various categories of membership, the members of AHEAD includes professionals from primarily community colleges, four year public, four year private, and vocational schools. As of December 31, 2011 AHEAD’s membership, in all categories, numbered 2,671 reflecting a steady annual increase.

During 2011, AHEAD was actively engaged in a number of vital undertakings, both within the association and beyond. The following represents a sample of these endeavors:

Association based:

In 2011, the AHEAD Board of Directors concluded their development of guidance for the establishment of five Standing Committees, appointed chairs with work-plans developed by the five groups. Previous Funded Initiatives were dissolved with their work being continued and expanded through the new committee structure. The newly established committees are listed below along with their initial charges from the Board:

• Standing Committee on Professional Development


o Purpose and Initial Charge - The Standing Committee on Professional Development exists to evaluate and develop/recommend means to address and foster professional competency of AHEAD members; review and recommend methodologies used for professional development; explore collaborative professional development offerings with other entities to include colleges and universities and other professional organizations; assess association resources used for dissemination of professional information and make recommendations as appear appropriate. This committee will function to augment, support and inform the work of the association’s staff member responsible for overseeing the direct implementation and management of all professional development initiatives. The committee will consult with and collaborate with other Standing Committees and the general Board of Directors to fulfill its mission.

• Standing Committee on Member Development


o Purpose and Initial Charge - The Standing Committee on Member Development exists to evaluate means to expand the general membership of AHEAD; recommend new constituencies and vehicles to engage prospective members with the association; develop and recommend methods to incorporate international members and potential international members or groups into the fabric of AHEAD; recommend ways to promote upward career mechanisms for disability service professionals; and work to foster connections with and expansion of the AHEAD Affiliates Program. In addition to identifying member groups, this Standing Committee should address methods to mentor new members, evaluate and recommend resources needed by members collaborating with other Standing Committees on development of same, evaluate and recommend changes to the SIG structure, and other aspects of AHEAD’s functioning that intersect with all members or potential member groups.

• Standing Committee on Diversity


o Purpose and Initial Charge - In accordance with AHEAD’s definition of diversity (see:, the Standing Committee on Diversity exists to develop awareness among members and the association in general about diversity in relation to all aspects of the association, its business, members and practices; to assess means through which the association is represented and inclusive of diversity; to foster inclusion of all members within the association equally and with equity; to ensure that association events and activities are inclusive and responsive to needs of diverse constituencies; to evaluate member resources for sensitivity; to provide members with resources to promote inclusive environments for all students in college and university communities but especially students with disabilities.

• Standing Committee on Technology


o Purpose and Initial Charge - The Standing Committee on Technology exists to continue and inform the work of the association that relates to all aspects of technology, from the way through which technology is used to conduct association business to the use of technology by individuals with disabilities and tools used by disability practitioners; address emerging issues in the use of different types of technology be it hardware or software; provide timely guidance documents to members on technology-related issues/equipment; review web resources and platforms used on making recommendations as needed; function as an association “help desk” on aspects of technology, its use for professional responsibilities, and its use by people with disabilities.

• Standing Committee on Public Policy


o Purpose and Initial Charge - The Standing Committee on Public Policy exists to monitor, educate and make recommendations to AHEAD members and the Board on matters pertaining to disability in a broad sphere that has direct relevance to higher education or is indirectly linked to higher education; develop or facilitate development of member resources specific to regulatory information; inform members and the Board on emerging issues in the legislative and regulatory spheres; provide guidance to the Board on areas where influence from the association is needed and assist with same.

During 2011 the AHEAD Board confirmed the need to update the 2004 documentation guidance based on seven essential elements of documentation due to changes in laws and regulations at the federal level and established a Spring 2012 release date for new professional guidance on documentation.

The AHEAD Strategic Plan was reviewed and updated during 2011 to cover the years 2012-2015. It is available in the About AHEAD/Business section of The objectives for this period relate to five core goals:

During 2011 the peer-reviewed journal published by AHEAD, the Journal on Postsecondary Education and Disability (JPED), underwent a change in publication methods. Beginning in the Fall of 2010 (Vol. 23, No. 1) the JPED was no longer primarily printed and mailed to members. It is now converted into multiple formats for member choice and accessibility. If paper copies are desired, members can purchase them when signing up for annual membership for a fee to cover printing and shipping. Dr. David Parker continues as Executive Editor of the JPED which has grown in regularity and content under his leadership.

Following a lengthy testing phase, during 2011 member access became available to the Jossey-Bass Legal Database which has monthly updates to the extensive compendium of cases, letters, and other guidance of a legal nature pertinent to higher education and disability. This database is proving quite valuable to members; it is available in the members’ only section of

As a result of continuing contract work between AHEAD and member institutions for program evaluations, in 2011 AHEAD premiered a set of program surveys which tap different constituencies on campuses; disabled students, faculty and administrators as well as a self-assessment tool for use by disability service directors are available. AHEAD’s expertise in program evaluation is being sought with increasing regularity; program evaluations, both through survey instruments and site evaluations, are a source of revenue for the association.

An array of professional training is offered by AHEAD every year. During 2011 trainings were offered on an array of topics and across modalities including captioned webinars, face-to-face workshops and the annual conference, and audio with topics selected in response to member interests and emerging topics. A tele-institute was held in 2011 focused on the ADA Amendments Act which was extremely well attended and reviewed. Attendance at all AHEAD training continues to grow annually. The 34th annual summer conference was held in Seattle, Washington with keynote addresses from Victor Pineda and Marilyn Bartlett.

The AHEAD Affiliate Program is made up of 33 regional and state organizations who, while operating independently of AHEAD, are similarly engaged with promoting inclusive education and providing professional training. Representatives of the AHEAD Board and the Executive Director appeared as speakers at 14 regional meetings during 2011.

Proposals to establish means for defined linkages with AHEAD by either groups or formal organizations in other countries were submitted to the Board by the Standing Committee on Member Development during 2011. Details will be completed and the opportunities for engagement available during 2012.

During 2011 AHEAD published the results of its 2010 biannual member survey.

External AHEAD involvement:

During 2010-2011 Stephan Hamlin-Smith, AHEAD’s Executive Director, served a major role in his capacity on the Department of Education’s Commission on Accessible Instructional Materials for Students with Disabilities in Postsecondary Education (AIM Commission). Additionally, AHEAD member Gaeir Dietrich chaired the AIM commission; she was elected to the AHEAD Board of Directors as a Director-at-Large during the spring 2011 election and will serve from July 2011 to July 2014.

At the Spring 2011 Board of Directors meeting, the board unanimously voted to support the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). Working with partner organization, the United States International Council on Disability, AHEAD will take actions to support U.S. ratification of this vital human rights treaty.

AHEAD has a seat on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in High Education (CAS). In 2011 CAS Standards and Guidance for Disability Support Services came up for revision. At the request of AHEAD, this set of standards was renamed Disability Resources and Services. The CAS Contextual Statement, the background and framing statement for each standard, for DRS was revised by Jean Ashmore, Mary Lee Vance with input from the Board. In 2012 the DRS Standards and Guidance will be revised, and the board will contribute to review and revision of the various CAS standards.

AHEAD, during 2011, expanded its active partnerships with organizations sharing similar missions or those where the contributions from AHEAD are appropriate. In addition to many organizations with which AHEAD has long-standing working relationships, new alliances were established in 2011 with the National College Testing Association and the Association of College and University Housing-International with the objectives to collaborate for cross trainings.

During 2011, AHEAD established agreements so that the annual meetings of AHEAD and the newly established and funded pepnet 2 will be held concurrently in 2012 and 2014. This was done successfully in 2010 to the benefit of both organizations. AHEAD planners will collaborate with pepnet 2 on conference particulars.

Dr. Janet Medina, long term AHEAD member and noted expert on learning disabilities, was appointed to be an AHEAD representative with the National Joint Council on Learning Disabilities. This appointment will be for three years. She joins Dr. Christy Lendman who serves in the same capacity.


AHEAD’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. During calendar year 2011, the FY 2010 and FY 2011 budgets for the association were balanced. At the conclusion of 2011, AHEAD’s revenues and expenses were in line with budgeted expectations. Details of the financial status of the association are available from the main office. AHEAD’s financial records and books are audited annually. The 2011 audit was performed by McCafferty and Company.

During 2011 severe weather caused many registrants from traveling to the Management Institute. Losses were recouped through event insurance. Additionally, a change to the contract for the 2015 conference scheduled for Orlando resulted in change fees being paid to AHEAD.

During 2011 AHEAD awarded seven $1,000 scholarships to disabled students and disability professionals.

AHEAD continues in its capacity as executive office for Society for Disability Studies which is a revenue as well as expertise source. The AHEAD/SDS contract runs through 2015.

Respectfully prepared by Jean Ashmore, President 2010-2012