2008 AHEAD Strategic Plan

Revised April, 2008


The following is presented on behalf of, and for the benefit
of, the Association on Higher Education And Disability
(AHEAD) to provide a public frame of reference and planning
tool for the short-, mid-, and long-term goals of the Association.

In the spring of 2004, the Board of Directors adopted
a mission statement for AHEAD and created a three-year
plan focused on the priorities of the Association at the
time. Through careful planning and implementation, the
majority of goals and objectives outlined in that document
have been achieved. Therefore, the Board of Directors has
concluded that it is in the Association’s best interest
to invest in thoughtful revision and visionary development
of a new strategic planning initiative to guide AHEAD in
its continuing growth.

In March 2008, following careful review of the progress
made under the 2004 plan, the Board spent considerable
time in the creation of a new Strategic Plan. Presented
here is the framework under which AHEAD will direct its
resources and attention as the Association serves as
the leading voice of professionals who work in the field
disability in higher education. The following strategic
priorities, goals and objectives are framed by three
core components which represent the overarching philosophical
and intellectual constructs under which AHEAD serves:
vision, mission and values.

AHEAD is committed to serving its members and the broader
stakeholder groups that are integral to higher education
and disability through active leadership,
quality products and services, forthright representation, collaborative advocacy,
and optimally effective stewardship of resources.


The following Vision, Mission and Values
statements articulate the cornerstones that direct and
shape all
of the Association’s work.

  • The Vision provides
    the ultimate organizational direction;
  • The Mission provides
    clarity of understanding regarding organizational definition;
  • The Values provide the Association’s
    unique lens of essential belief.

While each is of equal and unique importance, they provide
the clearest direction, understanding and impact when viewed
as a whole.

AHEAD’s Vision:

AHEAD envisions educational and societal environments that
value disability and embody equality of opportunity.

AHEAD’s Mission:

AHEAD is the premiere professional association committed
to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary
education. As an international resource, AHEAD:

  • values diversity, personal growth and development,
    and creativity
  • promotes leadership and exemplary practices
  • provides professional development and disseminates
  • orchestrates resources
    through partnership and collaboration

AHEAD dynamically addresses current and emerging issues
with respect to disability, education, and accessibility
to achieve universal access.

AHEAD values:

  • Philosophy, thinking, and paradigms that view
    disability as the interaction between person and environment
  • Diversity
    within all aspects of the Association;
  • Equitable, sustainable, and usable postsecondary environments;
  • Professionals who respect and nourish student autonomy
    and work as allies to design inclusive communities;
  • Organizational strength
    that sustains essential resources and supports growth.


In pursuit of the vision, working within the mission,
and guided by its core values, AHEAD will pursue five
areas of vitality and growth. Crafted to direct flexible,
informed, and dynamic impact and success, the five major
areas of concentration include:

  • Organizational
  • National and global leadership,
  • Infusion of diversity,
  • Professional development,
  • Resource provision.

The following five goals and their supporting objectives
provide the ideological and intentional framework that
will support the Association’s ensuing work.

Goal I: The promotion of a dynamic, healthy organization

  • To continually explore
    and develop new services, markets, and resources to
    further AHEAD’s mission
  • To continue to diversify
    and expand sources of revenue
  • To expand visibility,
    public awareness and political capital
  • To increase
    market prominence and penetration
  • To capitalize on
    the expertise of members and identify and develop emerging
  • To model good business practices, governmental
    excellence, and operational transparency

Goal II: The provision of leadership in national and
global arenas as it relates to higher education

  • To continually assess, evaluate and refine
    the Association’s
    effectiveness as a national and international leader
    in issues of disability in higher education
  • To engage
    in meaningful and innovative research that informs
    the continuing development of disability services
    in higher education
  • To anticipate and address emerging
    issues related to access to higher education
  • To define
    and refine the understanding of the skills, knowledge,
    and abilities needed to be successful in
    the variety of roles represented by disability service professionals
  • To create
    and disseminate relevant best practice models
  • To influence legislative agendas in ways that are
    consistent with AHEAD’s vision and mission
  • To
    articulate and promote a respectful and empowering
    philosophy of disability
  • To be present and visible
    in strategic venues where actions and policies are
  • To model optimal policies and practices related
    to issues of disability

Goal III: The deliberate and consistent infusion of
diversity into all aspects of the Association

  • To actively strive to understand and value
    the unique identities represented within the membership,
    education, and society
  • To engage in discourse related
    to, and provide multiple forums for, members to express
    various aspects of
    their identities
  • To explore the intersection of disability and diversity
  • To create and disseminate models of best practice
    related to issues of diversity, disability and higher
  • To promote membership representation from
    a broad range of postsecondary education institutional
    and professional stakeholder groups
  • To provide opportunities for professional
    development that will increase knowledge and skills
    to working with diverse student populations

GOAL IV: The provision and support of varied
professional development opportunities to enhance members’ knowledge,
skills, and abilities

  • To conduct needs assessment to continually
    refine and enhance professional development opportunities
    and preferred
    delivery methods
  • To infuse and promote progressive
    conceptualizations of disability and disability services
    in all professional
    development activities
  • To develop and deliver professional
    development and training activities in a variety of
    formats to maximize accessibility,
    affordability and effectiveness
  • To offer, at a minimum,
    national, regional and audio conferences, Internet-based
    trainings, and individual
    consultation and support
  • To expand the professional
    identity, leadership skills, and influence of members
  • To provide networking and mentoring opportunities
  • To collaborate with national and international organizations
    and institutions to increase professional development
    opportunities and AHEAD’s sphere of influence

GOAL V: The creation, dissemination, and provision of
current, high-quality resources addressing disability
and higher education

  • To identify and create resources that meet
    the current and future needs and development of members,
    stakeholder constituencies, allied organizations,
    and public service proponents
  • To challenge the membership
    and evolve the field through the creation and distribution
    of professional materials
    that represent the leading edge in service delivery
  • To produce and disseminate a growing variety of
    high-quality publications for sale
  • To publish a scholarly,
    professional journal quarterly
  • To publish bi-monthly,
    electronic newsletters that include timely topics and
    challenge the membership with cutting-edge
  • To develop and expand an effective Website
    that offers ready access to necessary information as
    a member
  • To sponsor and guide research that expands capacity
    through the creation and evaluation of knowledge and
  • To serve as a clearinghouse for resources