2020 Management Institutes - February 6-8

The Embassy Suites
by Hilton Tampa Downtown Convention Center

513 South Florida Avenue
Tampa, Florida 33602


**Only Institute #4 on Grant Writing is open for Registration; other Institutes are filled
Institute Faculty

Host Hotel
Costs & Registration Information
Inside of a session room during the 2019 Management Institutes


AHEAD is pleased to announce its annual Management and TRiO Institutes. Once again, five in-depth, 13-hour hour Institutes on contemporary issues in disability services in higher education will be offered. This year, we are excited to add new Saturday morning programming: an taste of a second content area. The five, two-day Institutes cover a range of topics for disability service professionals, student affairs staff and administrators, TRiO personnel, and anyone working toward equity in higher education. AHEAD’s Management Institutes offer an intimate setting, hands-on learning, networking opportunities, and experienced faculty that bring attendees back year after year. Each attendee chooses ONE two-day Institute for an in-depth focus on a specific topic and ONE Saturday morning workshop. We hope you can join us this year.

The following five in-depth sessions will be offered this year (choose ONE):

  • Institute #1: Comprehensive Assessment of Disability Resource Offices: The Tools, Techniques, and Strategies
  • Institute #2: Disability Law for DSS Directors, Staff, and ADA Officers: Compliance requirements, analytical tools, and solutions
  • Institute #3: An Introduction to Managing Accommodations for Students in Health Science and Professional Education
  • Institute #4: Writing to Win! Mastering Program Planning, Fund Research, and Proposal Composition Strategies
  • Institute #5: Removing Roadblocks to Learning, Retention, and Graduation for All TRIO Students

Saturday Bonus Presentations

Our Saturday morning programming offers participants the opportunity to learn outside their primary area of registration. The following three two-hour sessions will be offered. Participants will choose ONE Saturday morning option.

  1. Key Issues in Accommodation Decision-Making
    Jamie Axelrod, M.S., Northern Arizona University
    Paul Grossman, J.D., Hastings College of Law

    We will look at three key issues that commonly arise in OCR letters and court cases: individualization, the interactive process, and fundamental alteration determination. Focusing your office practices on these important concepts will help you make more informed and helpful decisions when working with students and faculty. (This content will be repetitive for participants in Institute #2)


  1. Field Placements, Clinicals, Rotations, Student Teaching, and Internships: Oh My!
    Elisa Laird-Metke, J.D., Samuel Merritt University
    Jon McGough, M.Ed., Western Washington University

    This two-hour presentation will address creating access for students in multiple types of off-campus educational sites. The topics we'll cover include: 

    •  How the ADA applies to students in educational sites away from campus,
    •  Gaining knowledge to create appropriate accommodations by building collaborative partners,             gaining  familiarity with clinical sites, and creating a personal toolkit,
    •  Proactive planning with students,
    •  What technical standards are and how to use them in your work.
    Plenty of time will be reserved for Q&A. (This content will be fairly repetitive for participants in Institute #3)

  1. Introduction to LD Diagnostic Testing
    Rhonda Rapp, Ph.D., St. Mary’s University

    While diagnostic test reports for learning disabilities can vary widely, they all share basic characteristics. This session will provide a guided journey through the commonalities of a “typical” learning disability diagnostic testing report. The various components of a typical report will be covered, along with their uses and significance. We will discuss background information, behavioral observations, information that is highlighted by individual tests and subtests, and the evaluator’s conclusions. A case study will illustrate the information.

Instruction Schedule- 15-hours total of direct instruction: 13-hours in selected content area and 2-hour Saturday bonus presentations.

9:00 – 5:30 pm: Thursday, February 6th  Selected Institute (breaks: 10:30-10:45 & 3:30-3:45; lunch 12:30-2:00)
9:00 – 5:30 pm:  Friday, February 7th Selected Institute (breaks: 10:30-10:45 & 3:30-3:45; lunch 12:30-2:00)
9:00 am - 11:00 am:  Saturday, February 8th BONUS Snapshot presentations

AHEAD has applied for CRCC continuing education credit for all programs and offers a certificate of attendance for interested participants.

Registration includes full breakfast on Thursday and Friday and morning and afternoon beverage breaks.

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Institute #1: Comprehensive Assessment of Disability Resource Offices: The Tools, Techniques, and Strategies

Ann Knettler, M.A., Delaware State University
Jill Sieben-Schneider, Ed.D., University of Colorado Boulder

Increasingly, disability resource professionals are expected to participate actively in their institution’s assessment plans, documenting the effectiveness of their offices and, often, its impact on students. This Institute will introduce essential elements of a successful, usable plan for designing a comprehensive assessment strategy that will give you the tools necessary for both continual improvement and addressing requests from administration. We’ll outline program review components, types of and uses for standards, essential data to incorporate, and external and internal approaches to effective review practices.

Evaluating any service starts with identifying a well-articulated purpose for the review, understanding professional standards, and incorporating thoughtful planning for use of review results. The presenters will take attendees through a step-by-step process for developing these elements, providing examples and opportunities for application and networking.

Attendees will learn about the use of professional standards as foundational tools necessary for a program review, how program elements and a comprehensive review benefit from the use of outcome data, how to use data so that it talks for you, and how to understand the difference between a basic program summary that reports numbers and a full blown review that can be a strategic planning tool. Constructing and measuring outcomes, both of program elements and student learning, will be presented and explained. Program Standards from both AHEAD and the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) standards will provide a framework. Student learning outcome theory will be explored and examples for incorporating this paradigm into disability resource work provided.

Presentations components include:

  • Rationale for program review
  • Using data to inform practice
  • Tools for assessing the effectiveness of disability resource offices
  • Means for presenting program review findings to management.
  • Resources from AHEAD and CAS

Attendees will have the opportunity to plan steps to take at their own institutions for planning and executing a program review.

Institute #2: Introduction to Disability Law for DSS Directors, Staff, and ADA Officers

Paul Grossman, J.D., Hastings College of Law
Jamie Axelrod, M.S., Northern Arizona University
Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D., California State University Sacramento

Back by popular demand, this updated two-day AHEAD Institute will give DS, ADA, disability law practitioners, and compliance professionals a comprehensive introduction to postsecondary student disability law, including the requirements of the Americans Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act. There is simple no way to anticipate every question or scenario that will arise in implementing these laws. Consequently, our mission is to provide each participant with a series of comprehensive frameworks, “analytical paradigms,” and procedural tools for addressing the broad range of legal questions they are likely to encounter. The courts and the Office for Civil Rights often devote more scrutiny to the processes colleges and universities use to reach their decisions than to the decisions themselves. Accordingly, this course will also present the procedures most likely to receive agency approval and deference.

We will begin by placing the responsibilities of disability services into its civil rights context with a review of the history of discrimination against individuals with disabilities and the emergence of the disability rights movement in America. Participants will learn what legal traditions and concepts all antidiscrimination laws share and what is unique to disability law – knowledge useful to convincing administrators and faculty of the importance of the DSS mission.

Our next step will be to focus on the critical question of who is “a qualified individual with a disability” (QID), the issue underlying about 80% of all post-secondary student disability cases. This includes focusing on who is “an individual with a disability” under the ADA as amended and what the courts and DOJ tell us about documentation of disability. The class will proceed to the second element of the QID paradigm, “qualification:” whether a student with a disability can meet the essential academic and technical requirements of the institution, with or without reasonable accommodation, “academic adjustments and auxiliary aids.” This will include which accommodations are “necessary” and “reasonable” and which are not because they either entail a “fundamental alteration” or an “undue burden.” Particular attention will be paid to those accommodations that pertain to individuals with visual, print, and hearing disabilities.

We will analyze recent court decisions and OCR letters and settlement agreements, whose discernible theme is that colleges and universities should never deny an accommodation to qualified students with disabilities without first engaging in a case-by-case (“individualized” and “interactive”) consideration process of the requested accommodation, even if implementing the accommodation would require making an exception or modification to a long-existing rule, practice, policy, or assumption.

In each stage of the course, we will apply these foundational concepts to cutting-edge legal developments in some of the most challenging and complex issues that face DS offices. Throughout the Institute, opportunities to apply concepts will be provided through discussions of recent cases.

Institute #3: An Introduction to Managing Accommodations for Students in Health Science and Professional Education

Elisa Laird-Metke, Samuel Merritt University
Jon McGough, M.Ed., Western Washington University 

This training will provide management guidance for new disability office practitioners or those with some experience but new to health sciences and will include a refresher in accommodation principles as they are applied in health sciences. This training is developed as part of an introductory and advanced series that can be taken individually or as part of the series. The introductory training builds a foundation and prepares participants for the case-based advanced course on health science accommodations that will be offered by AHEAD in May 2020 in Portland, Oregon as part of its Next Chapter: Master Classes for Seasoned Professionals.

Schools that offer health science programs, whether 2-year, 4-year, or graduate programs, face unique challenges when creating reasonable accommodations for health science and professional students with disabilities. This introduction to disability accommodations in the health sciences will provide an overview of how to address complex accommodation requests in classroom, lab, and clinical environments. Common challenges include the lock-step nature of most programs, determining appropriate accommodations in patient care settings, meeting technical standards, and proactive planning to anticipate accommodation needs in clinical environments. College personnel involved in creating access for all types of health science programs will benefit from this training, including professional graduate, bachelors, and one or two-year and technical degrees in fields such as medicine, podiatry, nursing, dental, pharmacy, speech/language, physical or occupational therapy, physical assistant, veterinary, or other programs. 

The presenters will cover the basic tenets of practicing in these specializations, including the most relevant OCR decisions and court cases, and participants will have opportunities to work through basic scenarios. Each day will end with dedicated time for Q&A.

Throughout the two days, participants will gain:

  • a practical overview of disability laws and how they apply to the health sciences, with particular attention to how disability laws relate to health science clinical accommodations;
  • an understanding of the interactive process that occurs between disability professionals, faculty, staff, and the student when determining reasonable accommodations in clinical and lab environments (such as fieldwork, internships, clerkships, preceptorships, etc., as well as OSCEs, sim labs, cadaver labs, etc.);
  • information on how to identify when a potential accommodation may affect the integrity of the learning outcomes, compromise patient safety, or challenge technical standards;
  • an appreciation of the importance of having clear, written policies and procedures available to prospective students, as well as to recently admitted and currently enrolled students;
  • tips for developing clear processes for faculty and staff;
  • ideas for how to work with students and faculty to improve communication around disability-related needs and implementing accommodations;
  • skills for training faculty, including “myth busting” regarding students with disabilities in health science programs and addressing common concerns about patient safety, essential requirements, and technical standards, and advising faculty and administrators who may instinctively slip from the role of faculty into their roles as health care providers when working with students with disabilities.
Participants will leave this training with tools to aid in decision-making, policy development, and leading faculty/staff development trainings.

Institute #4: Writing to Win! Mastering Program Planning, Fund Research, and Proposal Composition Strategies

 Stephan Smith, AHEAD

As traditional funding sources for quality, inventive programs and services become evermore scarce, the absolute need for higher education disability professionals to have refined abilities in program planning, funding research, and proposal writing is increasingly essential. Through a combination of expert lecture, interactive exercises, and practical activities, participants in this highly engaging Institute will become adept in the crucial skills necessary to research, plan, and deliver effective grant proposals.

Participants will immerse themselves in an “apply while learning and learn while applying” model through working on the fundamentals of their self-chosen, real-world proposal throughout the workshop time.

The institute content will focus on three major areas:

  1. Essential elements and processes of program planning
    This institute is centered in the understanding that “it’s all about the program.” This intensive course will teach professional program development essentials and program evaluation. Most grant writing “workshops” address program development and evaluation as separate from the writing of a proposal; this institute will build on the crucial relationship between overall program planning and grant writing.
  2. Funding and support research
    This institute will address the essential elements of foundation, corporation, and government grant research. The research process will be addressed as a strategic approach that focuses on research as an integrated part of the grant seeking process. This program will teach participants how to use research as a crucial component of the strategic grant acquisition effort.
  3. Professional quality grant composition
    This program is specifically designed to benefit both the novice and experienced grant proposal writer or program planner. In addition to addressing the basic components of a grant proposal, this institute is infused with expert principles that will lead to a mastery of the process. Strategy resides at the forefront of this institute’s intent to illustrate grant writing as an integrated, multidimensional, and dynamic endeavor.

Participants will complete the two-day Institute with a thorough understanding of the holistic approach necessary to secure funding through quality program planning, research, and grant proposal writing.

Institute #5: Removing Roadblocks to Learning, Retention, and Graduation for All TRIO Students

Rhonda H. Rapp, Ph.D., St. Mary’s University

This intermediate to advanced level TRIO Training Institute will focus on providing programming, strategies, activities, and shared practices that address the changing landscape of education (at all levels), as well as changing student populations. Focus will be on emerging Latinx populations, men of color, students with disabilities, individuals in the foster care system, and LGBTQ students. Topics include, but aren’t limited to, metacognition, Bloom’s Taxonomy, the learning cycle, academic coaching, inclusivity, accessibility, social and cultural capital, and the formation of non-cognitive skills (i.e., grit, perseverance, etc.) in a framework of creating long-term learning and success for all TRiO students.

Students of all abilities and backgrounds want educational experiences that are inclusive, accessible, and formative and that convey respect. Since their inception, TRIO programs have provided a diverse array of successful educational experiences and programming for a wide variety of learners. However, the educational landscape is changing and so are the students. It is no longer enough to “get an education.” Higher education, graduate schools, professional schools, and future employers expect not only well-educated individuals but also life-long learners with grit and perseverance who know how they learn and how to enhance their learning. Learning is not just a destination; it is a life-long adventure!

Staff from all levels of TRIO programs are encouraged to not only attend but to help create the group’s cadre of shared practices. This will be hands-on, development-focused Institute. You are encouraged to dress comfortably – think: what could I get paint, glue, glitter, etc. all over and it would be OK and/or what could I wear so that I can sit on the floor?

If you have any questions about this Institute focused on TRIO personnel and the programming, services, and activities that TRIO programs provide, please contact Rhonda H. Rapp at: rrapp2@stmarytx.edu.

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Jamie Axelrod
Jamie Axelrod, M.S. is the Director of Disability Resources at Northern Arizona University and President of AHEAD. Jamie presents regularly on topics related to disability access and higher education, having expertise in disability law and policy, communication and information technology (ICT) access, and the reasonable accommodation process. Jamie is a respected contributor to professional listservs, having received the Fink-Ryan Award for the quality of his guidance, and a go-to consultant for complex issues. He has worked for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s athletic department, as a mental health therapist, and for Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc., a disability rights advocacy law firm where he served as an advocate for individuals with disabilities who were claiming that their civil rights had been violated. Jamie has served as co-chair of Northern Arizona University’s Commission on Disability Access and Design and on AHEAD’s Board of Directors.

Paul Grossman
Paul Grossman, J.D. served as a civil rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), serving as its Chief Regional Attorney in San Francisco for 30 years. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Disability Law at Hasting College of Law, University of California, and a member of the AHEAD Board of Directors, the Public Policy Committee of the Association for Children and Adults with AD/HD (CHADD), and the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) Expert Advisory Board. Dr. Grossman has worked on every type of education discrimination and investigated, written decisions, and settled hundreds of disability discrimination cases, often developing new approaches to protecting students with disabilities. He is the coauthor of The Law of Disability Discrimination (8th Edition) and its companion publication, Law of Disability Discrimination Handbook: Statues and Regulatory Guidance.

Ann Knettler
Ann Knettler, M.A., ABD. oversees Student Accessibility Services at Delaware State University and teaches in their Master of Public Administration Program. She also represents AHEAD as a member of the Board of Directors for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS).  Ann is a published researcher who has been in the Disability Services field for over 12 years and is an experienced presenter and educator. Her passions include student empowerment, education, online accessibility, fostering inclusion and collaboration, the college to career transition for students with disabilities, and promoting a campus culture that embraces disability as another aspect of diversity. Ann received a Master’s of Arts in Counseling in Higher Education with an emphasis in Mental Health from the University of Delaware and is currently pursuing her Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in Higher Education from Delaware State University. Her dissertation focuses on the lived experiences of ableism and able-body privilege by students with disabilities in higher education and the impact that experience has on their receipt of an accessible and equitable educational experience.


Elisa Laird-Metke
Elisa Laird-Metke, J.D. is the Director of the Disability Resource Center at Samuel Merritt University, an institution devoted exclusively to heath science education. She previously worked at the University of California, San Francisco and Golden Gate University School of Law. She is the Legal Advisor for the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education, a national collaboration among peer institutions that develops and disseminates best practices regarding disability accommodations in health science and medical education programs. She has worked as a university Deaf Services Coordinator/Interpreter and later as a disability rights attorney and public health policy attorney before returning to university disability resources. Elisa’s extensive background in law, disability, and public health provide her with a unique perspective on the future of disability in higher education. She is a seasoned presenter and author of numerous publications.

Jon  McGough
Jon McGough, M.Ed. manages the Disability Access Center at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He was previously the Associate Director of the Disability Resources for Students office at the University of Washington - Seattle, working with students in the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. Jon served on the Board of the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education and is Past-President of the Washington Association on Postsecondary Education and Disability. He has over 10 years’ experience in higher education, determining accommodations and providing consultation on ADA compliance matters of digital and physical access. Jon’s adventures in disability services began on a construction crew specializing in custom home modifications for people with disabilities and evolved into a career of disability rights work.

Rhonda Rapp
Rhonda Rapp, Ph.D. iis currently the Director of a TRiO-Student Support Services program and Adjunct Faculty member at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. She is a former Director of Disability Services and former Lead Trainer for a TRiO Training grant. Dr. Rapp has been in the field of disability services for over 30 years and has provided a variety of services for students with disabilities including psychoeducational assessments, accommodation prescription and implementation, academic advising, career counseling, transition services, and individual and group counseling. She has also created and presented training focused on working with students with disabilities for faculty (kindergarten through postsecondary) and support personnel. Besides working full time at St. Mary’s University, she is also the disability consultant for the Kamehameha School System in Hawaii and a Technical Advisor for the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).

Stephan Smith
Stephan Smith is the Executive Director of the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD), where he directs overall operations, public engagement, member services, funding, and external relations. Recognizing that collaboration and contribution are keys to advancement for any good cause, Stephan invests heavily in serving on numerous boards of directors, advisory and executive committees, and steering councils for national and international organizations and programs that work to eliminate barriers to equity for disabled people in education and society. An essential part of his work with AHEAD includes staying abreast of funding opportunities, establishing relationships with government and non-governmental partners, and writing grant applications. Stephan is currently involved in initiatives including postsecondary opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, effective transition to employment, and advancing postsecondary educations’ corporate understanding of disability and social responsibility.

Jill Sieben-Schneider
Jill Sieben-Schneider, Ed.D. is the Associate Director of Disability Services, under the Health and Wellness unit in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Colorado Boulder. Jill is an instructor in the graduate school and teaches a disability in higher education course at CU Boulder and is the past Chair for the Colorado Wyoming Association for Higher Education and Disability. Jill serves as a reviewer on the editorial board for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (JPED) and as an AHEAD representative on the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education board. She was the Program Chair for the 2016 International AHEAD conference. She previously worked at the McBurney Disability Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in the Disability Services at Ball State University, and taught in Denver Public Schools.

Mary Lee Vance
Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. is the Director of Services to Students with Disabilities at California State University Sacramento. In her career, she has served at every level of higher education, in a wide range of postsecondary positions, as well as in academia. At the University of California, Berkeley, Mary Lee served as the Director of the Disabled Students’ Program (DSP) Student Support Services TRiO program, as well as the DSP Associate Director. She has also directed disability services at University of Montana, George Mason University, along with its two-year satellite campuses, and the University of Wisconsin, Superior. In addition to disability services, Mary Lee has directed other student services units, including academic advisement and career services, and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including an introduction to disability studies. She is the co-editor of two books: Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Proactively Planning for Accessible Post-Secondary Educational Offerings, Now and into the Future; Advising Students with Disabilities: Developing Universal Success; and editor of DISABLED Faculty and Staff in a Disabling Society: Multiple Perspectives in Higher Education. Mary Lee has served over ten years as a reviewer for the NACADA refereed journal and is currently a reviewer for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. She has published in several journals, texts, and other publications and has an extensive presentation history. Mary Lee was recently recognized by AHEAD and CAPED, with their respective Professional Recognition awards.

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Host Hotel

Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown Convention Center


Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown Convention Center

513 South Florida Avenue, Tampa, Florida, 33602

All events and housing for the 2020 AHEAD Management Institutes will be at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa Downtown Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Nestled in the heart of Downtown Tampa, Embassy Suites Tampa Downtown Convention Center welcomes you to a newly renovated, vibrant, and contemporary guest experience.

AHEAD has secured a discounted block of sleeping rooms for the Management Institutes at a group rate of $195.00 + tax per night for single or double occupancy. DAILY RESORT FEE IS WAIVED FOR AHEAD ATTENDEES. Reservations must be made no later than Wednesday, January 15th, 2020. You are welcome to make reservations by visiting: http://embassysuites.hilton.com/en/es/groups/personalized/T/TPAESES-AHD-20200205/index.jhtml or by calling 813-769-8300 and using group code ADH.

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Costs & Registration Information

Received On or Before Dec. 20, 2019 Received After Dec. 20, 2020
AHEAD or TRiO Member $475 $575
Non-Member $575 $675


Registration includes all materials, full breakfast on Thursday and Friday, and beverage morning and afternoon breaks each day of the Institutes. Travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and additional meals are not included in the registration fee. Refunds can only be provided for cancellations received in writing on or before December 20, 2019. A $75.00 administrative fee will be charged for all cancellations. We regret that no refunds can be issued after December 20, 2019 for any reason but can be transferred to another attendee from the same institution.


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