2020 The Next Chapter: Master Classes for the Seasoned Professional

Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center; Portland, Oregon
May 19-21, 2020

The Next Chapter
is AHEAD’s advanced professional development event for highly experienced higher education personnel who work to ensure accessible campus environments. Each three-day master class is designed to expand the knowledge of seasoned professionals, supporting them in making nuanced decisions, staying current with legal changes, engaging campus stakeholders, and/or exploring foundational concepts that underpin our work. To encourage an expansive exploration of concepts, apply academic thought and legal principles to daily work, and support collegial networking, all master classes include significant opportunity for engagement and hands-on-learning.


Tuesday, May 19 (6 hours of instruction)

  • 8:00-9:00 Full, buffet breakfast (provided)
  • 9:00-5:30- Master Classes
  • Morning (10:30-11:00) and afternoon (3:30-4:00) refreshment breaks
  • Lunch (12:30-2:00) on your own

Wednesday, May 20 (5 hours of instruction)

  • 9:00-4:00- Master Classes
  • Morning (10:30-11:00) refreshment break
  • Lunch (12:30-2:00) on your own

Thursday, May 21 (5 hours of instruction)

  • 9:00-4:00- Master Classes
  • Morning (10:30-11:00) refreshment break
  • Lunch (12:30-2:00) on your own

The cost of the program includes breakfast on Tuessday, refreshment breaks, and conference materials.

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Session Descriptions

MC1: Disability Resources in Health Science Programs: Advanced Training for Equal Access

Lisa M. Meeks, Ph.D., M.A., University of Michigan Medical School
Jan Serrantino, Ed.D., Meeks and Company Consulting

Health sciences programs are high stakes, multi-layered, nuanced and complex. This poses unique challenges for disability resource professionals, especially those unfamiliar with the culture and hierarchy of clinical education. This master class will empower participants by refining their expertise on disability in health science programs and giving them the tools they need to skillfully ensure equal access for qualified students with disabilities.

This case-based training is highly interactive and dynamic, utilizing elements of problem-based learning (PBL) and role play, drawing on actual cases, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) complaints and resolutions, and Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance, The AAMC report on disability and Dr. Meeks’ newest book Disability as Diversity: A Guidebook for Inclusion in Medicine, Nursing, and the Health Professions.

The course goes beyond the scope of disability practice and covers several advanced topics, to be finalized by group needs, but may include the following topics: 

  • Didactics, anatomy labs, clinical rotations, standardized patient exams, and board exams.
  •  Dynamics of relationship building in clinical education
  • Disability as a function of diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Wellbeing and disability
  • Develop sound and meaningful technical standards-including a general review and self-study, group exercises, and an editing session with the facilitators
  • An introduction to advanced assistive technologies
  • Responding to complaints and appeals
  • The use of inclusive Language
  • Support and preparation for board exams
  • Forward facing messages (websites, policies, orientation materials)

A copy of Dr. Meeks’ book and the AAMC Special Report Accessibility, Action, and Inclusion in Medical Education will be included with registration for this course.

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MC2: Disability Law: Lessons in Application for the Advanced Disability Professional

Jamie Axelrod, M.S., Northern Arizona University
Paul D. Grossman, J.D., OCR, Chief Regional Civil Rights Attorney, San Francisco, retired; University of California, Hastings College of Law
Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D., California State University Sacramento

The higher education environment and the legal concepts intended to ensure its accessibility are multi-faceted and ever-changing. It can sometimes feel as though the more we know, the more challenging it can be to find the salient issues in novel situations and apply the relevant legal concepts. Nonetheless, the law is an effective tool for both securing students’ civil rights and setting limits. 

This advanced training will highlight long-standing and widely-accepted judicial precedents and principles, as well as the latest decisions on emerging issues, and provide an interactive exploration of their practical implications. We will succinctly cover the law, including cutting-edge principles, and facilitate best practice discussions through multiple case scenarios. Within a team of experienced colleagues, you will have the opportunity to become facile with the law by applying it to realistic and complex hypothetical questions, sharing your ideas and solutions and exploring approaches to effective implementation. Together with your colleagues and the presenters, you will explore these difficult issues and assess practical policies, processes, and procedures that provide effective access in accordance with legal obligations. Many of our hypotheticals will be based on OCR/DOJ findings, letters, and court decisions that reflect common and recurring situations; participant scenarios are also welcome.

This certificate-bearing master class will include 16-hours of face-to-face discussion and instruction. Participants will be sent four seminal rulings related to disability law in postsecondary education to review prior to our time together. The training is fast-paced and assumes competence in the basics of the ADA and disability resources. Therefore, participants must have a solid background in applying disability access principles in higher education; on-site work will focus on application in the following areas:

  • DOJ Title II and Title III regulations concerning who is an individual with a disability, including the emphasis on “condition, manner, and duration” analysis
  • An advanced walk through the regulations
  • Review of basic claims and defenses
  • Who is a qualified individual with a disability?
  • Individualization and interaction in the development of accommodations
  • Fundamental alteration and undue burden process and procedures
  • How the courts may be using “programs as a whole” language in the regulations as a limitation on program access
  • Service animals and ESAs
  • Internships and field work
  • Self-injurious students
  • Discipline of students with disabilities
  • Grievance and complaint procedures
  • Veterans issues
  • Digital equality
  • Responding to sexual violence
  • Students on the autism spectrum

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MC3: Working with Faculty to Facilitate an Understanding of Accommodations

Nicole Ofiesh, PhD, Stanford University and Potentia Institute21
Christy Lendman, PhD, Stanford University and Independent Consultant

As disability service personnel, many of us encounter faculty members who are reluctant or resistant to  accommodations. While the level of this resistance may vary based on the structure and mission of the institution, most of us have had to confront some level of faculty push-back in our work. In addressing concerns, we may have resorted to the simple explanation that accommodations are legally mandated. While this is true, the ability to go beyond the legal explanation to describe the science behind providing accommodations is crucial to having our opinions valued and to developing campus allies. When we work with, instead of against, faculty resistance, we can make a positive difference in our school’s climate and the stigma so often associated with disability.

To facilitate change takes both knowledge of the research on accommodations and perspective shifting. We must understand faculty members’ concerns and address them head-on. Only then can we affect change so that the role of accommodations is understood, students have equitable experiences, and faculty begin to see the benefit of designing inclusive learning experiences.

This 16-hour, interactive, research-based certificate program is designed to equip disability service personnel with the knowledge and practice they need to facilitate a better understanding of accommodations with resistant faculty. As the most commonly requested and resisted accommodation, we will focus much of our time on test accommodations and take lessons from that area into other faculty-based conversations. This focus will increase participant’s knowledge and awareness of the cognitive and behaviorial science behind accommodations and support them in making better accommodation decisions. Perhaps even most importantly, sharing the information can help students gain greater insight into how they learn and why accommodations meet their unique needs.

Key questions that will guide our work include:

  • Why is extended time so often recommended?
  • What are the key areas of cognition and behavior that we accommodate in higher education?
  • How does anxiety and depression impact a person in the classroom and on tests?  
  • How does ADHD impact a person in the classroom and on tests?
  • Is a reading disorder the same as dyslexia, and do they affect reading performance?
  • Why do deaf individuals need extended time to read?
  • What are faculty most concerned about and how can we answer those concerns?
  • How do accommodations change in the online environment?
  • How do we begin conversations with faculty who are reluctant?
  • How do we address faculty’s key concerns with empathy but also build empathy for why the accommodation is needed from a research-based perspective?
  • What types of materials can we generate to help faculty understand that accommodations are more than a legal mandate?
  • How can we move the needle on inclusion for all learners using our knowledge of cognitive diversity?

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MC4: Advanced Practices for Data Use in the Disability Resource Office

Sally Scott, Ph.D., AHEAD
Kaela Parks, Portland Community College
Randall Ward, Purdue University 

In an age of accountability, disability resource professionals are often placed in a position of having to prove the effectiveness of the office, justify use of resources, and document the value of their work to support the division or campus mission. As offices are asked to do more with less, data becomes an essential tool for understanding the impact of diminishing resources on students. It also opens doors for creating greater awareness of the work of the disability resource office across campus. This master class will challenge participants to take a critical look at their data collection practices, share and explore innovative approaches to data use, and consider new ways to expand their own professional growth through the use of data in their work. 

This master class will begin with a critical examination of everyday data collection practices. Is your data collection mired in old ways of thinking about disability? Just because you can measure something, does that mean you should? How can the old adage, what gets measured gets done, inform our data collection?

After setting the stage with critical conversation around what data we collect and why, we move into a focus on becoming a data power user.  Using both participant and facilitator expertise and experience, we will explore using data in strategic ways in our work to advocate, educate, collaborate, and evaluate.    Each approach will begin with an introductory discussion of effective practices followed by samples, models, and resources. Participants will identify the challenges and successes on their own campuses and select elements to bring back to their own setting. 

From this foundation of exploring a broad repertoire of data use and applications to benefit the work of your office, how can you continue to advance your data use practices? Our focus will shift to ways you can share data-based practices through professional venues. Are you ready to present your data at a professional conference? Have you thought about writing up your work for possible publication?  Opportunities, tips, and resources will be shared for stepping up your data-based practices, joining the professional dialogue in new ways, and pushing your own growing edge of professional practice.

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MC5: Concomitant Disabilities: Learning Disabilities and Other Disabilities Considerations and Next Steps

Rhonda Rapp, Ph.D., Educational Consultant

Providing services for students with learning disabilities is usually fairly straightforward. However, more and more students with learning disabilities are entering college with one or more disabilities concomitant to the learning disability. This seems to be happening because larger numbers of diagnosticians are conducting diagnostic workups without preconceived ideas of what the individual’s disability might be. Plus, K-12 districts and doctors are realizing that individuals “on the spectrum” are in groups of one; the entire population does not have the same mix of strengths and areas of opportunity. Just like individuals with learning disabilities, those who have attention disabilities and psychological disabilities and those on spectrum should have a complete diagnostic assessment to understand how disability uniquely impacts them.

While diagnostic assessments and the reports generated from diagnostic assessment share basic commonalities, the impact (functional limitations) of each uncovered disability may require very different accommodations and related services. 

This case-based training will be highly interactive and provide a guided journey through the ins and outs of diagnostic testing reports of individuals with one or more learning disabilities and one or more additional disabilities.

The 16-hour, in-depth training goes beyond basic knowledge of diagnostic testing and testing reports and assumes experience in using diagnostic test reports to ascribe accommodations and understand educational implications for students with learning disabilities, attention disabilities, and psychological disabilities and for students on the spectrum.  

To ensure appropriate background, all registrants will be sent the recording of AHEAD’s webinar Learning Disability Diagnostic Testing Reports: What Does it All Mean? (December 2018) and should watch it prior to the master class. The webinar will provide foundational information for the class, including:

  • What is the true purpose of diagnostic testing?  Not what the testing results are used for, but the purpose of the testing itself.
  • What is tested by various subtests of a diagnostic testing battery?
  • Possible weaknesses of diagnostic tests and diagnostic testing reports and how to overcome them.
  • Where is the most important information is in the testing report?
  • What do you do when the testing data contradicts itself?
  • What should you consider, if anything, when two or more disabilities are uncovered by the testing, especially if the disabilities are disparate?

With this common background, we will take the next steps in analyzing what can be gleaned from individual students’ assessment reports. Registrants will have the opportunity to bring anonymous diagnostic test reports with them to enrich the conversation and ensure that it is both practical and relevant as well as theoretical.

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Presenter Bios

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.


Lisa Meeks
Lisa Meeks, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and an Expert Scholar at the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation (IHPI). She is the co-founder and Past President of the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education, co-developer of the AAMC Disability Webinar Series and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Disability Training Series, co-editor and an author of The Guide to Assisting Students with Disabilities: Equal Access in Health Science and Professional Education, and Co-PI and lead author of the AAMC Special Report Accessibility, Action, and Inclusion in Medical Education. Her research focuses on medical student well-being and access, disability curriculum in medical education, and reducing health care disparities for patients with disabilities.


Nicole Ofiesh
Nicole Ofiesh, Ph.D. is a cognitive behavioral scientist with expertise in the demands of life after high school and before late aging. She intersects this knowledge with an understanding of context and culture to teach how people learn. She believes teaching individuals about the cognition and the brain is critical to success in the 21st century. She is Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Potentia Institute21 working on the development of tools, courses and solutions to help individuals become self-aware of how their brains work and solutions to drive success across the lifespan. Dr. Ofiesh is Executive Director of Stanford’s Schwab Learning Center and the author of Teaching for the Lifespan Corwin (2016), as well as many book chapters and journal articles.

Kaela Parks
Kaela Parks, M.Ed. is the Director of Disability Services at Portland Community College, where she co-chairs the institution’s Accessibility Council and leads a large multi-campus team. Prior to that she served as Director of Disability Support Services at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where she ran the Reel Eyes Showcase of Films by and about People with Disabilities and taught courses in Assistive Technology, Universal Design, and Accessible Multimedia. She is a former Co-Chair of the AHEAD Standing Committee on Technology, a past Chair of the NASPA Disability Knowledge Community, and a past President of ORAHEAD. She was lead trainer for a FIPSE demonstration project aimed at supporting adjunct faculty on rural campuses in the implementation of Universal Design, and was co-editor of the publication titled "Beyond the ADA: Proactive Policy and Practice for Higher Education." She frequently offers trainings and presentations on a variety of disability and accessibility related topics.

Rhonda Rapp
Rhonda Rapp, Ph.D. is an independent Educational Consultant. She has more than 30 years of experience in the field of disability services and has provided a variety of services for students with disabilities. These services include psychoeducational assessments, accommodation prescription and implementation, academic advising, career counseling, transition services, and individual and group counseling. Rhonda also has 10-years’ experience as a TRiO-SSS Director at a four-institution and has created and presented training for TRiO personnel, learning specialists, faculty, college administrators and disability services providers. She is currently the disability consultant for the Kamehameha School System in Hawaii and the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and is a Technical Advisor for the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).

Sally Scott
Sally Scott, Ph.D., is Director of Research for the Association on Higher Education and Disability. She holds a doctorate from the University of Virginia and has over 25 years’ experience as faculty member and director of disability resources on multiple campuses. Sally has published extensively and presented nationally and internationally on topics including universal design, inclusive instruction, evidence-based practices, and postsecondary disability program evaluation. She is an editorial board member and former editor of the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability and has recently published a book entitled, Disability and World Language Learning. Sally currently leads AHEAD’s research activities including recent research studies on disability resource office student-staff ratios, campus structures and roles for ADA Coordinators, and program evaluation practices in disability resource offices.

Jan Serrantino
Jan Serrantino, Ph.D. has worked to support students with disabilities and campus partners and to create inclusive policy in higher education. Jan is the President of the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education. Jan recently retired from her role as Director of the Disability Services Center at the University of California, Irvine where she was the worked with students with disabilities in the Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Medicine. Currently Dr. Serrantino is a higher education consultant with Meeks and Company Consulting and focuses on faculty and staff training in health science education and regularly presents at national professional conferences. Jan is co-author of two chapters in The Guide to Assisting Students with Disabilities: Equal Access in Health Science and Professional Education. She co- presented a webinar on Clinical Accommodation: Upholding Standards While Creating Equal Access, for the American Association of Medical Colleges and a Faculty Training Module, Maintaining Privacy: Students with Disabilities.

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.

Randall Ward
Randall Ward, M.S. is the Director of the Disability Resource Center at Purdue University. Before focusing on higher education, Randall spent 18 years as a private Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor performing medical case management and return to work consulting with private/public employers, physicians, insurance companies, and attorneys. He served as director of disability resource offices at a community college and two other universities before moving to Purdue. Since his arrival at Purdue, Randall has focused on changing the disability paradigm at this Research 1, Big 10 university and has been strategic in gaining support for this direction. The number of students registered with the DRC has experienced a 217% growth from academic year 2011-12, with 2,800 students currently registered. DRC has incorporated the use of data and research in an effort to tell its story across campus and to seek additional resources to support growth and change the disability conversation. Randall earned a BS from Michigan State University and an MA in Guidance and Counseling from Northern Michigan University.

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Registration Costs


On or before April 12

After April 12








Registration includes all materials 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 April 12, 2020. A $75.00 administrative fee will be charged for all cancellations. We regret that no refunds can be issued after April 12, 2020 for any reason but can be transferred to another attendee from the same institution.

Online Registration

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Conference Hotel

Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center

Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center 
375 NE Holladay Street, Portland, Oregon, United States, 97232

All events and housing for the 2020 Next Chapter: AHEAD Master Classes will be held at the Hyatt Regency. The group rate for sleeping rooms is $189.00 + tax per night for single or double occupancy. Reservations must be made by Monday, April 27, 2020.

Reservations can be made by online or by calling the hotel directly at: 971-222-1234.

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"These Master Classes are invaluable. I am going to try to come back each year."

 reception area with people eating a tables during the 2018 Next Chapter: Master Classes conference

"It was great to have a space for experienced professionals to get the next level of information."

an IT work group session 2018 Next Chapter: Master Classes conference