2022 Preconference Sessions

Two-Day Preconferences; Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19; 9:00 am – 5:30 pm

PC 1: Removing Roadblocks to Learning, Retention, and Graduation for All TRIO Students 

Rhonda Rapp, retired

Location: Room 11

The intermediate to advanced level TRIO Training Institute will cover programming, strategies, activities, and shared practices that address changing student populations and the changing landscape of education at all levels. Focus will be on emerging Latino, Latina/Latinx populations, men of color, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ students. Topics include, but are not 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 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 has changed unexpectedly and may continue changing in a variety of directions. 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 this Institute, but to help create the group’s cadre of shared practices. This will be a hands-on, in-depth, and development-focused institute.

If you have any questions, please contact Rhonda H. Rapp at: rhondarapp@gmail.com.

PC 2: Making Your Data Talk: Outcomes and Assessment in DS Practice

Ann Knettler, Delaware State University
Jill Sieben-Schneider, Northwestern University

Location: Room 13

Increasingly, DS professionals are being expected to approach their work from an outcomes perspective, incorporating assessment and program review. While the first focus is often placed on Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), in order to ensure overall effectiveness we must also create Program Outcomes that directly relate to the SLOs.  Where do these practice expectations come from? In large part from the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). The CAS Disability Resources and Services standards incorporate outcomes, both program and student learning, and this perspective can be and should be integral to DS practices. Further, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) lists the first two duties for the Mission of Disability Resources and Services (DRS) as: 1) provide institution-wide advisement, consultation, and training on disability-related topics, including legal and regulatory compliance, universal design, and disability scholarship and 2) collaborate with partners to identify and remove barriers to foster an all-inclusive campus. In order to accomplish our mission, our programs must be reflective and purposeful in order to identify and measure outcomes.  

The relationship between SLOs and Program Outcomes will be fleshed out with emphasis on the importance of each being seen as integrated with the other. This session workshop will explore the development of outcomes and overall assessment and program review of DS based on the CAS disability standards Council for the Advancement of Standards for Higher Education (CAS). The current AHEAD standards will also be discussed.  Furthermore, the session will introduce you to ways that a program outcomes approach, in addition to a student outcomes paradigm, can be implemented and evaluated in the disability services arena to the advantage of the DS program, and its students, and its leaders. Examples and feedback regarding Program Outcome development and assessment will be offered by a DS professional's direct experience. Questions will be addressed, such as: What program outcomes could be considered? What did you learn from the implementation and assessment of program outcomes? How is this incorporated with program review? What worked well? What would you change in the future? How has this effected the creation of student learning outcomes? How do I report out on my assessment in the most beneficial way possible?

Presentation components include:

  • Rationale for assessment from an outcomes perspective
  • Using data to inform practice
  • Tools for assessing the effectiveness of disability resource offices
  • Means for presenting assessment 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 assessment.

PC 3: AHEAD Start: An Introduction to Access for Newer Disability Resource Professionals

Carol Funckes, AHEAD (retired)

Location: Room 24

This two-day program is designed to provide those newer to higher education disability resources with a foundational overview of the major issues that shape access in higher education today. In the dynamic postsecondary environment, the disability service office must be both a service unit and a vital center of information and collaboration for the campus community. Disability resource professionals must balance their work in determining and coordinating accommodations for individual students with the equally important role of campus-wide consultant, advisor, and leader. 

This workshop will support participants in building on the skills they bring to the field, acquiring the knowledge and judgement to analyze access barriers, applying consistent principles to diverse situations, and fostering change within established systems. Through instruction, discussion, hands-on activities, and resource sharing, we will explore the civil rights foundation, legal underpinnings, and practical realities of creating accessible, welcoming higher education environments. Guided by participant questions and interests, we will cover the following topics:

  • foundational legal, disability, documentation, and design concepts;
  • the interactive process, working with students to assess barriers, achieve access, and establish accommodations;
  • strategies for designing service delivery practices that minimize extra efforts by disabled students and encourage faculty collaboration;
  • considerations for implementing accommodations and addressing developing issues; and
  • collaborations to create a more inclusive and accessible campus.

 Unlike online trainings, this two-day Institute provides the opportunity for attendees to engage with others to develop a professional network, the most valuable professional development tool available! Whether you work alone, with a large staff, or address disability-related barriers as one component of a larger role, join us for a dynamic introduction to an exciting field.

PC 4: Community and 2 Year College Reboot; The Rock and Roll of Our Profession

Michelle Mitchell, Lehigh Carbon Community College
Teressa Eastman, Butler Community College
Marilyn Harren, Collin College

Location: Room 15

The Community College Knowledge and Practice Community invites new and seasoned professionals to an interactive session to promote collaboration amongst our cohort group. Disability services personnel at the community college face many of the same issues as that of their four year counterparts. However, these issues are often magnified with unique challenges due to the composition of the student population. We want to offer an opportunity for conversation with our Community College and Two-year campus AHEAD members.

Community college systems traditionally comprise diverse student populations. The course offerings and occasions for flexible scheduling provide multiple opportunities for specific cohort groups. The community college, by its open enrollment nature, is a starting point for many students. This includes first generation college students, high school students concurrently enrolled in college classes, employed students, adult students, students with children, and students who do not meet entrance criteria for four-year institutions. Two-year college students may also be testing to see if college is the correct path for their future. The complexities of the community college and/or two-year college student provide for a spider web of intersectionality, those at four-year institutions typically do not face.

With the addition of disability status to the above-mentioned unique qualifiers, these intersections intensify how one provides reasonable accommodation, as well as interprets technical standards and course competencies. Participants in this session will receive guidance in navigating community college and two-year institution students with disabilities through these quandaries as they relate to open enrollment, transitioning to college, concurrent enrollment, and health science programs. Presenters will reach out to those enrolled for the session, with a questionnaire to have participants start thinking through some of their more complex situations, encouraging participants to bring them. Time will be devoted to participant discussion regarding their own unique sinkholes. Presenters and audience participants will then share expertise and tools to work through these situations. In this way, we will be building the Community College and Two-year Institution Care Community.

Experiential activities will be used to assist disability services personnel in establishing faculty relationships and training materials, technical standard rubrics, and a fundamental alteration process assisting with the request of reasonable accommodations. Discussion will also include issues related to providing case management partnerships for mental health and safety issues, as well as deciding whose job it is to develop COVID accommodations/protocols. Time will also be dedicated to professional collaboration for a problem-solving roundtable discussion entitled, “I have a situation that…”

PC 5: Introduction to Disability Law for DSS Directors, Staff, and ADA Officers

Paul Grossman, Hastings College of Law and the Office of Civil Rights (retired)
Jamie Axelrod, Northern Arizona University
Mary Lee Vance, California State University, Sacramento

Location: Room 26C

Back by popular demand, this updated two-day preconference will give disability resource, ADA, disability law, 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 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 present the procedures most likely to receive agency approval and deference.

This course 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 intersectional disability rights movement. Participants will learn the seminal legal concepts common to all antidiscrimination laws and what is unique to disability law. With this broad foundation under our feet, we will take a quick walk through the applicable regulations and tie these concepts and regulations to a comprehensive overview of potential claims and defenses under disability discrimination law including denial of accommodation, fundamental alteration, and undue burden.

Next, we will learn to look at our daily questions as if they had been set before a judge to scrutinize. The issue underlying about 80% of all post-secondary student disability cases is whether the student complainant is “a qualified student with a disability” (QSD).   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. We will then proceed to the second element of the QSD paradigm: 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 discussion of accommodations that are “necessary” and “reasonable” and those that are not because they either entail a “fundamental alteration” or an “undue burden.” 

Finally, will devote significant time analyzing recent court decisions and OCR letters, whose discernible theme is that colleges and universities should never deny an accommodation to students with disabilities without first engaging in a case-by-case (individualized) and “interactive” consideration process, even if implementing the accommodation would require making an exception or modification to a long-existing rule, practice, policy, or assumption. Particularly at this stage, we will apply these foundational concepts to cutting-edge legal developments in some of the most challenging and complex issues that face disability resource offices. Opportunities to apply concepts will be provided through discussion of recent cases.

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One-Day Preconferences; Monday, July 18; 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

PC6: Promoting Universal Design in the Built Campus Environment

Eric Bell, University of Arizona

Location: Room 20

This one-day, interactive workshop will engage participants in conversation and strategy about how to impact access and inclusion in their built campus environments.  Because this work does not necessarily fall squarely in the purview of a disability resource office, we will discuss how to engage campus partners in new thinking on disability and design, promote access and universal design in planning, renovation, and construction, as well as how to collect compelling data to inform planning and design across all areas of the built environment.

While accessibility is our legal requirement, equity is the real goal.  Central to this conversation is educating around reframing disability in practice and introducing the many ways design can contribute to inclusive or exclusive experiences for students.  Many disability access professionals approach physical access only through ADA compliance and individual accommodations.  There is great opportunity in incorporating Universal Design into planning efforts so that spaces are not only compliant, but more usable, sustainable, and effective for more people.  

We will share best practices and strategies from the University of Arizona to provide participants with concrete and practical take-aways to apply on their own campuses.

  • University Arizona model
  • Re/framing disability in practice as related to the built environment
  • Universal design
  • Identifying campus partners and cultivating relationships
  • Creating allies for universal design and accessibility
  • Co/curricular spaces and the student experience
  • Data collection and stakeholder feedback
  • Infusing universal design into key campus committees and processes
  • Campus outreach and education


PC7: Bringing Accessibility into the Framework of Campus Purchasing Decisions: Procurement, Budgeting, and How to Become an Effective Advocate

Rachel Kruzel, Assistive Technology, Accessibility, and Transition Consultant

Location: Room 21

Funding and budgets - they make the higher ed world go round. In our offices and across campus, not having the funding, tools, and resources needed can make it difficult to effectively do our work. In a time where we are being asked to do more with less, paired with budget deficits and cutbacks or the lack of a budget, advocating and sharing the story of the needs to support the learners we work with is tougher than ever. Countless professionals, at all levels of our field, express similar frustrations on this topic. Paired with these sentiments is the feeling that individuals lack the advocacy and leadership skills to be effective, to be heard, and to receive the needed resources for their offices, staff, and students. 

As professionals within the wider campus structure, we often feel as though we are the only ones advocating for access, accessibility, or individuals with disabilities when it comes to campus wide decision making and procurement. Frequently, these decisions are made without these topics at the forefront of the decision makers' minds. As a result, often less effective and more costly remediation, retroactive accommodations, and alternative access or solutions must then be created by us as experts in this area. How do we create and influence systemic change both for our offices and across campus?

This preconference session will focus on the topics of procurement, budgets, and advocacy. We’ll start our day with a discussion around the landscape of higher education decision-making to help us understand the wider system we work within. From there, we’ll spend time talking about the procurement process from the lens of both in-office purchases and purchases for the wider campus. 

From the perspective of in-office procurement, we’ll address the topics of:

  • Securing and advocating for resources and budgets.
  • Rationalization of needs and processes to do so.
  • Using data to support your asks and needs.
  • Finding and using grants and soft money to fill the budget gap in your office or as a method to embrace adoption of necessary tools and supports as you advocate for additional campus budget. 

From the perspective of campus-wide procurement, we’ll address the topics of:

  • Gaining a seat at the table to influence procurement or the procurement process from a lens of inclusion and access.
  • Building accessibility into the framework of all campus purchasing decisions.
  • Working towards more accessible purchasing practices, specifically regarding technology such as campus-wide software and other tech, through the balancing of accessibility and academic freedom.
  • Alternative access plans: What are they? How and when can they be used with purchases on campus?

A portion of the day will be spent developing leadership and advocacy skills; something infrequently taught but critical to those of us in leadership positions in our field or on campus. We’ll discuss ideas, processes, and frameworks from leaders in the advocacy and leadership field to equip attendees. Whether you’re an office of one or leading an office of professionals, this session will help you gain skills to effectively ask, rationalize, and influence budgets, decision making and procurement in your office or on campus. 

PC8: Fundamental Alteration and Reasonableness: Applying the Interactive Process in Real World Situations

L. Scott Lissner, The Ohio State University

Location: Room 22

As we know well, this field requires individual analysis of each student’s characteristics, each program or campus context, and each unique request. This is often referred to as the “interactive process,” but what is it exactly? Who should be involved in the process? How does the interactive process intersect with assessing when a fundamental alteration exists? With so many variables to consider, legal and policy guidelines can only take us so far. Fluent communication skills, expertise in identifying relevant information, and a critical voice are necessary. 

This session will begin with the principles of reasonableness and how to assess fundamental alteration. Following that foundation, we will discuss scenarios that include the most nuanced areas in higher education. Animals on campus, remote attendance, assignment extensions, student conduct, internships/field placements, and topics suggested by participants will be covered.

Participants will set the stage as they work with the facilitator to identify and explore the principles of reasonableness that are the foundations of the accommodation process. How are these principles embodied in policy and reflected in practice across accommodation contexts? Brief introductory discussions and review of relevant research and legal guidance will proceed each situation discussion. Interactive scenarios will highlight principles in action and illustrate best practices, allowing participants to workshop policy and process elements to bring back to their campuses. The overall experience will balance information sharing, small group discussion, and hands-on policy and process consideration.

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One-Day Preconferences; Tuesday, July 19; 9:00 am - 5:30 pm

PC 9: Assistive Technology: From Exploration to Implementation in Higher Education

Rachel Kruzel, Assistive Technology, Accessibility, and Transition Consultant

Location: Room 20

We live in a world rich with technology. It is the backbone of much of what we do and how we function day-to-day. Stop and think… could you get through a day without interacting with some type of technology? Due to this prolific access, as well as extensive technological advances, technology has become more central than ever to supporting and providing access to individuals with disabilities. Best practice encourages the use and implementation of assistive technology within our offices and on college campuses. However, many professionals feel as though they lack the skill, understanding, expertise, resources, and time to make these tools a central part of their office structure.

This preconference session will take a deep dive into the world of assistive technology and ensure attendees understand the key components of assistive technology including:

What: What is assistive technology? What are the different types and categories of assistive technology? What software and tools are commonly used in higher education? What tools might students be using in K12 and as they transition into our offices?

Who: Who can benefit from these tools? Who are resources and supports to help the continued learning, understanding, and adoption of the use of these tools?

Why: Why should offices embrace assistive technology?

How: How do I work with students on these tools? Is there a framework that exists around assistive technology? How do I implement or train students on these tools? How do I acquire, track, and organize assistive technology?

Over the course of the day, we’ll spend time answering these questions and others while also laying out practical steps and procedures to support wider use and adoption of these solutions on your campus. A portion of our day will be spent exploring common categories and types of assistive technology, including specific devices and programs. Be sure to bring a device along with you: laptop, Chromebook, or iPad as we’ll be doing hands-on exploration and discussion of different tools available on the market. Attendees will develop a toolbox of programs and solutions to take back to campus with them.

To ensure attendees have the skills and knowledge to capitalize on these supports in their offices and on campus, we’ll spend time discussing implementation science and strategies from an individual, office, and systemic perspective. The process of budgeting, advocacy, and procurement will also be touched on to help ensure these resources can be secured and implemented within your offices or on campus.

New disability resource staff as much as seasoned professionals will benefit from attending this session to begin or grow their knowledge and expertise on assistive technology. With the rapidly changing nature of this field, any professional can benefit from a day full of discussion, exploration, and learning on this topic.


PC 10: Embodying a Coaching Mindset: Mindfulness Strategies for the Disability Resource Professional

Christina Fabrey, Virginia Tech, Director of Student Success Center
Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, JST Coaching and Training

Location: Room 21

In order for disability resource professionals to serve as the foundation for the success of our students during difficult times, it requires us to embrace a solution-focused coaching approach to our work. Adapted to the higher education environment, coaching is a tool used in conversations with students to help them build the skills necessary for academic and personal success. As faculty, staff, and students are transitioning to a new normal and navigating in-person and hybrid learning, semesters have been marked with disruption. As we continue to face so much uncertainty, there has been an increase in stress, anxiety, and depression (Son et. al 2020) impacting our student’s ability to perform academically by affecting their motivation and concentration. In addition, higher education professionals are experiencing their own concerns with depression and burnout (Flaherty, 2020) as they experience stresses of health concerns, physical distancing, potential job loss, and caring for others. Coaching skills for disability resource providers improve student connections during this time. In addition, mindfulness strategies for both the student and the higher education professional can be a useful as a way to increase self-care and combat emotional exhaustion as they engage in their important work together.

Coaching is defined by the International Coaching Federation (2020) as “partnering with clients (or students) in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential”. Adapted to the higher education environment, coaching is a tool used in conversations with students to help them build the skills necessary for academic and personal success. Recognizing increasing stress in our lives, it is an opportune time for disability support providers to embrace the new ICF core coaching competency of Embodies a Coaching Mindset. Embodying a Coaching Mindset is the ability to develop and maintain a mindset that is open, curious, and student centered. To do this, it requires the provider to be present, have awareness around their own needs, and also mentally and emotionally preparing for their session with students.

One of the greatest joys associated with supporting students is the relational aspect of getting to know them and helping to navigate a process of discovery, achievement, and renewal. Through core coaching skills, disability support providers will learn how to deeply connect with their students even if engaging through the virtual environment. When disability support providers embrace a coaching mindset, they acknowledge that our students are creative, whole, and resourceful. Embracing this coaching mindset helps us to let go of our own stress, concerns, or expectations as students build their own self-determination skills.   

In this workshop, attendees will dive deeply into this core competency to understand the coaching skills of active listening and powerful questions to learn of students’ cultural experiences, values, perceptions and attitudes in order to create a safe environment in which students can be both vulnerable and courageous. In addition, participants will learn simple mindfulness techniques to incorporate into their own self-care practices and student meetings. This workshop will provide hands-on strategies such as mindfulness moments, wellness routines, mindset checks, tend and befriend, assumption and bias checks, and value reflections. Attendees will leave with a toolkit of mindfulness resources to use themselves or share with students. 




PC 12: Using Universal Design to Plan Accessible and Inclusive Events

Eric Bell and Barbara Lopez, University of Arizona

Location: Room 16

Event access should engage 100% of the audience, thus we must dedicate resources to ensure that event experiences are accessible, inclusive, and welcoming. If you reflect on campus experiences such as classes, commencement, orientation, athletic events, invited speakers, and trainings, is access considered? When should your event access planning begin and what elements should be included? How can you increase awareness for inclusive and accessible design practices on your campus?

This one-day preconference will describe how the University of Arizona developed a proactive process ensuring accessibility is included for university-sponsored events to provide universally designed and inclusive experiences. Through assessment and information gathering, data compilation, collaborating with event planners and major event coordinators, and developing comprehensive plans and resources for access, UArizona has significantly increased access and inclusion while decreasing the need for individual accommodations. Most recently, with COVID-19 restrictions for events, we pivoted to develop and provide resources for accessibility of virtual and hybrid event opportunities. We will share our campus recommendations and stories of our journey to create these best practices.

The presentation will also highlight how digital and physical access are connected and must both be considered for all events. We will include our processes for designing accessible commencement, Presidential briefings, athletic events, and a major public community event hosted on campus (Tucson Festival of Books).

The presentation will invite questions from the audience and provide attendees with the knowledge they can take back to their campus to enhance or begin their event accessibility adventure.  


PC 13: Policy Incubator: Workshop Your Policy Challenges

L. Scott Lissner, The Ohio State University

Location: Room 22

Are you struggling with developing technical standards, framing remote attendance or deadline extension accommodations, drafting policies for supporting students in off-campus placements and practicums, using documentation consistently, or documenting a dispute resolution plan? In theater and creative writing, it is common to “workshop” a draft with colleagues. In industry, “incubators” provide support for inventors or entrepreneurs to develop an idea. This full-day, working session offers the opportunity to review and refine particularly challenging policy areas for disability resource professionals and ADA/504 Coordinators.

Prior to the preconference, participants will be asked to submit a draft or current policy that they’d like to address or fine-tune. These will be used as material to form working groups around clusters of related policies. 

The session will begin with a group discussion that recognizes institutional idiosyncrasies but focuses on the typical policy development cycle: catalyst, assessment, development, promulgation, implementation, and review. An overview of the common elements of an effective policy will provide the working groups with a structure for applying policy principles (scoping, definitions, accountability, interpretation, control vs. operation, life span, etc.) to their chosen policy. Working groups will share observations and discuss each policy element with the larger group before returning to a smaller group to apply it.  

The start of the preconference will provide policy development tools and concepts to the whole group. Then, in the intimate policy clusters, participants will have the opportunity to compare their institutional policies, identify model language and structures to address common goals and concerns, and get specific feedback on their work. Participants will return to their campuses with a well-designed policy statement in the area of their interest and strategies for its implementation.

PC 14: Transforming the Work of Disability Resources using Creative Approaches, Promising Practices, and Professional Guidance

Tom Thompson, TMLS Consulting Inc., University of Santa Cruz, interim
Richard Allegra, AHEAD
Rosalind Blackstar, University of Massachusetts Global

Location: Room 24

Disability Resources & Services (DRS) professionals invest considerable time in creating policies, procedures and systems for providing academic adjustments, access and auxiliary aids. They work to build relationships through consultation and training to various campus stakeholders. However, less time is invested in reviewing, assessing and improving their current practices. 

In this workshop, presenters from varied backgrounds will focus on five major areas of work within the scope of DRS: administration, program operations, policy & procedure development, service delivery and outreach/consultation. Presenters will describe concepts around these areas by using illustrative examples and sharing key resources.

Through presentations, group discussions and activities, participants will assess and identify their DRS practices in light of current theory, research and exemplary guidance in disability and higher education and the revised AHEAD Ethics, Program and Professional Standards. Attendees will take away action plans, developed in class to address areas needing revision in their DRS offices. 

 Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn methods for making process improvements
  2. Participants will understand the value of self evaluation and external evaluations and how the findings can motivate changes and garner new resources.
  3. Participants will understand the value of involving campus stakeholders in redesigning and clarifying how to promote access and facilitate accommodations.

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Half-Day Preconference; Tuesday, July 19; 2:00 - 5:30 pm

PC 15: Implementing a Data Driven Model for Electronic Accessibility

Heidi Pettyjohn, University of Cincinnati
Jessica Guess, University of Cincinnati
Noelle Bareswilt, University of Cincinnati
Katie Lane, University of Cincinnati
Megan Wuebker, University of Cincinnati

Location: Room 23

The University of Cincinnati’s Accessibility Network is a cross-functional team of accessibility staff who work together to enhance the university’s capacity for electronic accessibility. This team is made up of staff from four units at the university: Accessibility Services; IT; Marketing and Communication; and Academic Affairs. This pre-conference will be delivered by members of this team from each of these areas. The first hour of the session will be an introduction to the network model at UC, and introductions by attendees. There will be exercise for attendees to do a self-assessment of their own office and their institution’s resource capacity for Electronic accessibility.  

Over the past five years, our team has been creating a culture of accessibility driven by data-based decisions. The second hour of our session will be a deeper dive into the data collection tools we utilize and the outcomes and lessons learned from implementing such tools. This will include demonstrations of dashboards from Blackboard Ally and Level Access, as well as homegrown tools. Attendees will do another self-assessment of their data collection and reporting capacity by evaluating both the tools and collaborations that are currently available to them at their institution. They will work in small groups to share ways that they have successfully leveraged the tools and resources at their own institutions, so that attendees can learn not only from the presenters but also from each other.  

The final hour will be spent creating a “next step” roadmap for moving the dial on a data model for electronic accessibility. This will be done in small groups using a template that we will provide, and will allow opportunity for attendees to get feedback from other session attendees and the Accessibility Network presenters.  

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Presenter Bios

Richard Allegra

A professional with 40 years in the field of disability, Richard serves as Director of Information and Outreach for AHEAD, where he develops resources for, and provides technical assistance to members and external audiences. He is the Managing Editor of the AHEAD Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. His career has included developing practices for, and managing, Disability Resource and Service offices, analyzing and addressing barriers to accessibility in campus environments, creating student-centered services, curating on-trend information and resources, and mentoring new and seasoned disability professionals.


Jamie Axelrod

Jamie Axelrod, M.S. is the Director of Disability Resources at Northern Arizona University and Past-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 regular and well-respected contributor to professional listservs, including AHEAD’s discussion boards, and is 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.


Noelle Bareswilt

Noelle is the IT Accessibility Director for the IT department at the University of Cincinnati. She provides institutional oversight of accessibility review and testing of third party products; she also co-chairs the Accessibility Network.


Eric Bell

Eric Bell is the Physical Access Consultant for Disability Resources at the University of Arizona. He consults with campus colleagues, departments, and committees to promote the concepts of Universal Design and best practices to ensure a physically accessible and inclusive campus environment. Eric also collaborates with campus administrators, facilities management staff, project managers and architects, and event planners to proactively identify and remove barriers in the built environment during the planning process to decrease the need for individual accommodations. Eric earned his Bachelor’s degree in Disability Studies at the University of Washington, a Master of Public Administration at the University of Arizona, and is currently working toward accreditation as an ADA Coordinator.


Rosalind Blackstar

Rosalind Blackstar, M.Ed. serves currently as the Director of the Office of Accessible Education at the University of Massachusetts, Global. She serves as the subject matter expert for the Office of Accessible Education (OAE), provides strategic assistance to individuals and groups at the university, is passionate about creating equitable and inclusive experiences for adult learners, and helps lead initiatives to further promote the implementation of universal design for learning. Rosalind has worked in higher education since 2006, including service as an ADA Exam Coordinator, Program Operations and Student Accommodations Manager and as the Assistant and Associate Director at a large public institution. She currently provides leadership at an online/hybrid institution serving adult education learners. Rosalind holds a MA degree in Urban Education with a focus in Social Equity. Since 2018, Rosalind also has served as an educational access consultant for disability resources offices at universities across the United States. Her areas of expertise include development of disability services programmatic business processes, program improvement analysis for program operations and accommodation services, policy development and implementation, hiring, mentorship of disability resources professionals, recruitment, training and supervising professional & student staff, and has experience in implementation of student management databases.


Teressa Eastman

Teressa Eastman earned an MBA from Wichita State University in 1992 and has served as the Director of Disability Services at Butler Community for 20 years. She has previous experience working in Special Education in the public school system. At Butler Community College, Teressa serves as the chairperson of the college’s CARE Team, as well as, a member of the college’s four person Threat Assessment Team. Teressa also serves on the college’s Inclusion Council and Satisfactory Academic Progress Review Team for Financial Aid. Teressa is also active nationally with the Association of Higher Education and Disability by serving as a co-chair of the Community College Special Interest Group. As a person with a disability, Teressa strongly believes in the value of the Americans with Disabilities Act and advocates for the rights and responsibilities of the disabled population.


Christina Fabrey

Christina Fabrey is the Director of the Student Success Center at Virginia Tech, having previously served as the Associate Dean for Advising and Academic Achievement at Prescott College. With a passion for promoting college student success and organizational excellence, Christina has been a higher education administrator and disability provider for over 15 years.  Christina earned a Master’s in Education from the University of Vermont, Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC) certification from the International Coach Federation, Board Coach Certification (BCC) through the Center for Credentialing Education Global, and Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Certification through Champlain College.  As a Coach Trainer and Mentor, Christina has trained hundreds of higher educational professionals in coaching skills for over the last decade.  Having developed coaching programs at several institutions, she is grounded in coaching all students, including students with disabilities and students working towards academic recovery. Christina is active in the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) by co-chairing their Coaching Knowledge and Practice Community and their Coaching Evaluation Community of Practice. Christina is a contributing author of Becoming Self-Determined: Creating Thoughtful Learners in a Standards-Driven, Admissions-Frenzied Culture and Becoming Self-Determined:  Practical Strategies for a Changing World, Field & Parker (editors). Her recent works focus on embedding holistic student care into faculty development and include “Careers, Advising, Teaching: A Holistic Approach to Student and Faculty Development.” in Re-imagining Teaching to Maximize Student Learning: Case Studies of Faculty Development Centers (Neisler, Looker, and Newman eds.) and “Resilient and Flexible Teaching (RAFT): Integrating a Whole Person Experience into Online Teaching” in Resilient Pedagogy (Thurston, Lundstrom, and Gonzalez, eds.). Her upcoming edited anthology, Coaching in Disability Resources:  From Transactional to Transformational, will be published in the fall of 2022.


Carol Funckes

Carol Funckes is the recently retired Chief Operating Officer for the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD). In this position, she designed and oversaw AHEAD’s national professional development agenda, including webinars and in-person and remote workshops and conferences; developed website and print materials on higher education and disability; and consulted individually with members. Prior to assuming this role, Carol worked at the University of Arizona’s Disability Resource Center for over 30 years, leading a staff of access consultants and service coordinators and managing initiatives in faculty development and digital accessibility. Carol is a Past President of AHEAD, has served as a trainer for several disability resource initiatives, and has presented and consulted extensively both nationally and internationally.


Paul Grossman

Paul Grossman, J.D. is the Executive Counsel of AHEAD with over 40 years of service at OCR in Washington and San Francisco, most of them as a Chief Regional Attorney. Paul also taught disability law for over 20 years at Hastings College of Law, UC. Paul remains a frequent guest lecturer for AHEAD, CAPED, Hastings, UC Berkeley, the California Community College System and the National Association of ADA Coordinators. Paul served multiple terms on AHEAD’s Board of Directors and remains a member of the AHEAD Public Policy Committee as well as the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) Expert Advisory Board. Through investigation, decision writing, and negotiations, Paul has addressed every form of discrimination in education including race, national origin, sex and disability, often developing new approaches for protecting the civil rights of students. Paul is the author of AHEAD’s publication, The Law of Disability Discrimination for Higher Education Professionals . Paul joins Jamie Axelrod, M.S. and Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. in two book chapters on analytical tools and procedures for DSS officers when they face their most complex and challenging questions, planned for publication by AHEAD in Summer 2022.


Jessica Guess

Jessica is Program Manager for Accessibility Compliance at the University of Cincinnati. Her primary duty includes the design and oversight of our university-wide data initiatives around disability and access with ADA/504 and EIT compliance.


Marilyn Harren

Marilyn Harren earned her M.S. in Disability Services in Higher Education from City University of New York in 2019. This combined her years of working as the Director of a disability services office at an open enrollment technical college in Texas, using her background as a certified special education teacher and licensed social worker. She is currently the past-president of AHEAD in Texas. She serves as a mentor to a small group of AHEAD “new to the field” community college disability staff from Texas and Illinois and assists the community college Knowledge and Skills special interest group. She works as the Director of ACCESS at Collin College in Texas.


Ann Knettler

Ann Knettler, Ed.D. currently Directs the Center for Disability Resources (CDR) and is the ADA & 504 Compliance Officer at Delaware State University, she also teaches in their Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Masters of Public Administration Programs. As a member of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), Ann has served on the Standing Committee for Professional Development and currently represents the Association as a member of the Board of Directors for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) where she has authored and updated policy and standards for the entire field of higher education and currently sits on their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She is a published researcher and experienced educator. Ann regularly presents and consults at the national level on topics such as ableism, able-body privilege, disability policy reform, strategic planning, creating and using policy and standards as guidance in the non-profit field, program review, community needs assessment, and the social justice model of disability. Ann received a Masters of Arts in Counseling in Higher Education with an emphasis in Mental Health from the University of Delaware and a 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.


Amanda Kraus

Dr. Amanda Kraus is Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and Executive Director for Disability Resources at the University of Arizona. UA’s Disability Resource Center is one of the largest in the nation, and considered an international model of progressive service delivery, uniquely positioned to approach campus access systemically. Dr. Kraus is also Associate Professor of Practice in UA’s Center for the Study of Higher Education where she coordinates the MA program and teaches courses on student services and disability in higher education. She looks to disability studies to inform research and teaching that challenges deficit or tragedy rhetoric on disability and frame disability in the context of social justice, shaped by dynamics of power and privilege. Dr. Kraus is President of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Board of Directors and has had the privilege of delivering keynote addresses and facilitating workshops around the country and internationally. Dr. Kraus earned her MA and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Higher Education.


Rachel Kruzel

Rachel Kruzel, ATP, is an assistive technology and accessibility professional and currently works as a Territory Director for one of the major assistive technology companies supporting higher ed and K-12 education. She is a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional and spent over ten years working as an Assistive Technology and Accommodations Specialist in Disability Resource Offices in Minnesota. During her time in higher ed, she built and developed assistive technology programs at both schools she worked at, as well as coordinated the provision of accommodations. Rachel is a national expert in the areas of assistive technology, digital accessibility, alternative format course materials, accommodation provision around testing and notetaking, as well as supervising student workers. Rachel presents both regionally and nationally on these topics and others, as well as consults with students, parents, schools, and organizations. She is a member of AHEAD and MNAHEAD, as well as sits on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Assistive Technology Leadership Team.


Katie Lane

Katie Lane is Assistant Director of Digital and User Experience in the UC Marketing and Communications Department. Katie is responsible for designing and review of the accessibility training for all UC web authors; she also oversees our annual web accessibility audit process. Katie recently led a  university-wide web refresh to update branding standards and ensure accessibility of the full uc.edu web experience.


L. Scott Lissner

L. Scott Lissner is the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator and 504 Compliance Officer for The Ohio State University, where he is also an Associate of the John Glenn School of Public Policy and serves as a lecturer for the Moritz College of Law, the Knowlton School of Architecture and Disability Studies. Engaged in community and professional service, Scott is a Past President and Public Policy Chair of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and serves on the Board of Directors for The Center for Disability Empowerment, VSA Ohio, and the Editorial Board for Thompson’s ADA Compliance Guide. He is a regular and popular presenter both nationally and internationally, serves on numerous boards in support of access and equity. Recent publications include The Impact of the ADAAA of 2008 on Higher Education, Thompsons Publications; Universal Design in the Institutional Setting: Weaving a Philosophy into Campus Planning in Universal Design: From Accessibility to Zoning (J. Cowley-Evans & J. Nasser (Eds.); From Legal Principle to Informed Practice with J. E. Jarrow; and A Long View of Change, Disability Blog, The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Barbara Lopez

Barbara Lopez is the Digital Accessibility Consultant, Sr. for the Disability Resource Center, Digital and Physical Access Team at the University of Arizona. She collaborates across campus to resolve technological access barriers in the curricular, information and employment environments. Barbie consults with University personnel, including DRC staff, in researching, identifying, recommending, and implementing technical solutions to student and employee access barriers; problem-solving technological issues and compatibility concerns in implementing accommodations. She regularly presents on accessible digital design to a variety of groups and organizations.


Michelle Mitchell

Michelle Mitchell earned a M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Penn State University and has been in the profession over 20 years. Seeing the inequity of opportunities for persons with disabilities, Michelle has endeavored to change opportunities by changing the way our culture interprets disability and championing liberation.  Through this work, Michelle has developed sustainable relationships opening the doors of inclusion across campus. With over 11 years at Lehigh Carbon Community College as a Disability Learning Specialist and various community connections, Michelle has collaborated on a number of projects to open doors of equity across her community.


Heidi Pettyjohn

Heidi Pettyjohn is Executive Director for Accessibility and ADA and EIT Coordinator at the University of Cincinnati. Heidi provides institutional leadership and guides efforts in the sustainment of an accessible and inclusive experience for disabled students, staff and visitors at the university. She has organizational oversight of the the Accessibility Resources offices on each UC campus and co-chairs the Accessibility Network at UC, a cross functional team of offices that support and enhance the university’s capacity for accessible electronic content.


Rhonda Rapp

Rhonda H. Rapp, PhD is an educational consultant who specializes in removing barriers to learning. A trained educational psychologist, Dr. Rapp has been in the field of postsecondary disability services for over 30 years. Most recently, she was the director of a TRO-Student Support Services program for 12 years. Dr. Rapp has provided disability-related services at public and private institutions, community colleges, and doctoral-granting universities. During her tenure in postsecondary education, she has delivered a variety of services, including academic advising, career counseling, program planning, transition services, psychoeducational assessments, accommodation prescription and implementation, and individual and group counseling, for at-risk students and students with disabilities. She has created and presented training for educators and support staff from kindergarten through postsecondary education on working with at-risk student populations. In addition to providing a diverse array of services for TRIO students and students with disabilities, Dr. Rapp is a disability consultant for the Kamehameha School System in Hawaii.

Jill Sieben-Schneider

Jill Sieben-Schneider serves as the Associate Dean of Students and the Director of AccessibleNU (ANU) under the Division of Student Affairs. She is responsible for implementing the mission and vision of ANU through leadership, education, and outreach and serves on the Dean of Students team through crisis response and student support initiatives. Jill is a reviewer on the editorial board for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability and was nominated by her peers to serve on the board for the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, where she represents the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). She was the Program Chair for the 2016 international AHEAD conference, is the past president for the regional Colorado/Wyoming AHEAD affiliate, and serves as Secretary on the Executive Board for AHEAD. Over the past decade plus in education, she has served in various capacities. Prior to Northwestern University, Jill served in a leadership role in the Disability Services unit under the Diversity and Equity division at the University of Colorado Boulder where she also taught a course on disability in the School of Education’s Graduate Program in Higher Education. She also served students with disabilities at the McBurney Disability Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Disability Services Office at Ball State University, and taught middle and high school English in in Denver Public Schools. Jill holds a doctorate and bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Denver and a master’s degree from Ball State University.


Jodi Sleeper-Triplett

Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, is a Master Certified Coach, trainer, mentor, author and speaker. She is the author of Empowering Youth with ADHD and contributing author of Becoming Self-Determined: Creating Thoughtful Learners in a Standards-Driven, Admissions-Frenzied Culture (2016) and the newly released Becoming Self-Determined: Practical Strategies for a Changing World.  Jodi has been a presenter at AHEAD annual conferences and webinars for 12 years and a presenter at the International Conference on ADHD for 20 years. Her company, JST Coaching & Training, provides research-based student and ADHD coach training programs to individuals and educational institutions globally. The company is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in all training programs by creating cutting-edge, culturally-sensitive training and fostering an inclusive environment for both faculty and students where differences are valued and respected. Jodi is the recipient of the 2016 CHADD Hall of Fame Award & 2017 ADHD Coaches Organization Founders Award. She is seen by many as the foremost authority on student and ADHD coaching, pioneering the youth coaching movement.  During her two-year term as president of the Association of Coach Training Organizations, Jodi's platform was focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion in coach training and she continues to forward social justice initiatives. www.jstcoachtraining.com.


Tom Thompson

Tom Thompson entered the field of Disability Resources in Higher Education in 1980, taking a position at William R. Harper College, a large suburban community college outside of Chicago.  His career at Harper College spanned 30.5 years, including service as the ADA Coordinator for the last 12 years of his tenure along with remaining as the Director.  Starting in 1988, Tom began consulting with other higher education institutions and since retiring in 2010, consulting work has expanded greatly.  He has served as an Interim Director twice, for Northern Illinois University and for California State University, Fullerton.  Since 2018, he has had four major innovation contracts with institutions in Utah, New Mexico, and California. He has also served as an External Evaluator for AHEAD and NASPA, completing over 35 evaluations at private liberal arts colleges, community colleges, multi-campus systems, one online university and at several four-year universities. Tom authored a chapter in the NASPA publication, “Beyond the ADA…” on students with intellectual disabilities in higher education and is authoring and co-editing a chapter on External Evaluations in an upcoming AHEAD publication. He has also written articles for Disability Compliance in Higher Education and serves on their editorial board.  He is working on a text/resource about the field of Disability Resources and Services.


Mary Lee Vance

Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. is the Director of Services to Students with Disabilities at California State University Sacramento. She has served at every level of higher education, in a wide range of postsecondary positions, as well as in academia. Mary Lee was the Director of the Disabled Students’ Program and Student Support Services’ TRiO program at the University of California, Berkeley and the director of disability services at University of Montana, at George Mason University including its two-year satellite campuses, and at the University of Wisconsin, Superior. She has also directed other student services units, including academic advisement and career services, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including an introduction to disability studies. Mary Lee is the co-editor of Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Proactively Planning for Accessible Post-Secondary Educational Offerings Now and into the Future and Advising Students with Disabilities: Developing Universal Success and the editor of DISABLED Faculty and Staff in a Disabling Society: Multiple Perspectives in Higher Education.


Megan Wuebker

Megan is a Computer Information Analyst in the University of Cincinnati IT E-Learning team. Megan oversees the university's Blackboard Ally tool and training; she also designs the UC annual accessibility compliance training program.

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