Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education, AHEAD’s annual conference

AHEAD Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education conference logo

AHEAD annual international conference is its hallmark event. Now in its 41st year, Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education draws approximately 1,500 participants from around the world for a week of extraordinary professional development and networking. Presenters and participants come from diverse fields, including education, technology, law, scholarship, and government, but share a common interest in fostering equitable higher education experiences for disabled individuals. We hope you can join us in Albuquerque in July 2018!

Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education
July 16-20, 2018
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Welcome from the Program Chairs

Please join us for the 41st Annual Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Consistent with AHEAD’s mission, the conference will continue the theme of Equity and Excellence: Access in Higher Education. 

We’re excited to welcome Margaret Price, Program Director of Disability Studies and Associate Professor at The Ohio State University, as our keynote speaker. Dr. Price is the author of Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life, a member of the Society of Disability Studies, and a well-respected presenter. Her work on destigmatizing mental illness and expecting and planning for students and faculty with mental illness will bring insight and awareness to this important topic.

The schedule offers multiple preconference institutes on Monday and Tuesday that are designed for an in-depth examination of topics near and dear to the hearts of disability service providers. Preconference institutes are available in two-day, single day, and half-day formats to best meet your scheduling needs.  Many attendees have commented on the wealth of information and learning that they gain from the preconference format. We hope you take the opportunity to explore these offerings.  

Once again, participants interested in specific topics will be able to follow conference strands throughout the week. Look for the highlighted program strands with thought-provoking topics including: Focusing on Students in Health Science and Professional Schools (Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, etc.); autism awareness, leadership, the ADA Coordinator role, social justice, and sessions that highlight research and data-based practices. Strands run through the eight concurrent time blocks and two poster sessions.

This year’s conference includes two featured presentation sessions. Twice during the conference, we’ll highlight popular topics by offering them in a time block with few competing presentations to enhance your opportunity to attend while minimizing scheduling conflicts. Featured presentations are scheduled for Wednesday and Friday.

By popular demand, we are again offering “AHEAD Talks.” Inspired by TED Talks, AHEAD Talks will be scheduled on Thursday and Friday morning before concurrent sessions begin (with coffee)! Be informed and enjoy several short, dynamic Talks by different each morning. AHEAD Talks will be a great way to start your day, inspired and challenged by innovative ideas from colleagues.

New Mexico offers majestic vistas and rich culture. It is also known for its creativity and ingenuity. Akin to those qualities, the 41st annual AHEAD conference will offer rich intellectual content and inspire curiosity and creativity in and out of the conference with friends and colleagues from around the country. Our conference would be incomplete without the Exhibit Hall which will offer information on the latest technologies, services, and programs.   

We look forward to sharing moments of learning, fun, and inspiration with you at our social events throughout the conference. The President’s Reception, Awards Banquets, REDD SIG reception, and SIG Meetings provide essential opportunities to connect with colleagues. 

As professionals, “we stand on the shoulders of giants in this field,” whether you are new or experienced, the 41st Annual AHEAD Access and Equity Conference has something new, invigorating, and exciting to offer you.  We look forward to joining you in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

image of Crystal Hill
Crystal Hill
Program Co-Chair
Assistant Dean/Director
Disability Resource Center
University of Central Arkansas
Student Services
Conway, Arkansas

image of Linda Sullivan
Linda Sullivan, MA
Program Co-Chair
Director, Accessibility Services
ADA Coordinator
Harvard University
Division of Continuing Education
Cambridge, Massachusetts



President's Welcome

Friends and Colleagues,

On behalf of the AHEAD Board of Directors, I would like to welcome you to Albuquerque and the 41th annual AHEAD conference, Equity and Excellence: Access in Higher Education.

We appreciate that you have chosen to join this annual gathering and to engage with us in forwarding AHEAD’s goals of equity and inclusion in post-secondary education. The annual conference is an opportunity for our community to come together. It is a valuable time of learning, growth, leadership and connection. My hope is that you will use your time to educate yourself about the trends and issues related to access in higher education, listen to new and different perspectives on many topics, and of course, to catch up with old friends and build new connections.   

AHEAD is continuing its work to bring you the most comprehensive and engaging professional development in our field. This year has been no different, with new opportunities and forums throughout the year. The AHEAD staff and conference committee have devoted countless hours to make this year’s conference engaging and informative. A great deal of work has gone into bringing you the best sessions on the most salient topics from leading presenters. We believe it will be a great experience.

Thank you so much for all you do in the name of access.

image of Jamie Axelrod
Jamie Axelrod
AHEAD President