Management Institutes

All Institutes are completely filled!

Please contact Carol Funckes for information on wait lists. Please look for information on AHEAD’s next professional development event: The Next Chapter: Master classes for seasoned professionals in May

Image of group of people at a past Management Institute session

InterContinental New Orleans
444 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70130


Management & TRiO Institutes - February 1-3, 2018

AHEAD invites you to join us in New Orleans for the 12th annual Management Institute. The Institute offers five in-depth, 13-hour hour workshops AND a half-day of bonus “snapshot” presentations for all attendees on Saturday, February 3. The five, two-day Institutes cover a range of topics of interest to disability service professionals, student affairs staff and administrators, and TRiO personnel. Each attendee chooses ONE Institute for an in-depth focus on a specific topic. AHEAD’s Management & TRiO Institutes offer an intimate setting, hands-on learning, networking opportunities, and experienced faculty that bring attendees back year after year. We hope you can join us this year.

We are pleased offer five in-depth sessions (choose ONE):

  • Institute #1: AHEAD Start: The Institute for New and Newer Disability Resource Personnel
  • Institute #2: Disability Law for DSS Directors, Staff, and ADA Officers: Compliance requirements, analytical tools, and solutions. 
  • Institute #3: An Introduction to Managing Accommodations for Students in Health Science and Professional Education. 
  • Institute #4: G.L.I.D.E into Leadership.  
  • Institute #5: AHEAD – TRiO Training Institute: Design Your Own Training Focused on Working with Students with Disabilities. 

Saturday Snapshots

We are excited to augment this year’s Institute schedule with a series of short, focused presentations by our expert faculty. Snapshots are 20-minute presentations on focused topics of global interest to those engaged in promoting equity in higher education. These short talks will be featured on Saturday morning and open to all attendees.

  • Elisa Laird-Metke, J.D. will discuss recent court and OCR decisions relevant to campus disability accommodations, with a focus on how the lessons learned from these cases can be applied to our everyday practice.
  • Melanie Thornton, M.A. will present programming resources that can be used to promote disability as diversity and access as a matter of social justice.
  • Lisa Meeks, Ph.D. will review the issue of confidentiality in higher education disability services.
  • Jamie Axelrod, M.S. will offer a best practices approach for addressing the issue of attendance modifications.
  • Paul Grossman, J.D. will explore the emerging question of what responsibility disability service offices may have as part of a college’s response to survivors of sexual assault.

Instruction Schedule- 13-hours of direct instruction in selected content area, PLUS the 2-hour Snapshot Saturday presentations.

9:00 – 5:30 Thursday, February 1, 2018: Day 1 of Selected Institute 
9:00 – 5:30 pm Friday, February 2, 2018; Day 2 of Selected Institute
9:00 am - 11:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2018; BONUS Snapshot presentations

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

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Institute #1: AHEAD Start: Setting the Landscape for New Professionals

Carol Funckes, AHEAD

This Institute provides a comprehensive overview of the major issues that shape access in higher education for those new to the disability resource office. In the dynamic postsecondary environment, that office must be both a student service unit and a vital center of information, collaboration, and leadership for the campus. Disability resource professionals must balance their work in determining and coordinating accommodations for individual students with their equally important role in keeping administrators and other campus stakeholders aware of and in involved in creating equitable experiences for individuals with disabilities.

Through instruction, discussion, and resource sharing, we will explore the civil rights foundation, legal underpinnings, and practical realities of creating accessible, welcoming higher education environments. We will discuss both what must be done and what can be done and consider ways to reframe messages about disability on our campuses. Guided by participant questions and interests, we will cover the following topics:

  • basics of disability service in higher education, including foundational legal concepts, perspectives of disability, the power of design, and lessons from history and disability studies;
  • promising approaches for using interview and a variety of forms of information, including third-party documentation, to assess barriers and plan for access and individual accommodations;
  • strategies for designing service delivery practices that minimize extra efforts by disabled students and encourage faculty collaboration in areas such as testing, note-taking, alternative formats, and captioning;
  • developing issues, including service/comfort animals, dietary accommodations, attendance policy modification, etc.
  • the campus-wide role of disability resource staff in collaborating with and consulting on information and communication technology (ICT) accessibility, physical, curricular, policy, and information access;
  • office management: record keeping, strategic planning, budgeting and resource management, and program review and assessment.

Unlike online trainings and other forms of distant education, this two-day Institute provides the opportunity for attendees to begin to develop a professional network of peers, the most valuable professional development tool we can have!

Audience: Novice

Institute #2: Disability Law for DSS Directors, Staff, and ADA Officers: Compliance requirements, analytical tools, and solutions

Paul Grossman, J.D., Hastings College of Law
Jamie Axelrod, M.S., Northern Arizona University

Back by popular demand, this two-day Institute will give DS, ADA, disability law practitioners and compliance professionals a comprehensive introduction to postsecondary disability law, including the compliance requirements of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Participants will leave with a comprehensive framework for addressing legal responsibilities and answering the questions they encounter daily.

We will begin by placing the responsibilities of disability services into its civil rights context with a review of the history of discrimination against individuals with disabilities and the emergence of the disability rights movement, which culminated in the adoption of disability antidiscrimination laws. Participants will learn what legal traditions and concepts all antidiscrimination laws share and what is unique to disability law. We will first focus on who is an individual with a disability. This will include exploring the practical implications of the ADAAA’s revised and expanded definition of disability, as well as the implications of the new DOJ regulations applying the ADAAA to Titles II & III.

Our next step will be to master the overarching paradigms through which courts and compliance agencies consider the ultimate legal question: whether a student with a disability is an academically and technically qualified individual to be a post-secondary student. Essential to this exploration will be how reasonable accommodation (“academic adjustments and auxiliary aids”) is taken in account in determining whether an individual is qualified. What accommodations are, and are not, required in the college and university setting? Examination of this issue will include mastery of the affirmative defenses to the duty to accommodate students with disabilities, including undue burden, fundamental alteration, and direct threat to the health and safety of others. We will become familiar with the judicially sanctioned-processes that facilitate the resolution of disputes over what is or is not a fundamental alteration and how implementation of these processes gain colleges and universities deference from the courts to their academic decision-making.

We will apply the foundational concepts to cutting-edge legal developments in some of the most challenging and complex issues that face DS offices. This will include the digital world (websites, academic management tools, on-line learning and adaptive technology), service and emotional support animals, mobility devices, architectural and programmatic access, admissions, discipline and conduct, self-injurious students, and internships. Throughout the Institute, opportunities to apply concepts will be provided through discussions of hypothetical cases.

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

Lisa Meeks, University of Michigan Medical School
Elisa Laird-Metke, Samuel Merritt University

Audience: This training will provide management guidance for new or experienced Disability Service (DS) practitioners who are new to health sciences and will include a refresher in DS principles as they are applied to health sciences.

Schools that offer health science programs, including Medical, Podiatry, Nursing, Dental, Pharmacy, Speech/Language, Physical or Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant, Veterinary, or other programs, face unique challenges when creating reasonable accommodations for health science and professional students with disabilities. This introduction to disability services (DS) in the health sciences will provide an overview of how to address complex accommodation requests in classroom, lab, and clinical environments. Common challenges include the lock-step nature of most programs, determining appropriate accommodations in patient care settings, meeting technical standards, and proactive planning to anticipate accommodation needs in clinical environments.

The presenters will cover the basic tenets of practicing in this specialization, including the most relevant OCR decisions and court cases, and participants will have opportunities to work through example scenarios. Complex topics will be presented through a combination of lectures and small group discussions. Each day will end with dedicated time for Q&A.

Throughout the two days, participants will gain:

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

Participants will leave this training with a flowchart to aid in complex decision-making, a reference guide of common health science acronyms and abbreviations, sample written policies and procedures, and a presentation template for providing faculty/staff trainings regarding accommodations in the health sciences.

This Institute provides foundational information about access in health science institutions. For those interested in exploring the topic in more detail, AHEAD will offer an “advanced” level training in May as part of The Next Chapter: Master Classes for the Seasoned Professional, May 16-19 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Institute #4: G.L.I.D.E. into Leadership

Melanie Thornton, University of Arkansas CURRENTS

If you are like most people who work to promote access and inclusion, you regularly—maybe even daily—are in the position of attempting to influence others on your campus. It may be in a conversation with a faculty member about course design, during a committee meeting about web accessibility, or in a meeting with an administrator about the budget for accommodations. And then there are the even larger conversations about seeing and representing disability as an aspect of diversity and making sure access is baked into the design of products, processes and procedures across campus. These conversations as well as the role of influencing campus culture require leadership skills and an understanding of the dynamics of change.

Conventional wisdom tells us that people are born leaders, but in truth the skills of leadership and influence that make us more effective in these situations can be learned.

G.L.I.D.E. is a 5-part leadership curriculum that introduces participants to these core skills.

  • Grow the Gap
    • Slow reaction time and make time for reflection.
    • Make room in your schedule for what matters most.
  • Leverage Your Liability
    • Increase personal accountability.
    • Reflect on mistakes and learn from them.
  • Identify and Clarify Your Intention
    • Know your personal values.
    • Clarify mission and vision.
    • Effectively articulate your vision to others.
  • Decide and Do Deliberately
    • Align behaviors and practices with values, mission and vision.
    • Focus time and energy on what matters most.
  • Engage Others with Empathy
    • Learn to see, listen and understand those around you.
    • Understand the importance of interdependence.
    • Gain an understanding of the dynamics of organizational and cultural change.

In this interactive workshop, you will explore these five areas of leadership, learn specific evidence-based skills that are associated with more effective and influential leaders, and create your own leadership development plan.

Institute #5: AHEAD – TRiO Training Institute: Design Your Own Training Focused on Working with Students with Disabilities!

Rhonda H. Rapp, St. Mary’s University, Texas

Here’s your chance to get exactly the training you need! Over the past 20 years, AHEAD has delivered highly interactive and positively-reviewed training on serving students with disabilities to TRiO directors and staff. Building on this experience and success, we plan to shake it up a bit this year. Using the same intensive, interactive approach, we will design this year’s two-day AHEAD TRiO Training Institute to specifically address the information participants need.

When you register, you will receive a follow-up communication inviting you to tell us about your training needs. Questions like the following will guide us in creating a two-day experience that answers your questions and focuses specifically on the information and strategies that will support you where you are.

  • What topics about identifying, recruiting, engaging, and supporting students with disabilities do you need?
  • What specific challenges do you face in working with students with disabilities in your program?
  • Do you wonder how disability impact students’ academic, social, and work lives?
  • Would strategies that have been proven effective in improving the success rates of students with disabilities would be helpful to you in enhancing your services?
  • What information and resources do you need to take home with you to support your own staffs’ training needs?

We’re excited to modify this training to focus it specifically on the challenges you’re facing. As always, the strategies and tools shared will be demonstrated and used during the Institute. Be sure and register for the TRiO Training Institute and answer the questions included with the registration by December 22nd so that you too can be “one of the developers” of this year’s TRiO Institute!

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) have been pre-approval by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC). A general Certificate of Attendance will be available to document the training for other licensing agencies and employers.

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

Carol Funckes
Carol Funckes, M.S. is the Chief Operations Officer for AHEAD, a 35-year veteran of Disability Resources at the University of Arizona, and a Past President of AHEAD. She developed the curriculum for the AHEAD Start Institute and has delivered it to over 500 new service professionals. In her role with AHEAD, Carol answers technical assistance questions for members, consults with institutions as they develop processes and strategies for creating more accessible campus environments for students with disabilities, and develops resources. She served as the Chair of AHEAD’s Standing Committee on Professional Development and a trainer for Project SHIFT, a federally-funded grant on progressive service delivery. At the University of Arizona, Carol was the Senior Associate Director of Disability Resources, responsible working directly with a team of Access Consultants, technology staff, and service coordinators to foster access for students with disabilities through system change and the delivery of accommodations.

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.


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

Lisa Meeks
Lisa Meeks, Ph.D. is currently on staff with the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine where she is the Director for Medical Student Disability Services and an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the division of General Internal Medicine. Lisa is a co-founder and the President elect of the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education, co-editor and an author of The Guide to Assisting Students with Disabilities: Equal Access in Health Science and Professional Education (Springer Publishing) as well as lead author or co-author on several text-focused on Students on the Autism Spectrum. In addition to her work in higher education, Lisa has developed specialized trainings for the Department of Defense (DOD), the Association of Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and serves as a program and disability consultant for programs and universities nationwide. Currently, Lisa’s work focuses on gaining a better understanding of the nuanced supports necessary for full access in medical education.

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

Melanie Thornton
Melanie Thornton, M.A. is the Coordinator of Access and Equity Outreach at the University of Arkansas CURRENTS. In this position, she provides professional development and technical assistance on topics related to disability, diversity, digital access, leadership, and design. She also consults with local organizations, guiding them in strategic planning and values alignment. Previously, she worked at the Disability Resource Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she served as the Associate Director and as the Director of Project PACE. In the capacity of Director of Project PACE, she led the Disability Resource Center in a strategic planning process during which they changed their mission statement, reconfigured their organizational structure, and made other changes to reflect the values of the organization. She also led the campus community in increasing capacity related to web accessibility and inclusive curricular design. During her tenure at UALR she also served as a trainer for Project ShIFT—a project that focused on developing the leadership skills of professionals across the country and supporting them in infusing disability studies perspectives into their practices. Melanie has presented at state, national and international conferences on topics related to disability and access and has worked as an independent consultant in a variety of capacities for 10 years.

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Host Hotel

image of InterContinental New Orleans hotel

The InterContinental New Orleans
444 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130

All events associated with the 2018 AHEAD Management and TRiO Institutes will be housed at the InterContinental New Orleans Hotel. You are welcome to “visit” the hotel in advance at:

AHEAD has secured a special group rate of $189.00 + tax per night for single or double occupancy rooms at the hotel. Hotel reservations must be made directly with the hotel no later than Wednesday, January 10th, 2018.

Please make your reservation by calling 1-800-235-4670 and ask for the AHEAD Group Rate, or use our event-specific online reservation system at:

We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans for this great event!

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Received On or Before Dec. 21, 2016 Received After Dec. 21, 2016
AHEAD or TRiO Member $395 $475
Non-Member $495 $575


Registration includes all materials, full breakfast on Thursday and Friday, and beverage morning and afternoon breaks each day of the Institutes. Travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and additional meals are not included in the registration fee. Refunds can only be provided for cancellations received in writing on or before December 21, 2016. A $75.00 administrative fee will be charged for all cancellations. We regret that no refunds can be issued after December 21, 2016 for any reason, but can be transferred to another attendee from the same institution.

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