The Next Chapter: Master Classes for the Seasoned Professional

The Next Chapter conference logo

May 17-19, 2018
The Westin Buckhead Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia

Now in its second year, The Next Chapter is AHEAD’s advanced professional development event for highly experienced higher education personnel who work to ensure accessible campus environments. Each three-day master class is designed to expand the knowledge of seasoned professionals, assisting them in making nuanced decisions, staying current with legal and technological changes, engaging campus stakeholders, and gaining the skills necessary to redefine access on their campuses.

Institutional leaders and seasoned disability personnel with a solid understanding of the ADA, disability accommodation process, and appropriate technology experience are invited to join national-expert instructors for a deep dive into ONE of the following topics:

  • MC#1- Advanced Practices for Disability Services in Health Sciences Programs
  • MC#2- Disability Law: Lessons in Application for the Advanced Disability Professional
  • MC#3- Growing an IT Accessibility Program on your Campus
  • MC#4- Students with Autism, An Expanding Frontier
  • MC#5- Principles of Reasonableness: Returning to Basics to Address Nuanced Issues


Based on feedback from last year’s inaugural Next Chapter classes, this year’s overall schedule has been altered to provide enhanced opportunities for participant engagement and networking:

  • Thursday, May 17 (6 hours of instruction)
    8:00-9:00 Full, buffet breakfast (provided)
    9:00-5:30- Master Classes
    Morning (10:30-11:00) and afternoon (3:30-4:00) refreshment breaks
    Lunch (12:30-2:00) on your own

  • Friday, May 18 (5 hours of instruction)
    9:00-4:00- Master Classes
    Morning (10:30-11:00) refreshment break
    Lunch (12:30-2:00) on your own
    Afternoon (4:00-6:00) All-Participant Reception

  • Saturday, May 19 (5 hours of instruction)

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

The cost of the program includes breakfast on Thursday, refreshment breaks, and an evening reception on Friday. All programs include 16-hours of on-site instruction and result in a certificate to document in-depth professional development in a specific area of access and inclusion; participants register for ONE master class. Some classes require up to 4-hours of pre-work. Continuing education units will be pre-approval from the CRCC for this program.

Last year’s Next Chapter filled to capacity, with extremely positive feedback on the quality of the program. Please register early to secure your spot.

MC#1: Advanced Practices for Disability Services in Health Sciences Programs

Elisa Laird-Metke, J.D., Samuel Merritt University
Lisa Meeks, Ph.D., University of Michigan Medical School

The high stakes environment of the health sciences, coupled with multi-layered, nuanced and complex educational experiences (e.g., didactics, anatomy labs, clinical rotations, standardized patient exams, board exams, etc.), poses unique challenges for disability service professionals, especially those unfamiliar with the culture, hierarchy, and nuanced elements of clinical education. This master class, taught by two highly skilled and experienced disability service professionals with extensive experience at schools with Health Science programs (including Med School, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Podiatry, and other programs) will help participants refine their skills for health science disability service delivery. This case-based training is highly interactive and dynamic, drawing on real cases and the most pressing concerns of participants. Participants receive a certificate of completion for the 20-hour training, which includes 4 hours of pre-work and 16 hours of in-person teaching. 

This training is fast-paced and assumes competence in the basics of the ADA and disability services, as well as a general understanding of health science program structure. Participants should have a solid background in higher education disability work and meet one of the following criteria:

  1. Attended Part One of this training with AHEAD (February 2018);
  2. Experience providing disability services in a health science program;
  3. At least 3 years of experience in non-health science disability services; or
  4. Approval from the instructors to register.

 The training will include:

  • Multiple case studies, including student needs from admissions and early disclosure through the didactic years, clinical rotations, residency, post graduate training, or certification with state boards, including application of relevant case law, OCR determinations and best practice.
  • Creating and updating Technical Standards, including a general review and self-study, group workshopping exercise, and an editing session with facilitators.
  • An overview of the relevant legal standards, including how to properly read and apply OCR and court cases to your everyday work.
  • Best practices and communication techniques for creating and cultivating relationships with the Deans and/or Program Directors within the health science programs.
  • An introduction to advanced technologies available to aid students in meeting the Technical Standards of programs or performing clinical duties, including a “show and tell” for some items.
  • Small group exercises grounded in problem-based learning designed to help participants understand what they know, what they need to know, and what resources are available to aid in decision-making beyond the confines of this training.

Together, these experiences will prepare mid-level and experienced providers to work through complex accommodation requests, proactively prepare for access, and identify recurrent challenges in health science education for students with disabilities. 

MC#2: Disability Law: Lessons in Nuance and Application for the Advanced Disability Professional

Jamie Axelrod, M.S., Northern Arizona University
Paul D. Grossman, J.D., OCR, Chief Regional Civil Rights Attorney, San Francisco, retired; University of California, Hastings College of Law
Mary Lee Vance, Interim Director of the Disabled Students Programs and Services at Orange Coast College

 The higher education environment and the legal concepts intended to ensure its accessibility are multi-faceted and ever-changing. It can sometimes feel as though the more we know, the more challenging it can be to find the salient issues in novel situations and apply the relevant legal concepts. Nonetheless, the law is an effective tool for both securing students’ civil rights and setting limits. Even with mastery of baseline information, we face the greater challenge of figuring out how to implement it. For example, how on earth can you assure that every video posted by every faculty member, adjunct instructor, and visiting professor is captioned? 

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

 This certificate-bearing Master Class will include 16-hours of face-to-face discussion and instruction. Participants will be sent four seminal rulings related to disability law in postsecondary education to review prior to our time together; on-site work will focus on application in the following areas:

  • Selling your mission: disability rights as civil rights
  • The definition of disability under Section 504, the ADA as amended by the ADAAA, and, most importantly, the new DOJ Title II and Title III regulations, including the new emphasis on “condition, manner, and duration” analysis
  • Accommodations, academic adjustments, and auxiliary aids that are, or are not, required in the postsecondary setting
  • Ways to consider and implement the primary defenses to the duty to accommodate including “equally effective alternatives”, “fundamental alteration,” and “undue burden”
  • The digital world, including alternate media production and access to websites, academic management tools, on-line learning, and adaptive technology
  • Service and emotional support animals
  • Program access
  • Discipline and student conduct
  • Self-injurious students
  • Internships and field work

MC#3: Growing an IT Accessibility Program on your Campus

Rob Eveleigh,  Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges
Dawn Hunziker, University of Arizona 
Rachel Thompson, University of Alabama

Higher education institutions are under increased scrutiny as to their institutional approach for ensuring accessibility in Web and information technology. While the Department of Justice and the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights have issued guidance regarding institutional obligations for ensuring access for students with disabilities, colleges and universities still struggle with how to address such obligations within the context of policy, procedure, and implementation. A benefit of recent compliance reviews, resolution agreements, and consent decrees is that they serve as a blueprint for developing and refining policy and practice. Building an accessible electronic and information technology (EIT) environment requires engagement by a wide variety of institutional stakeholders, including those within IT departments, disability services, faculty, libraries, procurement, and other campus units.

This dynamic, interactive workshop is presented by members of the Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN) and includes foundational legal information offered by guest presenter Paul Grossman, an analysis of federal agreements, and presentation and discussion of best practice approaches. In addition to on-site presenters, the session will include live, remote national experts sharing perspectives and best practices on specific topics. Together, this information will prepare IT staff, disability service providers, managers, and other campus stakeholders to work through institutional challenges to create a strategic, and comprehensive approach for creating an accessible EIT environment. Session leaders will provide models for decision-making and communication, guidance on policy and procedure development, and strategies for growing campus-wide involvement.

The face-to-face workshop includes:

  • Review of relevant disability laws, federal resolution agreements and consent decrees and their application to institutional access to EIT
  • Policies and procedures that support institutional obligations, including the building of an EIT Accessibility Program to best address individual campus goals and strategies
  • Review of current EIT accessibility standards and the scope of such standards to EIT products and services
  • Self-evaluation protocols to help determine and prioritize individual campus goals and strategies.
  • Strategies for building campus accessibility teams to create and implement an EIT Accessibility Roadmap.
  • Communication Plans to promote and support a campus-wide EIT Accessibility Program
  • Goals and strategies for ensuring accessible documents, communications and media
  • Implementation of campus-wide solutions for web accessibility assessment and training
  • Procurement and Development of Accessible EIT Products & Services
    • Procurement policy and procedures for including accessibility as part of information technology acquisition and development
    • Accessibility testing methodologies for review of electronic content and information technology systems
    • Strategies for engaging with vendors to address EIT product accessibility
    • Equally Effective Alternative Access Plans (EEAAPs)

 MC#4: Students with Autism and Higher Education, An Expanding Frontier

Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D., College Autism Spectrum & Yale Child Study
Lorraine Wolf, Ph.D., Boston University

Approximately 50,000 students with autism graduate from high school each year, and increasing numbers of those students, about 35%, go on to higher education.  Even the most seasoned disability resource professional may be unsure of how to implement effective support systems for students on the spectrum, leaving them feeling unsupported and misunderstood. Campuses must re-examine our understandings, language, and skills to negotiate the intersection of institutional policies, practices, and expectations with the characteristics of an increasingly diverse student body.

This master class will focus on understanding the population of students on the autism spectrum. Strategies for moving students to a greater state of independence, working with parents, and partnering with faculty to design teaching and advising experiences that are effective will be shared and discussed. Because this is a master class, the nationally-recognized expert presenters will assume basic knowledge of autism and understanding of the principles of access and accommodation. Focus will be on institutional system change, collaboration, and strategies for enhancing students’ ability to navigate the college environment.

This 16-hour, certificate-bearing, advanced training will provide significant opportunity for interaction and include discussion of:

  • The brain and executive function
  • Self-advocacy, self-determination, and self-regulation
  • Title IX issues, including both training and compliance
  • Conduct and “non-optional” behavior
  • Cultivating partnerships with other campus offices, including career planning, residence life, student activities, etc.
  • Disability resource office policies, practices, and programs, including the roles and functions that fit with a service office and those that do not
  • Best practice guidance for fostering a welcoming, inclusive campus 

MC#5: Principles of Reasonableness: Returning to basics to address challenging, nuanced situations

L. Scott Lissner, The Ohio State University
Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida

Those of us who have been in the field of higher education and disability for some time know the principles that underlie our work, the relevant legislation, and best practices. Yet, synthesizing that information to make a decision on the reasonableness of a request in the face of competing priorities from students, faculty, administrators, and other stakeholders is challenging. By design, the field requires individual analysis of each student’s characteristics, each program or campus context, and each unique request. With so many moving parts, legal and policy guidelines can only take us so far. Fluent communication skills, expertise in identifying relevant information, and a critical voice are necessary. 

Using both the participants and facilitators’ expertise and experiences, this master class will be organized as six half-day explorations of critical topics in disability services:

  • Principles of Reasonableness: Balancing competing equities while juggling fundamental program goals. To set the stage, we’ll revisit basic principles and discuss how they inform decision-making in even the most complex situations.
  • Documentation: Anchoring policies to institutional mission and philosophy. Moving the conversation from “Is she qualified?” to “How do I collect and use the most critical individual information to address access in unique contexts?”
  • After foundational information is explored, we’ll consider access and decision-making in some of the most nuanced areas:
    • The Intersection of Student Conduct and Accommodation: Examining behavior and process
    • Attendance Accommodations: Managing expectations
    • Animals In and Out of the Residence Halls: Is there room for parrots and porcupines?
    • Internships, Practica and Placements: Bringing accommodations to work
Participants will set the stage as they work with the facilitators 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 discussion on each accommodation theme will review the research and legal landscape as participants identify the challenges and successes in their settings. 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 development.

Master Class Faculty

image of Jamie Axelrod, M.S.
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.
image of Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D.

Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D. is Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study, Yale Medical School; Director of College Autism Spectrum; and former Director of Student Services at the University of Connecticut School of Law. She has worked in Disability Services for 37 years. She holds a doctorate from Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Brown consults with many families, students, school districts and institutions of higher education. Dr. Brown has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS News and NPR. She has co- authored “Student with Asperger’s: A Guide for College Professionals,” (2009; published in Japanese in 2017); “The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum,” (2012); and “Behavior Management and Self-Regulation,” (2012) along with many textbook chapters and articles. Dr. Brown is married and has three children, the youngest being a 25-year old son with Autism. 

image of Rob Eveleigh

Rob Eveleigh, A.L.M. has worked as an access technologist at the Five College Consortium, UMass Amherst, and Harvard University. He has provided expertise, technical direction, assessment, and implementation support to ensure technical compliance and functional accessibility of electronic and information technologies at a variety of private and public campuses. Rob has served as chair/lead of multiple accessibility committees and teams at the Five College Consortium and UMass Amherst and as project manager of the UMass System IT Accessibility Program. In these roles, he provides leadership to ensure that campuses build capacity to implement sustainable IT accessibility goals and strategies that address the accessibility of existing and emerging technologies to persons with disabilities while minimizing the compliance risk associated with the accelerated and dynamic IT accessibility case law landscape. A graduate of Lehigh University, Rob received a master’s degree in educational technologies with a focus on accessible technologies from Harvard University.

image of 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.
image of Dawn Hunziker
Dawn Hunziker, M.S. is the IT Accessibility Consultant for the University of Arizona’s Disability Resources. She co-coordinates the UA's IT Accessibility Program to support the UA’s commitment to full accessibility of electronic and information technology employed on campus ( Her job duties include working with campus units and committees, program managers, content developers, faculty and staff to provide input and proactive solutions regarding accessibility in the UA IT and academic environments. Dawn also coordinates Assistive Technology availability on campus, supports alternate format production (documents and media), and collaborates on faculty development, accessible course, and Web design initiatives. She currently serves as Vice President of the ATHEN Executive Committee. Dawn has presented at local, state, and national conferences regarding the UA IT Accessibility Program, PDF/web accessibility, captioning processes, and inclusive curriculum design.
image of 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. Elisa 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.
image of Adam Meyer

Adam Meyer, Ph.D. is currently the Executive Director of the Student Accessibility Services office and of Inclusive Education Services at the University of Central Florida with past disability office experience at Eastern Michigan University and Saint Louis University. Adam is currently on the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Board of Directors and has presented at the past seven AHEAD conferences on documentation, social model of disability and office implementation, initial student interviews, office data and budget basics as well as on leadership strategies for disability professionals. He worked in the intellectual disability field for nearly 10 years prior to working in higher education.

image of 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, Lissner 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. Lissner has been appointed to the Columbus Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, Ohio’s Help America Vote Act Committee, and the Ohio Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities. Recent presentations include the National Association of Disabilities Providers (UK), a technical assistance tour to Indonesia sponsored by the Department of State, sessions at the Association on Higher Education and Disability, the National Association of College and University Attorneys, The Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and workshops on building accommodation processes at the Universities of Tokyo and Doshisha in Japan. 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.
image of Lisa Meeks
Lisa Meeks, Ph.D. is Clinician Scholar at the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan Medical School and Clinical Lecturer in the Department of Family Medicine. She is the co-founder and current President of the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science and Medical Education, co-developer of the AAMC Disability Webinar Series and the University of California San Francisco Disability Training Series for Faculty and Administrators, co-editor and an author of The Guide to Assisting Students with Disabilities: Equal Access in Health Science and Professional Education, and  Co-PI and lead author of the AAMC Special Report Learners and Physicians with Disabilities: Accessibility, Action, and Inclusion in Medical Education. Her research focuses on medical student and resident well-being, disability curriculum in medical education, and reducing health care disparities in patients with disabilities.
image of Rachel Thompson
Rachel Shuttlesworth Thompson, Ph.D. is Director of Emerging Technology and Accessibility in the Office of Information Technology at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She leads the campus-wide technology accessibility initiative ( and has shepherded the implementation of campus-wide web accessibility guidelines, accessibility evaluation processes, captioning grants, and assistive technology tools. Rachel has worked in information and instructional technology since 2007 and has presented at local, state, and national conferences on technology accessibility, instructional technology, linguistics, and other topics. Rachel serves on the Board of AL-AHEAD, the Alabama state affiliate of AHEAD.
image of Mary Lee Vance
Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. is the Interim Director of the Disabled Students Programs and Services at Orange Coast College (OCC). In her career, she has served at every level of higher education, in a wide range of postsecondary positions, as well as in academia. At the University of California, Berkeley, Mary Lee served as the Director of the Disabled Students’ Program (DSP) Student Support Services TRiO program, as well as the DSP Associate Director. She has also directed disability services at University of Montana, George Mason University, along with its two-year satellite campuses, and the University of Wisconsin, Superior. In addition to disability services, Mary Lee has directed other student services units, including academic advisement and career services, and has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including an introduction to disability studies course. She is the co-editor of two books: Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Proactively Planning for Accessible Post-Secondary Educational Offerings, Now and into the Future; Advising Students with Disabilities: Developing Universal Success; and editor DISABLED Faculty and Staff in a Disabling Society: Multiple Perspectives in Higher Education. Mary Lee has served over ten years as a reviewer for the NACADA refereed journal and is currently a reviewer for the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. She has published in several journals, texts, and other publications and has an extensive presentation history. Mary Lee was recently recognized by AHEAD and CAPED, with their respective Professional Recognition awards.

image of Lorraine Wolf
Lorraine Wolf, Ph.D. is the Director of Disability Services at Boston University. She holds a doctorate in clinical neuropsychology from the City University of New York and has over 25 years of experience working with children, adolescents and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders. She has taught experimental psychology, assessment, and neuropsychology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Dr. Wolf has published and presented nationally and internationally on issues for students with attention and learning disorders, psychiatric disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders. She holds faculty appointments in psychiatry and in rehabilitation sciences at Boston University. She was a co-editor of Adult Attention Deficit Disorders: Brain Mechanisms and Life Outcomes (2001, New York Academy of Sciences), is the senior co-editor of Learning Disorders in Adults: Contemporary Issues (Psychology Press, 2008), and is the co-author of Students with Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for College Personnel (2009, Autism Asperger Publishing Company) and Students on the Spectrum: A College Guide for Parents (2012, AAPC). Dr. Wolf’s interests include the neuropsychology of neurodevelopmental disorders and developing effective services for students with disabilities in higher education. Along with her co-presenter Jane Thierfeld Brown, she developed a model of service delivery for college students entitled “Strategic Education for students with Autism spectrum Disorders”. She is the parent of twin teenagers, one of whom is on the spectrum which gives her a unique insight into these courageous young people.

Host Hotel

All housing and events associated with The Next Chapter: Master Classes for the Seasoned Professional will be held at:

The Westin Buckhead Atlanta
3391 Peachtree Road Northeast
Atlanta, Georgia, 30326-1098

AHEAD has secured sleeping rooms for attendees at $179/night for single or double occupancy. 

Registration Fee:

  • Members: $495 before April 9; $575 after April 9-- EXTENDED TO APRIL 25
  • Non-members: $595 before April 9; $675 after April 25

Registration includes all materials, breakfast on Thursday, refreshment breaks, and the Friday evening reception. Travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and additional meals are not included in the registration fee. Refunds can only be provided for cancellations received in writing on or before April 9, 2018. A $75.00 administrative fee will be charged for all cancellations. We regret that no refunds can be issued after April 9, 2018 for any reason; however, registration can be transferred to another attendee from the same institution.

Register Online Here!