2015 Conference: Call for Proposals

AHEAD 2015 Conference LogoAHEAD 2015: Diverse Perspectives Creating a Vision for the Future

The 38th Conference of the Association on Higher Education And Disability

July 13 - 18, 2015
The St. Paul River Center
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Call for Proposals
Submission Deadline:  November 12, 2014

The Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers come together under the bluffs of historic St. Paul where they gather strength for the long southward journey.  In the same way, members of AHEAD join together to learn from - and challenge - each other to seek exemplary ways to develop usable, sustainable and inclusive higher education environments for students, faculty, and staff with disabilities

The annual conference is the Association’s hallmark event and draws participants from around the world who represent education, government, legal, research, and technology fields, among others.  Attendees come together for an exciting mix of learning, policy development and face-to-face networking.

The 2015 AHEAD Conference has been designed to develop professional competencies, challenge perspectives on disability, and influence practices.  This conference will explore and challenge our profession and perspectives.  Our conference attendees seek sessions on access to instruction, faculty engagement, global disability perspectives, research efforts, solutions for the small DS office, upward career mobility, and Career Services, Community Colleges, and Veterans/Wounded Warriors, to name a few.

We encourage proposals focused on new points of view with regard to attitudes and mindsets, service delivery or specific disability focus.  We seek to explore demanding questions such as:

  • How do we build positive Disability stereotypes: how can we go beyond the theme of “helping”?
  • What are ways to blend legal imperatives with practices reflecting new models of thinking about disability?
  • How best to eliminate power dynamics in service provision, language and procedures?
  • How to foster innovative relationships across campus with faculty, administrators and students to eliminate barriers to full participation?
  • How best to develop expertise in emerging technologies that develop beyond our imaginations?
  • What’s next for the seasoned DS professional?

We welcome submissions in many formats (lecture, demonstrations, panels, roundtable discussions, etc.). Presentations from partnered projects where multiple representatives will be present are highly encouraged to exemplify best practices in collaboration.

For 2015 we highlight the areas below and seek proposals that meet the goals of each:

Diversity and Social Justice
Given our theme, “Diverse Perspectives Creating a Vision for the Future”, this year’s conference will offer a topical strand dedicated to exploring diversity and social justice in disability services. Diversity is a driving value for AHEAD and its membership. This strand will provide opportunities for engagement and dialogue to help us think more progressively about disability and promote practices congruent with our commitment to diversity and social justice.

We welcome submissions that address the following questions or related content.

  • How do we explore disability as a social justice issue, shaped by dynamics of power, privilege and oppression?
  • How do power and privilege impact the role of a disability services professional?
  • How can we develop effective educational programming that is informed by social justice?
  • What are the multiple identities/identity intersections of disabled students?
  • How do disability-related biases inform our understanding of disability and show up in our work?
  • How can we develop disability services practices on campus that reflect our values about diversity and social justice?

Disability Studies
This year’s conference will offer a topical strand devoted to the ways that disability studies can inform our daily work as resource providers. Disability Studies seeks to challenge a medical model that locates “a problem” in an individual, exploring how physical, social, economic, and attitudinal factors shape our understanding of disability, of ourselves and our communities. Disability Studies enables us to discern and change normative assumptions related to abilities, self-sufficiency, beauty, and wellness that are oppressive or exclusive. The showcased questions below are there for indication only and you should feel free to suggest a sub-theme of your own if you feel your content fits the parameters of this specific strand.

  • How does the study of disability inform the practices of disability resource provision?
  • How can disability resource centers cultivate and support a shift to an understanding of disability as a dimension—varied within itself--of a diverse and thriving community?
  • What annual programming, campus partnerships, curricular innovations, strategies, or conversations will foster acceptance, interdependence, and confidence in oneself, one’s commitments, and one’s community?
  • How can we promote the creation of equitable, usable and sustainable environments as being integral to full participation and inclusion? How do such environments enable us to understand disability as a vital aspect of human diversity?

Americans with Disabilities Act Anniversary
During the 2015 conference, AHEAD will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In support of that effort, proposed sessions which include a connection to the anniversary will receive special consideration and will be highlighted during the conference proceedings.

To begin the proposal submission process, click on Call for Proposals – Specifications

Questions? Please e-mail ahead2015@ahead.org