The Next Chapter: Master Classes for the Seasoned Professional

image of logo for the next chapter conference

May 18 - 20, 2017

The Sheraton Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas


All Master Classes are filled and have significant waiting lists. We’re so sorry that we cannot add anyone else either to the classes or to the wait lists. Thank you for your interest! Please look for Next Chapter information next year… and join us in Orlando this summer.


AHEAD, through its conferences, webinars, and other resources, is recognized as a leader in providing professional development for disability services and resource personnel. For a number of years, highly experienced professionals have also asked for more content that pushes their development: that assists them in making nuanced decisions, staying current with legal and technological changes, engaging campus stakeholders, and gaining the respect necessary to redefine access on their campuses.

The Next Chapter is a response to those requests. With four 3-day Master Classes, we invite institutional leaders and seasoned disability providers, with a solid understanding of the ADA and disability accommodation process, to join national-expert instructors for a deep dive into an “advanced” curriculum. Participants will register for one Class and spend the full three days engaging with that content. Programs include:

To ensure maximum learning and interaction, registrations will be capped for each Master Class. All programs include 20-hours of instruction and result in a certificate to document enhanced expertise in a specific area of access and inclusion. Some Classes will require pre-work. AHEAD is applying for CEU pre-approval from the CRCC for this program.

Program Schedule

Thursday & Friday - 6.75 hours; Saturday - 6.5 hours

  • 9:00-10:30- 1.5 hour training time
  • 10:30-10:45- break
  • 10:45-12:30- 1.75 hour training time
  • 12:30-1:45- lunch
  • 1:45-3:30- 1.75 hour training time
  • 3:30-3:45- break
  • 3:45-5:30 (5:15 on Saturday)- 1.75 hour training time

Please Note: Based on the required 4-hours of pre-work, the Access in the Health Sciences Curriculum program will meet on a slightly modified schedule, finishing earlier in the day. Details of the schedule will be shared with registrants in March.

Disability Law: Lessons in Application for the Advanced Disability Professional

Paul D. Grossman, J.D., OCR, Chief Regional Civil Rights Attorney, San Francisco, retired; University of California, Hastings College of Law
Jamie Axelrod, M.S., Northern Arizona University
Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D., University of Berkeley, retired; Consultant

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 principles, 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 bring about 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 20-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 a 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 alterations”, “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
  • Programs and facility access
  • Discipline and student conduct
  • Self-injurious students
  • Internships and field work

Access in the Health Sciences Curriculum: Advanced Training for Disability Professionals

Lisa Meeks, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
Elisa Laird-Metke, J.D., Samuel Merritt University

The high stakes environment of the health sciences, coupled with multi-layered educational experiences (e.g., didactics, anatomy labs, clinical rotations, standardized patient exams, etc.) creates a minefield for disability service professionals unfamiliar with the culture, hierarchy, and nuanced elements of teaching in medical fields. Challenges particular to health science programs include the lock-step nature of most programs, competitive admissions, potential ramifications of disclosing a disability as a future health care provider, differing needs in didactic vs. clinical settings, and the need for proactive planning to address issues that arise in clinical settings. Disability service professionals in medicine, nursing, dental, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy, physician assistant, and other health-related areas must understand these issues, as well as the strict requirements for meeting technical standards, core competencies, and board and licensing exam requirements. Even the most seasoned disability service professional needs additional support and education to work effectively in these environments.

This dynamic and interactive 20-hour certificate program will include self-study, case study, deconstruction of OCR and court cases, and small group discussion. Together, these experiences will prepare experienced providers to work through complex accommodation requests and identify recurrent health science challenges. The program leaders will provide models for decision-making and communication, guidance on policy and procedure, and a process flow for determining and implementing accommodations.

Presented in partnership with the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Sciences in Medical Education, the Master Class includes 4-hours of pre-work and 16-hours of face-to-face instruction in the following areas:

  • Quick review of relevant disability laws, with detailed instruction on their application in health sciences education
  • Educating health science faculty members about the ADA and access for students with disabilities
  • Review of health science technical standards and balancing disability accommodations with program requirements
  • Determining reasonable accommodations in the clinical environment, including labs, clerkships, preceptorships, and objective structured clinical examination (OSCEs) and other standardized patient activities
  • Relationship between accommodations and patient safety concerns, or perceived concerns
  • Creating effective policies and procedures for determining and implementing accommodations, including review of relevant case law and OCR resolutions
  • Best practices for communication about disability-related issues among faculty and students
  • Working with health science students with differing disabilities, including psychological, communication-based, physical, and sensory conditions
  • Working with health science faculty members on maintaining their roles as educators when working with students with disabilities
  • “Busting” prevailing myths regarding students with disabilities in health science programs, including concerns about patient safety, requirements and standards, preparation for the “real world” of work, and how to counter those when they arise
  • The ABC’s of licensing exams and how to support students through them
  • Guiding students regarding how they disclose disability and request accommodations in the program, in residency or fellowships, and in employment

System Change: Advanced Advocacy for Access and Inclusion

Sue Kroeger, University of Arizona
Melanie Thornton, CURRENTS, University of Arkansas
Gladys Loewen, Consultant

Whether from an office of one or sixty-one, being a visible and persistent facilitator of system change is “the good work” in which disability services’ staff must engage if meaningful access and inclusion are to be realized. From student services to strategic planning; from onsite and online instruction to the workplace; from electronic information systems to facilities design and construction, disability intersects with every corner of our institutions. Yet, oftentimes disability service staff feel powerless and helpless in galvanizing campus communities to change the dominant disability narrative from tragedy and pity to respect and appreciation or change the design of environments from oppressive and exclusive to equitable and inclusive.

As disability service personnel, we often assume that we don’t have the clout or resources necessary to affect change: that our opinions are not sought or valued, our supervisors not supportive, and our administrators only interested in avoiding litigation. We feel overworked and under-resourced. We don’t see disability well-represented in our campus diversity efforts and perceive the parameters of our offices as limiting our ability to help move the institution toward an inclusive, welcoming culture. While these assumptions have merit, with knowledge, skills, and motivation, we can become effective agents of systemic change.

This provocative and interactive certificate program is based on curriculum from the federally-funded Project ShIFT, a project that changed perceptions of access on campuses across the country and propelled participants into national leadership roles. It will include a variety of instructional strategies to build knowledge in the areas of privilege, social justice, the disability experience, and design and skills in advocacy, environmental assessment, and strategic connections and coalitions.

The 20-hour Master Class includes a full three-days of instruction to increase fluency relative to disability access and inclusion. Key questions that will guide our work include:

  • What is the dominant disability narrative on our campuses?
  • What are our beliefs and conceptualizations about disability?
  • Is there dissonance between our beliefs about disability and our rhetoric and behavior?
  • Do our practices reflect scholarship?
  • In what roles do we feel most comfortable? Most uncomfortable?
  • What is the disabled student experience on our campuses?
  • Would our institutions rather appropriate funds to proactively modify campus environments or wait to see who needs access and address those situations individually? Why?
  • If our goals are access, inclusion, equity, and sustainability, then what is the good work to do?
  • Do we see ourselves as agents of social change?
  • How do we agitate/advocate for transforming the way our campuses think about difference, disability, and design?
  • How do we demonstrate design’s capacity to solve, or at least decrease, exclusion and marginalization?

The ADA Coordinator Role: Advanced Issues in Compliance in Higher Education

L. Scott Lissner, ADA Coordinator, The Ohio State University

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires state and local entities with over 50 employees to designate an ADA Coordinator (all federal fund recipients must designate a 504 Compliance Officer) to oversee and coordinate ADA compliance. The U.S. Department of Justice strongly recommends that smaller public entities and businesses also designate an ADA Coordinator as best practice in meeting their compliance obligations. Over the past 25 years full-time ADA Coordinators have become increasingly common in higher education and increasingly important in providing seamless access.

This training is intended for participants familiar with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the process of reasonable accommodation. Using a review of the administrative requirements of the ADA, the facilitator will draw on his and participants’ experiences to explore the role of ADA Coordinators within higher education and explore best practice strategies for implementing a coordinated program that moves colleges and universities towards seamless access and enhances the full participation of disabled individuals in all aspects of the academic enterprise.

Across a range of practice areas that reflect the diversity and scope of higher education, participants in this advanced level, certificate program will review relevant statutes, regulations, and case law, balanced with case studies, hypotheticals, and practical resources for future reference. Within and across topics, concrete examples will highlight core principles and process that can be adapted to a range of educational institutions. We will cover:

  • The Letter and Spirit of the Law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the five titles of the ADA, interactions with state law, federal grant requirements, core administrative requirements
  • Infrastructure policy: institutional mission and philosophy, core nondiscrimination issues, compliance social justice, etc.
  • Budget models: central vs. distributed, core vs. auxiliary service; undue financial hardship; etc.
  • Facility Access: standards, universal design, construction and renovation, audits, funding, deferred maintenance
  • Information and Communications Technology Access: standards and benchmarks, audits and strategic access plans, bids and purchasing, curriculum and text embedded technologies, policy models
  • Transportation Systems: shuttles, rentals, personal cars and parking, field trips, campus bus systems, contracts with public transportation, car and bike share programs
  • Purchasing: Calls for Proposals, contracts and services, real estate, etc.
  • Student accommodation process: reasonableness, undue burden, direct threat; effective, equally effective, and ability to benefit
  • Employee accommodations: intersection with family medical leave and workers’ compensation, benefit programs, annual reviews, corrective action, termination
  • Accommodation requests from other program participants: prospective families, community members, patients, research subjects, etc.
  • Access and accommodation in unique programs: hotels, hospitals, farms, extension programs, senior and alumna programs, dual enrollment and pipeline programs
  • Internal and external complain investigations, including Department of Education, Department of Justice, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and other federal agencies

Master Class Faculty

Image of Jamie AxelrodJamie 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 Paul Grossman, J.D. Paul Grossman, J.D.

Paul Grossman 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 Sue Kroeger, Ed.D. Sue Kroeger, Ed.D.

Sue Kroeger, Ed.D is currently Associate Professor of Practice in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies at the University of Arizona, where she teaches disability studies, coordinates an undergraduate program in rehabilitation, and advises students. Sue was the Director of Disability Resources and ADA Coordinator at the University of Arizona for 18 years and Director of Disability Services at the University of Minnesota for 15 years. Under her leadership, both institutions became national leaders in disability services. She managed staffs of 32+ full and part-time employees that, guided by a social model of disability and principles of universal design, provided services to faculty, staff, and students with disabilities, offered competitive athletic opportunities, assisted the University in meeting its legal obligations, and provided consultation and education on designing inclusive learning and working environments. In addition to her administrative duties, Sue has presented at numerous national and international conferences, published articles on disability and higher education, and co-edited a book entitled, "Responding to Disability Issues in Student Affairs". She has served as principal investigator for numerous federal grants, is a Past President of AHEAD, and remains a sought-after consultant for her wisdom and vision.

Image of Elisa Laird-Metke Elisa Laird-Metke, J.D.

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.

Image of Gladys Loewen, M.S.Gladys Loewen, M.S.

Gladys Loewen, M.S. is a consultant whose focus is on creating inclusive and sustainable environments for disabled persons. She has been active member of AHEAD as International Director on the AHEAD Board, Program Chair for the 2000 conference with the theme of Universal Designs in Higher Education, member of AHEAD’s initiative on universal design, published in JPED, and coordinator of the Reframing Disability column in the former ALERT. Professionally, Gladys has been a facilitator with the federal grant Project ShiFT, hosted by Lane Community College, Manager of Assistive Technology BC, President of Canadian Association of Disability Service Providers in Postsecondary Education, and Coordinator for the Office for Students with a Disability at Douglas College.

Image of L. Scott Lissner 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, Ph.D.Lisa Meeks, Ph.D.

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.

Image of Melanie Thornton, M.S.Melanie Thornton, M.S.

Melanie Thornton, M.S. 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 consulted in a variety of capacities.

Image of Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D.Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D.

Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D., has most recently served as the University of California Berkeley 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 three books: Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Proactively Planning for Accessible Post-Secondary Educational Offerings, Now and into the Future, published by NASPA; Advising Students with Disabilities: Developing Universal Success, 2nd edition, published by NACADA; and DISABLED Faculty and Staff in a Disabling Society: Multiple Perspectives in Higher Education, published by AHEAD. Mary Lee 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 most recently recognized by both AHEAD and CAPED, with their respective Professional Recognition awards.

Host Hotel

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

The Sheraton Dallas Hotel; 400 North Olive Street; Dallas, TX 75201-4005; (214) 922-8000

AHEAD has secured sleeping rooms for attendees at $164/night for single or double occupancy.

All Master Classes are filled and have significant waiting lists. We’re so sorry that we cannot add anyone else either to the classes or to the wait lists. Thank you for your interest! Please look for Next Chapter information next year… and join us in Orlando this summer.

Registration Costs

  • Members: $465 before April 3; $545 after April 3
  • Non-members: $565 before April 3; $645 after April 3

Registration includes all materials, full breakfasts, and refreshment breaks. Travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and additional meals are not included in the registration fee. Refunds can only be provided for cancellations received in writing before April 3, 2017. A $75.00 administrative fee will be charged for all cancellations. We regret that no refunds can be issued after April 4, 2017 for any reason; however, registration can be transferred to another attendee from the same institution.

All Master Classes are filled and have significant waiting lists. We’re so sorry that we cannot add anyone else either to the classes or to the wait lists. Thank you for your interest! Please look for Next Chapter information next year… and join us in Orlando this summer.