The 2017 Management & TRiO Institutes

Registration is Currently Full

image of a conference session with a presenter

Additional Information

February 1-3, 2017

The Westin Las Vegas Hotel & Spa
160 East Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109-4574

AHEAD invites you to join us in sunny Las Vegas for the 11th annual Management Institute. The Institute offers four in-depth,14-hour workshops on a variety 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. Attendees often return to the Institutes every year to take advantage of the small intimate setting, hands-on learning, networking opportunities, and experienced faculty.

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

Institute #2: Welcoming Students on the Autism Spectrum through Individual Support and Systems Change

Institute #3: Finding Your Voice: Maximizing Your Effectiveness in the Office and Across Campus

Institute #4: AHEAD TRiO Institute - Students with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Psychological Disabilities, and Those on the Autism Spectrum: Best Practices in TRiO Programs

Instruction Schedule- 14 hours of direct instruction, arranged to minimize time away from the office and travel costs:

  • 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm Wednesday, February 1st
  • 8:30 am – 5:30 pm Thursday, February 2nd
  • 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Friday, February 3rd

The Institute includes morning and afternoon coffee/snack breaks and full breakfast on Thursday and Friday.

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

Carol Funckes, M.S., AHEAD

This Institute is designed to offer new disability resource professionals a comprehensive overview of the major issues that shape access in higher education today. In the dynamic postsecondary environment, the disability service office must be not only a student service unit but 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 of campus-wide consultant, advisor, and leader.

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 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 their peers, the most valuable professional development tool we can have!

Audience: Novice

Institute #2: Welcoming Students on the Autism Spectrum through Individual Support and Systems Change

Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D., College Autism Spectrum

In his book, "Context Blindness", Peter Vermuelen explains autism as an inability to see the world and social situations in the context in which neurotypicals understand the same events. For college students with autism this often means that, while their behavior seems perfectly appropriate to them, other students, faculty, and college administrators may find it unacceptable. This has become a serious issue on many campuses: compromising the success of highly intelligent students, confounding faculty and other campus personnel, and draining time from offices already overwhelmed by complex issues and growing student numbers.

In this highly interactive Institute, we will examine neurodiverse behavior as a function of sensory integration and understanding and discuss ways that college and university communities can make our environments welcoming. Strategies for supporting students in classrooms and residence hall settings will be presented, along with ideas for explaining necessary conduct as "non-optional.” We will discuss Title IX issues, which are complex for all students and all campuses, and consider appropriate accommodations for both training and compliance. We will explore strategies for working with parents of students on the spectrum, guiding them in new and appropriate ways to support their college-aged children. We will discuss ways to remove the stigma often associated with neurodiverse behaviors through creative thinking, education, and awareness on the part of the entire campus community.

While the overwhelming majority of students on the autism spectrum will not have behavior issues on campus, for those who do, the time investment can be very high and the consequences significant. In this Institute, we will examine how individual student supports, as well as training for faculty, staff, and other campus personnel can assist in lessening behavioral consequences for students on the autism spectrum. Ample time will be available for questions and discussion.

Audience: intermediate and Advanced; Material will assume some knowledge of autism and the accommodation decision-making process.

Institute #3: Finding Your Voice: Maximizing Your Effectiveness in the Office and Across Campus

Adam Meyer, Ph.D., Central Florida University
Kristie Orr, Ph.D., Texas A&M University

This management Institute is a highly interactive opportunity to become a stronger, more confident and respected leader both in your office and across campus. Using a well-known leadership framework, Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner, we’ll explore theoretical and practical ideas for managing your role, motivating others, working effectively with campus colleagues, and, ultimately, impacting how disability is framed and responded to on your campus. Whether you supervise others or focus on direct services, the tools and strategies we’ll discuss and practice will enhance your effectiveness. Topics include:

  • Characteristics of a good leader
  • The “why” of your office
  • Effective, fluent, diplomatic communication
  • Cultivating allies and buy-in across campus
  • Working with strong voices on campus (general counsel, administrators, faculty, etc.)
  • Effective customer service strategies
  • Maximizing staff development and involvement
  • Keeping yourself energized and creating a fun work atmosphere

Attendees should expect to be actively involved in large and small group discussions and role playing exercise and to leave with more tools in their management and leadership toolkits. Through peer interactions, you will expand your network of national colleagues, who can challenge and sustain you when you return to your campus.

Audience: Disability resource personnel in all positions and from all office sizes

Institute #4: AHEAD TRiO Institute - Students with Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Psychological Disabilities, and Those on the Autism Spectrum: Best Practices in TRiO Programs

Rhonda Rapp, Ph.D., St. Mary’s University

TRiO programs and services make college possible for a wide variety of students, including those with non-apparent (“hidden”) disabilities. TRiO personnel need to understand the unique nature and features of these disabilities and how they their impact students’ academic, social, and work lives. Gaining knowledge and skill in this area will help TRiO staff to foster increased retention and graduation rates for students with these disabilities.

Disability accommodations are largely the purview of disability resource offices. This professional development opportunity for TRiO personnel will focus on strategies and methods proven effective in improving the success rates of TRiO students with learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and psychological disabilities, and those on the autism spectrum.

During this intensive and highly interactive two-day Institute, participants will receive in-depth information on the characteristics of these disabilities and common impacts they have on specific academic skills and social and career development. Strategies and tools that reflect current practice will be shared, demonstrated, and used during the Institute. Attendees will leave the institute with the knowledge and resources necessary to begin implementing appropriate, improved, and comprehensive TRiO services to their students with disabilities immediately!

Audience: Designed for TRiO personnel, but other campus personnel are welcome

AHEAD is applying for CEU pre-approval from the CRCC for this program. General Certificates of Attendance will be available for use with other licensing agencies and employers.


Image of Jane Thierfeld BrownJane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D.

Jane 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); “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 24-year old son with Autism.

Image of Carol FunckesCarol Funckes, M.S.

Carol 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 on the delivery of accommodations for students and resources for faculty and other campus stakeholders.

Image of Adam MyerAdam Meyer, Ph.D.

Currently Adam is 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 Kristie OrrKristie Orr, Ph.D.

Kristie Orr is the Director of Disability Services at Texas A&M University and has worked in Disability Services for 18 years. Kristie has her M.Ed. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Texas A&M University. Kristie has presented at state and national conferences on issues related to working with millennial students, food allergies, assessment, management and leadership, and self-care. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association on Higher Education and Disability as President Elect.

Image of Rhonda RappRhonda Rapp, Ph.D.

Rhonda H. 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).

Host Hotel

Image of The Westin Las Vegas Hotel

All housing and events associated with the 2017 AHEAD Management and TRiO Institutes will be held at:

The Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Casino and Spa 160 East Flamingo Road Las Vegas, NV 89109 702-836-5900

AHEAD has secured sleeping rooms for AHEAD Management and TRiO Institute Attendees at nearly 50% off the hotel’s standard rate. The room rate for AHEAD attendees is $159 + tax per night for a single or double occupancy room.

  • Reservations can be made by calling the hotel’s toll-free reservation line directly at: 1-866-837-4215 and asking for the “AHEAD Group Rate,” before January 10, 2017.

Or you can make online reservations using the AHEAD rate at The Westin Las Vegas Hotel.

We know you will enjoy your time in this wonderful city while you learn a lot and meet great colleagues!


Received Before Dec. 22, 2016 Received After Dec. 22, 2016
AHEAD or TRiO Member $395 $475
Non-Member $495 $575


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 December 22, 2016. A $75.00 administrative fee will be charged for all cancellations. We regret that no refunds can be issued after December 23, 2016 for any reason, but can be transferred to another attendee from the same institution.