Preconference Institutes

The AHEAD 2013 Preconference Institutes provide opportunities for attendees to participate in intensive, topic-specific, workshop-style events taught by notable and well-respected experts in their field. Ranging from 3 1/2 hours to two full days, the Institutes are an outstanding chance for Conference attendees to receive in-depth professional development.

Preconference Institutes do require advance registration by June 28, 2013 and an additional tuition fee (separate from the Conference registration fee). On-site registration for Preconference Institutes is not available. Registration for Preconference Institutes includes all instruction materials and refreshment breaks. Meals, housing, and travel are not included unless noted. Please see the registration form for applicable tuition charges.


Two-Day Preconference Institutes

Monday July 8 & Tuesday July 9 • 9:00 am-5:30 pm each day

Full-Day Preconference Institutes

Tuesday July 9 • 9:00 am-5:30 pm

Half-Day Preconference Institute: Morning

Tuesday July 9 • 9:00 am-12:30 pm

Half-Day Preconference Institute: Afternoon

Tuesday July 9 • 2:00 pm-5:30 pm

Two-Day Preconference Institutes

Monday July 8 & Tuesday July 9 • 9:00 am-5:30 pm each day

#PC 1 Introduction to Disability Law for DS Professionals

L. Scott Lissner – The Ohio State University

Paul Grossman – Hastings College of the Law; Retired Chief Regional Attorney, OCR, San Francisco

This presentation will give DS professionals a comprehensive introduction to postsecondary disability law and establish a framework for answering the questions they encounter on a daily basis. What accommodations are, or are not, required in the college and university setting? What must be done to make facilities and programs accessible to persons with disabilities? This institute will begin with a review of the history of discrimination against individuals with disabilities and the emergence of the disability rights movement culminating in the adoption of disability laws. We will learn what legal traditions and concepts all antidiscrimination laws share and then what is unique to disability law. We will provide an exploration of the practical implications of the new definition of disability and new regulations covering documentation, service animals, housing, ticketing and more. Topics unique to higher education, such as admissions, discipline, academic accommodations, internships, residence halls, service animals on campus, and others will be covered. We will cover procedures to ensure compliance, common pitfalls to avoid, handling internal complaints of discrimination, cooperation and noncooperation by faculty, the scope of the duty to provide accessible websites, alternative media, and assistive technology.

Audience: All

#PC 2 Learning Disabilities, Psychoeducational Assessment, & Professional Judgment: Challenging Changes in the Field

Rhonda H. Rapp – University of St. Mary, Texas

It is a well-known fact that students with learning disabilities are one of the largest populations of students with disabilities on college campuses today. Most colleges and universities require recent, comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations of students with learning disabilities in order to best shape the students’ academic accommodations and related services. However, many postsecondary disability services professionals come to their positions with little knowledge in the complexities of learning disabilities and the administration and/or interpretation of psychoeducational evaluations. Now under the ADA as amended (ADAAA), acceptable sources of documentation for substantiating a student’s learning disability and subsequent request for particular accommodations can take a variety of forms.

In light of the ADAAA, AHEAD posits that the first two levels of “acceptable documentation” (Student’s Self-Report at the primary level and Observation/Interaction at the secondary level) rely heavily on the disability service provider’s “professional judgment.” In addition, the possible breadth and depth of the information available at both the primary and secondary levels of acceptable documentation could entirely negate the need for tertiary level documentation (psychoeducational evaluations).

This Institute will provide information focusing on the assessment of learning disabilities from a psychoeducational perspective and from a professional judgment perspective, as well as focusing on how to use the obtained information when providing accommodations and other services for students with learning disabilities. The goal of this institute is to provide an in-depth understanding of learning disabilities; to make psychoeducational reports accessible, meaningful, and useful; and to demonstrate how the information gathered through “student self-report” and/or through “observation and interaction” can be as meaningful and useful as information obtained during formal LD standardized assessments. In addition, participants in this session will get a chance to experience first-hand the true purpose of a psychoeducational assessment through participation and/or observation during the administration of several portions of a psychoeducational assessment. This two-day institute will be highly interactive and hands-on; designed to provide ample time for specific questions, examples, demonstrations, case-studies, and discussion.

Audience: Novice to Intermediate

#PC3 Writing to Win! Mastering Program Planning, Fund Research, and Proposal Composition Strategies

Stephan J. Hamlin-Smith – AHEAD Executive Director

As traditional funding sources for quality inventive programs and services become ever-more scarce, the absolute need for higher education disability professionals to have refined abilities in program planning, funding research, and proposal writing is increasingly essential. Through a combination of expert lectures, interactive exercises, and practical activities; participants in this highly engaging institute program will become adept in the crucial skills necessary to research, plan, and deliver effective grant proposals. Participants will immerse themselves in an “apply while learning, and learn while applying” model, through working on the fundamentals of their self-chosen real-world proposal throughout the classroom time.

The institute content will focus on three major areas:

Essential elements and processes of program planning

This institute is centered in the understanding that “it’s all about the program.” This intensive course will teach professional program development essentials and program evaluation. Most grant writing “workshops” address program development and evaluation as separate from the writing of a proposal; this institute will build on the crucial relationship between overall program planning and grant writing.

Funding and support research

This institute will address the essential elements of foundation, corporation, and government grant research. The research process will be addressed as a strategic approach that focuses on research as an integrated part of the grant seeking process. This program will teach participants how to use research as a crucial component of the strategic grant acquisition effort.

Professional quality grant composition

This program is specifically designed to benefit both the novice and experienced grant proposal writer or program planner. In addition to addressing the basic components of a grant proposal, this institute is infused with expert principles that will lead to a mastery of the process. Strategy resides at the forefront of this institute’s intent to illustrate grant writing as an integrated, multidimensional, and dynamic endeavor.

Participants will complete this two-day institute with a thorough understanding of, and expertise in, the holistic approaches necessary to secure funding through quality program planning, research, and grant proposal writing.

Audience: Intermediate to Advanced

#PC4 AHEAD Start: Setting the Landscape for the New Professional

Melanie Thornton – pepnet 2 / University of Arkansas CURRENTS

Carol Funckes – University of Arizona

Designed specifically for disability resource professionals who are new to the field, this two-day preconference program offers a comprehensive overview of the issues that shape postsecondary disability services in today’s changing climate. No longer only a service office for students, the disability resource office is an increasingly vital center of information, collaboration and technical assistance for the campus community. Together we will explore how legal and philosophical frameworks intersect with the practical realities of working in higher education today and identify opportunities for personal and programmatic growth and innovation. We will discuss strategies for moving our campuses beyond a compliance narrative and provide the opportunity for participants to develop a professional network and find confidence in the role of campus leader. Topics to be covered include:

The basics of disability service in higher education including legal foundations, frames of disability, disability studies scholarship, and universal design;

Promising practices for assessing barriers and planning strategies for access and accommodation;

Strategies for developing and refining mission and vision to frame the institution-wide role of the disability resource office;

Creative approaches to campus training and outreach;

The nuts and bolts of office management—record keeping, resource management, staff development, and program review/assessment.

#PC5 OUT OF THE BOX II: A Fresh Focus for the Continuing Professional

Margaret Camp – University of South Carolina Upstate

Susan Lausier – Aurora University

Adam Meyer – Eastern Michigan University

Katheryne Staeger-Wilson – Missouri State University

Kimberly Tanner – Valdosta State University

Melanie Tucker Thompson – Northern Illinois University

Randall Ward – Northern Illinois University

Designed specifically for disability resource professionals who have been in the trenches for at least two or three years, this two-day pre-conference session acknowledges many of the core issues that shape postsecondary disability services while offering a new, refreshing and energetic way to approach and carry out our work. The 2013 AHEAD conference theme, Challenging and Changing Disability Perspectives, fits well with AHEAD’s philosophy of viewing disability as the interaction between person and environment, while creating equitable, sustainable and usable postsecondary environments that promote inclusive communities. But what does this mean for our work as disability service professionals? How might our procedures, language and interactions with students and faculty either work toward these values or against them? How can we be about more than just “ADA compliance?” In this thought-provoking, interactive preconference session, we will explore the basics of social justice, the social model of disability and disability studies. How can and should these concepts influence our day-to-day work and emerge as guiding practices? Talking points and hands-on individual and/or group work will include:


  • Models of disability
  • Social welfare vs. social justice
  • Overview of disability studies
  • Personal core values and current values of the field
  • Power and influence of language

Action Planning-- Considerations and Discussion:

  • Office language
  • Office mission statements
  • Syllabus statements
  • Initial student interview
  • Accommodation letters
  • Office job descriptions
  • Awareness programming
  • Continuing this journey in the future

Back to top

Full-Day Preconference Institutes

Tuesday July 9 • 9:00 am-5:30 pm

#PC 6 Access Technologies: An A to Z Introduction

Ron Stewart – Chair, AHEAD Technology Standing Committee

This hands-on preconference will introduce participants to an overview of technologies that are typically used in providing access to classroom and other learning environments, course materials, research settings, and technology tools used on postsecondary campuses. Both commercial and non-commercial technologies will be explored at an introductory level. The focus of the session will be on choosing technologies based on the learning task at hand and usability across the curriculum. The target audience are those who need an introductory overview of the types of Access and Assistive Technologies as well as the intended end users of these technologies.

Audience: Novice to Intermediate

#PC7 Does Your Campus Measure Up to the ADA?

Irene Bowen – ADA One, LLC

James A. Bostrom – US Department of Justice

John H. Catlin – LCM Architects, LLC

This session equips DS professionals, ADA Coordinators, facilities staff, and others to partner in an effort to move their campuses toward full inclusion of people with physical disabilities in all their activities. After a refresher on the basic accessibility requirements of the laws and of the Department of Justice’s 2010 ADA Standards, participants will learn how to apply them and to find information when they need it. Using photographs, drawings, and other visual aids, we’ll tackle the issues that may present the most challenges: the new approach to campus housing, assembly areas, recreation facilities, equipment, sororities and fraternities, and labs. In hands-on exercises, you’ll learn to read plans and understand how the capital planning process works and how you can affect it. We’ll explore approaches to self-evaluations and transition plans and what would work best for your situation. We will engage participants in discussion and include substantial time to answer questions. Our goal is to equip attendees to return to campus ready to help implement the changes along with those responsible for facilities and planning. Join a DOJ deputy chief who supervises ADA accessibility work, a former DOJ official, and an architect in private practice who specializes in accessibility as they cover key changes that will affect your campus and how to work toward compliance.

Audience: All

#PC8 Creating the Future- Strategic Leadership and Enhancement of Disability Services

Emily Lucio – Catholic University of America

Tom Thompson – Higher Education Consultant

Karen Pettus – University of South Carolina

The challenge for DS providers today is to adapt to changing times with a clearer vision of our mission and purpose, assessment practices, and development of financial resources. In this session you’ll learn about tools, techniques and practices used by successful practitioners on three diverse campuses: a private university, a public university and a suburban community college.

During this preconference workshop, presenters will use handouts, worksheets, and case studies to assist providers in evaluating their strategic plan and developing a mission statement, values statement and operational goals that are consistent with the new federal guidelines. We will assist DS providers to become change agents on campus. Ideally an institution’s or department’s work is: driven by a mission with goals and objectives, inclusive of regular assessment and evaluation, and supported by adequate resources allocated and managed to achieve the desired goals.

The presenters will discuss Planning, Assessment, Operations and Resource Development. They will discuss ways to plan and execute your work by fitting it into an 18 month time cycle. Finally, we will walk participants through a four step process that leads to a personal plan of action that includes:

What is it you want to do?

What opportunities and barriers exist?

What actions must I take and when?

How will I monitor and modify my plan of action?

By addressing strategic planning, assessment and resource development, DS providers can influence changes in their office and on campus that will help provide improved accommodations for students with disabilities.

Audience: All

#PC9 An Interactive Introduction to Faculty Development: Reshaping the Focus of Disability Services

Elizabeth Harrison – University of Dayton

This interactive preconference workshop will (1) introduce participants to faculty development; (2) explore ways to insert inclusive design into faculty development work so that faculty developers, instructional designers, and ultimately faculty will embrace it; and (3) provide opportunities for participants to practice talking about accessibility in faculty development terms. The presenter has extensive experience in faculty development and universal design.

Audience: All

#PC 10 Outreach by Design: Infusing Disability into Campus Culture Through Intentional and Strategic Outreach Practices

Amanda Kraus – University of Arizona

Susan Aase – University of Minnesota

Outreach initiatives such as education, marketing, trainings, and strategic partnerships with faculty, staff and students, are critical to the good work of disability services offices, for it is through consistent and progressive representation of disability across campus that we contribute to campus culture that is inclusive of disability and diversity. Outreach efforts can help to infuse reframed concepts of disability into all aspects of campus life, so disability is visible, and understood as a viable and important cultural experience.

During this one-day preconference workshop, presenters will engage disability services professionals around developing and implementing effective and innovative outreach efforts. Activities include: a values clarification process and exploration on how we frame disability in our work; how to operationalize progressive and empowering ideas about disability into our work with campus and developing a definition of “outreach” that we will use to guide the preconference activities.

Presenters will share strategies and best practices for outreach work that represents a variety of initiatives from marketing campaigns, to educational trainings and conversations, across various constituents: faculty, staff, students and community members. Participants will discuss how to build relationships on campus and through guided, small group work will practice initiating conversations and responding to various requests in a way that is consistent and congruent with their values around disability. There will be additional activities in which participants will analyze various campus marketing materials, websites, and programming to analyze how disability is represented and generate ideas for innovation that will prompt campus groups to represent disability in ways that are consistent with a progressive concept of disability. Finally, participants will develop personal action plans to inspire them to integrate new ways of thinking about disability and outreach into their work.

Audience: All

Back to top

Half-Day Preconference Institute: Morning

Tuesday July 9 • 9:00 am-12:30 pm

#PC11 Universal Design & Online Learning: What does the DS Provider Need to Know?

Kelly Hermann – SUNY Empire State College

Jane Jarrow – DAIS/DCCOL

In the 2011 Survey of Online Learning for the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, ( Elaine Allen and Jeff Seamon discovered that online study continues to grow on college campuses, at a rate approximately 10 times that in all of higher education. From hybrid classes (those that have a traditional, seated component along with required online activities) to hybrid students (those who are taking some of their coursework through traditional classes and some online), to those students who are enrolled solely in online classes (and whom you may never meet!), higher education is embracing the potential that the internet brings to learning opportunities. Now is the time for disability services professionals to acknowledge that new delivery methods for education create new challenges to our assigned role in assuring access for students with disabilities.

Faculty increasingly turn to DS professionals for advice on making online curriculum accessible. At the same time DS staff try to determine best practices in serving remote students, and implementing accommodations in the virtual environment. For example, how will we determine how much time is enough time for testing when, instead of a pencil-and-paper test, the student is working from home, online, using technology, in an open book/open notes format? How do you best serve an online learner whom you will never meet face-to-face?- We have lots of practice in organizing traditional services and streamlining their delivery. We know how to set up effective and efficient note-taking systems, how to set parameters for adaptive testing, and how to arrange reader/scribe services when necessary. Are any of these services necessary for online learners? How will the services be delivered? What other accommodations will be necessary for virtual learning? Who are our campus allies in designing and delivering accessible online classes?

These questions emphasize the need for the campus to be prepared by utilizing the principles of universal design throughout the course design process. The presenters will demonstrate how universal design can be applied to an online course to maximize accessibility. Participants will leave with a list of tools, resources and strategies that will allow them to provide the advice, guidance and service on their campus to ensure accessible online courses for their students.

Audience: All

Back to top

Half-Day Preconference Institute: Afternoon

Tuesday July 9 • 2:00 pm-5:30 pm

#PC12 Beyond Accommodations: An In-Depth Look at ADHD/EF/LD Coaching

Jodi Sleeper-Triplett – JST Coaching, LLC

Christina Fabrey, Green Mountain College

As coaching gains more attention in higher education, the JST Coaching Model© has emerged as a proven approach to supporting students with ADHD/EF/LD. The 2010 research study, based on this model, shows that college students improve their skill, will and self-determination through coaching. Attendees will learn coaching tools and techniques to help students achieve success, both in college and beyond. A coaching demonstration will provide concrete examples of the value of coaching for college students with ADHD. Participants committed to revitalizing disability support services will find their understanding of a traditional service model stretching to make room for the advantages of a more comprehensive coaching model. In this workshop, participants will:

  1. Learn about the brain function and common situations that college students with ADHD face.
  2. Discover how to assess the value of the coaching process for college students by identifying common outcomes of coaching.
  3. Identify a range of coaching strategies most valuable to college students, and to better explain the coaching process to students, parents, and colleagues.
  4. Gain a broader understanding of how coaching can address issues beyond academics and help campus professionals meet institutional goals.
  5. Explore how the traditional service model can be enhanced by using an innovative and inclusive coaching approach.

In concluding this workshop, participants will engage in an exercise to explore how coaching might be incorporated into their own college campuses, either as a means of enhancing their disability support services or directing their students to high quality coaching services. Audience: All