November 2013 ALERT

Download the November 2013 ALERT in PDF or Text document.

Letter From the Editor: Emily Lucio

What are the hot topics at your school this year?  We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of students with head traumas.  This is an area that many of us have encountered in the course of our careers.  Last year we started working more closely with athletics to help student athletes with concussions.  We have also seen an increase in head traumas involving Veterans.  We recently held an all-day symposium with top experts in the field to further understand the impact to the brain and how we can provide better support for students affected by head trauma.  We had a great turnout and received very positive feedback.  It made me think that the topic of head trauma may something that many of us in the field are encountering.  I think it would be a worthwhile topic for future conferences and workshops.  So, if any of you have expertise in this area, please consider developing a presentation.

Remember, through AHEAD’s workshops, conferences, audio conferences, and regional affiliate events we have many opportunities to learn from each other!

Emily (Singer) Lucio
ALERT Editor

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Message From AHEAD President: Scott Lissner

As tempted as I am to bore you with every minute detail of my trip to Indonesia, I will settle for just a few comments.  It was a remarkable experience and I made a number of connections for AHEAD, for my University, and for a few non-profits I am affiliated with – not to mention the personal connections.  You will hear more about the possible AHEAD Collaborations as plans are developed. And yes, the coffee was outstanding!

In October I was asked to represent AHEAD at a series of events in Japan.  Last June, the Diet (Japanese Parliament) passed the “Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination” that reinforces and extends previous disability rights legislation by banning the direct discrimination and establishing a civil right to reasonable accommodation.  The law will reach full implementation in April 2016 and is the final catalyst in forming an “AHEAD” in Japan. The idea for the organization rose in part out of faculty from Japan who have attended our conference. 

I was honored to be invited to represent AHEAD and share the work you do to provide access and equity, with faculty and staff from universities across Japan.  I shared the podium with representatives of the Association for Higher Education Access & Disability (a sister organization in Ireland) who will provide a European perspective.

This new Japanese law is a conscious step by Japan toward ratifying of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  I mention this not to drive home the importance of supporting ratification of the U.N. Convention at home, but to highlight the remarkable changes in AHEAD over the last ten years.   Not only has AHEAD joined the world stage, but we are increasingly sought out by legislators and advocacy organizations for expertise on disability, education, public policy, and leadership.  As we look forward to the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ADA in 2015 I challenge you to consider where you want to take AHEAD next.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) which hopes to raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the contributions of employees and employers with disabilities. Universities are increasingly aware that international study improves employment outcomes for students. Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to expand their independence and confidence, develop professional skills and social skills, and deepen their cross cultural understanding. These skills are as important, possibly more important, for students with disabilities.  In recognition of NDEAM and the role of international exchange in career advancement for people with disabilities, MIUSA produced the online publication, A World Awaits You: Go Abroad, Find Your Career Path.  Encourage your students and your international studies programs to take a look. (

L. Scott Lissner
AHEAD President

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Professional Development Opportunities

Mark your calendar for these upcoming professional development opportunities:

January 2014
AHEAD TRiO & Management Institutes
January 30 - February 1, 2014
New Orleans, LA

In addition, we are planning a lineup of informative webinars, audioconferences, and on-demand training this year. More information is available at

And looking forward…

AHEAD 2014
July 14 – 19, 2014
The Sacramento Convention Center, The Hyatt Regency Hotel, & The Sheraton Sacramento Hotel
Sacramento, California

Call for Presenters/Proposals
A call for proposal is out for FL-AHEAD’s Annual Conference to be held in beautiful Clearwater (FL) on April 3-4, 2014 at St. Petersburg College’s EpiCenter.  Go online to to submit a proposal.  All questions about this can be directed to Peg Connell at 727-341-3398 or email her at

We hope to see you at future AHEAD events!

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Legal Update

Paul Grossman’s Summer Reading List

Postsecondary Disability Judicial and Regulatory Year in Review (click link to download Word file)

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AHEAD Standing Committee Updates

Standing Committee on Technology
Teresa Haven & Kaela Parks
Co-Chairs for the AHEAD Standing Committee on Technology

Greetings from the new co-chairs for the Standing Committee on Technology for 2013-2015!
We are writing with updates and invitations. From the new AHEAD to You Audioconference series that is being coordinated through our standing committee, to the opportunities for engagement that will open up during this academic year, there is a lot to be excited about. 

The Standing Committee on Technology exists to continue and inform the work of the association that relates to all aspects of technology, from the way through which technology is used to conduct association business to the use of technology by individuals with disabilities and tools used by disability practitioners. Our efforts will be aimed at:

  • Addressing emerging issues in the use of different types of technology be it hardware or software.
  • Providing timely guidance to members on technology-related issues/equipment.
  • Reviewing AHEAD web resources and platforms, making recommendations as needed.
  • Functioning as an association “helpdesk” on aspects of technology, its use for professional responsibilities, and its use by people with disabilities.

The need for technology expertise within the association is greater than ever. The legal landscape is evolving and it is becoming increasingly clear that for higher education to honor our obligations when it comes to ensuring equal access to technology we must collaborate, and in some cases we need to radically shift how we think about the roles of accommodation and  proactive design. Disability Services simply cannot do it alone, and the issues surrounding technology and accessibility need to be communicated across and throughout our institutions.

Many of you participated in the recent “A Clear Standard for Access to Instruction” but for those who missed it, you’ll want to review the related readings. In addition, don’t miss the upcoming AHEAD to You Technology Access Series. With coverage of technical topics and a focus on developing collaborations, this series provides institutions with great opportunities to get primed for campus specific conversations.
We look forward to a year of growth and development!

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Affiliate’s Corner

Terra Beethe, Affiliate Liaison BOD
Margaret Camp, Lead Affiliate Representative

Fall has commenced which means our annual fall conference call will occur in early November and it is time to elect a new Lead Affiliate Representative.  This time of year also brings regional professional development workshops all across the country.  Several offerings are highlighted in the updates below.  Please also feel free to visit the Regional Affiliate page on the AHEAD website for the most current information. 

Terra Beethe, Affiliate Liaison BOD

Updates from our regional affiliates:

AHEAD in Virginia will host a Fall Drive-In Conference on Friday, November 1, 2013. The conference program features a panel presentation and discussion in the morning by some of our own Virginia disability service providers, representing a variety of institution types and sizes, sharing insights and examples of how the ADAAA has impacted and influenced the documentation guidelines/policies/procedures/practices on our campuses.  In the afternoon the conference program includes the ever-popular update from the Office for Civil Rights.

This year the Fall Conference will truly be a “drive-in” event with four locations across the Commonwealth (linked via compressed-video) allowing most folks the opportunity to attend within a 2-hour or less drive.  When you register, you simply indicate the site you will attend:

Central Virginia Community College – Lynchburg
Germanna Community College – Fredericksburg
Tidewater Community College – Virginia Beach
Wytheville Community College – Wytheville

Registration is now available for the Fall Drive-In Conference at the following link:

Ark-AHEAD hosted its state conference entitled “Curricular Access in Post-Secondary Education” on Friday, October 11 in North Little Rock, AR at Pulaski Technical College.  Ron Stewart was our workshop presenter and conference topics included defining and obtaining accessible instructional materials as well as working with commercial publishers. 

Capital AHEAD and MD AHEAD presented a very successful symposium on Traumatic Brain Injury: Understanding the Impact to the Brain and How to Best Create a Cohesive Approach to Providing Support Services to College Students on October 22, 2013.

ILLOWA AHEAD will be hosting its regional conference in Davenport, IA on March 27-28, 2014.  This year's theme is "Getting Connected"; getting connected with students, other service providers, ourselves, laws and policy, etc.  Stephan Hamilin-Smith will provide the key note address.   Members of other AHEAD affiliates may register for member rates. For more information please contact ILLOWA AHEAD at

NC AHEAD hosted its Fall Conference in Wilmington, NC as UNC Wilmington on October 9th & 10th, 2013. Topics included working with students on the Autism Spectrum, assistive technology, service and assistance animals, and working with other campus offices to develop disability awareness events.  

OH-AHEAD is pleased to announce our fourth annual conference which took place on Friday, October 25 at Ohio University in Athens, OH.  Breakout sessions included topics that addressed working with student veterans, iPad Applications, implementing the AHEAD documentation guidelines, coordinating notetakers, and more!  Our featured keynote speaker was Ken Petri, Director of the Web Accessibility Center at Ohio State University.  Ken discussed his experiences working with campus constituencies to make accessibility an overt concern in their strategic planning.  His discussion focused on how his colleagues have approached IT accessibility at a campus that has many competing concerns and interests -- how, in his experience, campus IT accessibility strategies have needed to "work with" the IT and education environments that are already in place or are rapidly evolving, rather than (only) impose constraints on them. 

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Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Ally) SIG
Jen Dugger, Chair

The LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Ally) SIG met at the Baltimore AHEAD Conference.  We generated ideas for shaping a more aware, welcoming, and inclusive AHEAD organization. Ideas fell generally into the following categories: ongoing educational endeavors, membership outreach, LGBTQ presence in future conferences, and overarching organizational suggestions.

The SIG has already suggested plenary speakers for the 2014 conference in Sacramento, and plans to meet during the fall term to get started on action items for the year. If you are interested in joining the SIG or simply following their progress, please either join the listserv: LGBTQA Discussion List or join the Facebook group which can be found by searching for: “LGBTQA AHEAD Special Interest Group”.

The co-chairs, Teryn Robinson (Lake Forest College) and Jen Dugger (Portland State University) also presented at the conference with new SIG member, Gordon Dionne (Concordia University) on Identities: The Intersection of Gender, Sexuality, and Disability.

Autism/Asperger’s SIG
Jane Thierfeld Brown and Lisa King, Co-Chairs

The Autism/Asperger's SIG met in Baltimore and had a very good attendance. Members discussed challenges and ideas for offering social skills assistance on campus. Members were interested in a more active listserv which we hope to achieve this academic year. The group had innovative accommodation ideas and hope to meet again virtually during the year.

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Roadmap to Web Accessibility in Higher Education

We just released the white paper 2014 Roadmap to Web Accessibility in Higher Education. This 22-page comprehensive paper covers the best practices for creating an accessible university infrastructure based on in-depth research and advice from university administrators, accessibility coordinators, faculty, and disabled students.

Download the paper here:

To share with students:

To Prospective NASA Student Interns with Disabilities,

NASA is looking to increase the number of students with disabilities pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through our internship programs. NASA has a two-percent hiring goal for employment of people with disabilities and internships are a good way to get experience. Students can apply for summer 2014 internships, starting on Friday, November 1, 2013. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, March 14, 2014, and we will begin extending offers to students as early as Monday, February 3, 2014. We encourage you to apply early because the best opportunities are likely to be filled early. Plus, your likelihood of being selected decreases the longer you wait. You can register for an account and look for internships anytime at the One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI): NASA Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships (NIFS) at . Summer 2014 internships run from early June until early August for college students and from late June until early August for high school students. All student interns get paid. For example, last summer, at Goddard college students received a stipend of $6000 and high school students $1800. As an intern, you are responsible for your own housing.

NASA internships for college and high school students are also offered during spring, fall and year-long sessions. Students can apply for spring 2014 internship opportunities now! The website and the application process are the same for all NASA internships, regardless of the time of year. The deadline for submitting applications is Friday, October 11, 2013, and we will begin extending offers to students as early as Wednesday, September 11, 2013.  Students who are selected for spring internships will receive an offer letter by E-mail sometime after October 11, 2013. Students will not be able to see summer 2014 opportunities until November 1.

NASA has internships for high school students and for rising freshmen through doctoral students in STEM fields. A rising freshman is a high school student who has been accepted to an accredited institution of higher learning, i.e., a college or university, at the time of the internship.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, with a minimum GPA of 2.8 for college and
3.0 for high school; however, applicants must understand that the competition for internships is keen. High school students must be at least sixteen years old at the time the internship begins.

Internships are available at all NASA centers nationwide. Students can submit a completed application whether they apply to an opportunity or not.
However, applying to opportunities has the advantage of allowing applicants to be considered by mentors who work in disciplines of interest and at a particular center. Applicants may apply to as many as fifteen opportunities.

For example, an opportunity having to do with the Solar Dynamics Observatory
(SDO) will be at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland because SDO is located there. Not applying to an opportunity means that prospective interns will be hoping that a mentor happens to read their applications rather than directing their applications to mentors in fields and at centers of interest.

Students who are selected for summer internships will receive an offer letter by email sometime after February 3, 2014. They will then have five days to either accept or reject the offer through their OSSI: NIFS account.
The offer will automatically expire after five days if no action is taken.

The OSSI Frequently Asked Questions link is