December 2014 ALERT

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Letter from the Editor

Congratulations on making it through another semester! The holidays are upon us and many of us are counting the days until the break. We all have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.  Among the things I am thankful for are having a job that I love, wonderful staff and students to work with, a great team of professional colleagues around the country whom I can turn to at any given time to ask advice, and of course many members of AHEAD whom I have known for many years and am honored to call friends.  Happy holidays to everyone in AHEAD.  Rest and rejoice as you prepare to head in to the next semester.

Emily (Singer) Lucio
ALERT Editor

Message from AHEAD President: Bea Awoniyi

In a few weeks, fall 2014 will come to an end but not until we have to face the almighty finals and the challenges they bring in our work.  I send my best wishes for final exams and for a restful relaxing holiday season.  But before you head out for the holidays, be sure to register for the Management Institutes.  You can “escape the winter blues” and join my Florida colleagues and me in beautiful Tampa, February 5-7.

Like you, I can’t help but notice open positions in the field across the world.  There was a time when you could not find any opening in the disability field anywhere no matter how hard you looked or how far you were willing to travel or move. What opportunities do these changes present for our work and the movement we are part of? Are we, our colleges and universities, and in some cases, our countries prepared for the changes that are coming up on us?  These would be questions for us to ponder as members of AHEAD and for the Board to consider as we head to work on our strategic planning in the next few months.  The good news is that those of us you have elected remain committed to the mission and vision of our profession and our organization. 

Talking about commitment and our work, the closing of the year is a time to reflect.  And as I reflect on 2014, I remain humbled by your confidence in me and for the opportunity and honor to serve this association. I am grateful to those who volunteer and do a lot of the heavy lifting; the work of this association cannot be done without the sacrifices of many.  A world of thanks to the AHEAD staff under the leadership of our Executive Director, Stephan.

Best wishes to everyone and here is to a glorious 2015!

Bea Awoniyi, President

Professional Development Opportunities

Join us in Tampa, Florida for the 2015 AHEAD Management Institutes, February 5-7!

By the time February rolls around, most of you will be tired of the cold and snow. Why not join us in Tampa, Florida for some sunshine and a fantastic opportunity to learn and network with colleagues? This year we have broadened the coverage of our topics and encourage you to invite colleagues from around your campus to join you for some collaborative learning! The 2015 AHEAD Management Institutes has something for new and seasoned DS managers, academic skills & success staff, library & counseling personnel, and those involved in electronic and information technology. Coaching has been a hot topic lately, and we arranged a special Saturday morning presentation designed around this important tool for students.

Discounted registration rates are extended until January 20, 2015!
Register now at:

The AHEAD Technology Access Series for 2014-2015

AHEAD’s Technology Standing Committee has designed a series to help us look at technology used by students to mitigate barriers, while sharing best practices in areas where technology and disability in higher education intersect. We’ve identified three broad themes to help you choose, but you can attend any – and all – of our sessions!

  • January 6, 2015- Equipment Loaner Program Management
  • February 3, 2015- Making Math More Accessible: The WeBWorK Math Homework Management System
  • March 3, 2015- Shifting from a Paper-based to an Electronic Records System
  • April 7, 2015-Welcome to Campus: Accessible Online Maps

Full details are available at:

AHEAD to You! The 2014 – 2015 Webinar Series

AHEAD brings you another year of our always-popular 90-minute webinar series – AHEAD to You!

  • January 22, 2015-Getting to ADA Compliance: How a Plan Can Help, Part I (Self-Evaluations)
  • February 5, 2015- Getting to ADA Compliance: How a Plan Can Help, Part II (Transition Plans and Barrier Removal Plans)
  • February 26, 2015- Adaptive Recreations’ Impact on Student Experience and Campus Access
  • March 5, 2015- A Culture Shift, Moving Beyond Compliance with the ADA
  • March 19, 2015- Don’t Fan the Flames. Turn Angry Faculty Emails into Positive Outcomes
  • April 30, 2015- Disability Studies 101: What Professionals Want to Know
  • May 7, 2015- Gender, Sexuality, and Disability: An Introduction

Full details are available at:

AHEAD Standing Committee Updates

Standing Committee on Diversity
Amanda Kraus, Chair

We are pleased with your response to the new “Diversity and Social Justice” Conference strand.  A sincere thank you to those who submitted proposals to present at AHEAD 2015 in St. Paul, MN!  We are delighted to have the opportunity to offer a two-day preconference workshop on power and privilege and several subsequent sessions as part of the diversity and social justice strand.  Soon the Diversity Standing Committee will be reviewing proposals and building a series that explores disability, diversity, and social justice issues!

The Diversity Standing Committee is in the process of refining our newly proposed definition of diversity to submit to the Board next month.  We look forward to sharing widely once the definition has been confirmed. 

With any questions about the Diversity Standing Committee, please contact Amanda Kraus at

Standing Committee on Professional Development
Sharon Downs, Chair

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Adam Myer has agreed to serve as Vice-Chair for our committee, which means he will take over as Chair in July 2016!  Adam is the Director for Student Disability Services at University of Central Florida, and is one of the early members of the SCPD. He has presented at the past five AHEAD conferences on rethinking documentation, social model of disability and implementing its concepts within the disability office and on campus, ways to maximize initial student interviews, budget and data, effective communication, and leadership concepts.  Please join us in welcoming Adam to this new role!

We are coordinating with several standing committees and the program chairs of the conference to offer workshops that will be enlightening and rich in content.  Thank you to everyone who has submitted proposals.  AHEAD truly has a wealth of knowledge and experience in our membership, for which we are all grateful.

Standing Committee on Public Policy
Emily Lucio, Chair
Eric Wagenfeld, Co-Chair

We are sad to report that in spite of many efforts to get the CRPD to the Senate floor for a vote, we were unsuccessful.  Two of our strongest supporters, Sen. Harkin (D-IA) and Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) are retiring. With the change in control, we will need to work even harder in the next year.  This is not the end.  But, we certainly have more of an uphill battle.  During a conference call with Sen. Harkin he discussed some local efforts that we could undertake to help get more on board with the passage of the CRPD.  AHEAD will continue to work with USCID to ensure we reach our goal to pass this treaty.

Below is an excerpt for the Ex-Parte letter that AHEAD signed on to from the FCC meeting that we attended:

On November 18, 2014, representatives from the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), American Council of the Blind (ACB), Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) met with the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau (CGB) of the Federal Communications Commission.   The purpose of the meeting was to discuss our joint opposition to the Coalition of E-Reader Manufacturers’ Petition for a Waiver Extension for basic e-readers from the advanced communication services (ACS) accessibility requirements of the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).

The parties in opposition to the waiver extension expressed frustration with the fact that the waiver standard explores current usage of ACS but not potential usage by people that are currently excluded because of inaccessibility.  It is entirely achievable to make ACS in e-readers accessible; indeed the Coalition incorporated this very functionality in the 2011 iterations of their basic e-readers, and the disability community has been adamant about its desire to use e-readers and become customers of Coalition members.  It is problematic that the possibility for ACS usage, which is high considering the aforementioned factors, does not factor into the waiver standard whatsoever.  The Coalition submitted industry-driven, unverifiable data that browsers are currently opened by less than 10% of users, and we challenged the CFB to consider how that ACS usage could be altered by expanding the circle of participation to include blind people or people with other print disabilities. 

The only way equality for the blind will ever truly be achieved is if the Coalition starts making accessible e-readers, or the e-reading industry is eliminated altogether.  The Coalition members should not keep themselves in business by hoping that schools and libraries continue the “separate-but-equal” model; rather, the Coalition should remedy the problem in the easiest and most ethical way, which is making ACS and the reading functions of basic e-readers accessible.

The fundamental goal of the CVAA is to expand the circle of participation so that blind and low vision consumers can access the same technology and enjoy the same choices as mainstream consumers in the mainstream marketplace.  The Coalition’s insistence on a waiver for basic e-readers when accessibility is entirely achievable and when it is the very thing customers are demanding is at odds with everything the CVAA purports to fix, and with basic principles of capitalism.

Standing Committee on Member Development
Mika Watanabe, Co-Chair
Ken Marquard, Co-Chair

The Standing Committee on Member Development is reviewing our charge, in order to identify new goals for 2015-2016. This charge is found on the AHEAD website at:

In the past, this Standing Committee has focused on methods for AHEAD to engage international members and groups. In addition to this effort, we plan to focus on other areas of the charge, such as brainstorming strategies to engage prospective members and organizations with AHEAD. We plan to identify our new goals and action plans in January 2015.

We also need more members who can serve on this committee. This working group primarily keeps in touch via email and conducts a monthly conference-call -meeting throughout the year. If you are interested in being involved in this committee, please contact the Co-Chair, Mika Watanabe, at

Standing Committee on Technology
Kaela Parks, Co-Chair
Teresa Haven, Co-Chair

The AHEAD Standing Committee on Technology has refreshed the Technology Special Interest Group page to provide quick access to some of the vital resources in this important area. We are now seeking an engaged leader interested in stepping forward to help connect members with this topic area in meaningful ways by serving as the chair of the SIG. To nominate yourself for this role please contact either of the two co-chairs for the Standing Committee on Technology.

Affiliate’s Corner

Terra Beethe, Affiliate Liaison BOD
Kim Ochsenbein, Lead Affiliate Representative

Affiliate Update

The Affiliates held its fall conference call on November 12th with 30 of 35 affiliates in attendance.  The conference call included a recap from the summer 2014 meeting, updates on Conference 2015, and news from AHEAD.  Our next conference call will be in April.

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. 

Submitted respectfully,
Terra Beethe, BOD Affiliate Liaison
Kim Ochsenbein, Lead Affiliate Representative

Updates from our regional affiliates:

AHEAD in Texas Co-sponsored Expanding Horizons with Lone Star College – 8th Annual Institute on Learning Differences 2014 on November 13 & 14th. AHEAD in Texas Conference is scheduled for April 8th – 10th in Galveston Texas at the Moody Gardens for more information contact

AHEAD of the Northern Rockies annual state conference was held in Bozeman, MT on June 13, 2014. Topics presented included current legal ADA issues, current trends in student conduct and mental health, and updates from Montana Vocational Rehabilitation on VR services.

Alabama AHEAD held a one day HOT TOPICS FOR POSTSECONDARY DISABILITY SUPPORT SERVICE PROVIDERS Drive-In Workshop on September 26, 2014 at Faulkner University, Montgomery, Alabama. The event was cosponsored by Project Key of Faulkner University, the Center for Disability Services at Auburn University at Montgomery and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Ark-AHEAD:  Heidi Scher, Associate Director for the Center for Educational Access became the inaugural recipient of the Ark-AHEAD Distinguished Professional Award.  Melanie Thornton, Leadership Development Facilitator, UA Currents, became the inaugural recipient of the Ark-AHEAD Social Justice Award. Ark-AHEAD and several other higher education professional organizations collaborated at the first ever Partners for Student Success Conference, held in Hot, Springs Arkansas on October 1-3.  Ark-AHEAD presented at five sessions contributed to five conference sessions  

C-AHEAD (Capitol Area): The C-AHEAD group has unfortunately lost three board members this year due to various circumstances which has hindered our ability to put on any programming.  We did partner with MD AHEAD in the fall on a program and we are looking to partner with them again in the spring.  If anyone in the DC Metro area is interested in serving on the board, please contact Emily Lucio at

CAPED celebrated its 40th Anniversary at our Annual Convention October 11-14. The program included 12 pre-conference sessions and 40 conference breakout sessions. California Senator Darrell Steinberg and California Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla were recognized for their great contributions to our field. Keynote speakers included: Martha Kanter, former Under Secretary of Education and Rebecca Bond, Department of Justice. Also at the convention, members celebrated the restoration of funding for postsecondary disability services in community colleges.

CAPED Interest Groups (CIGS) offered midyear workshops throughout the state to serve our membership and community partners. The Intellectual Disabilities (ID), Developmental Disabilities (DD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) CIG hosted a full day workshop in Southern California featuring Nicole Smith and her ASD program at California State University, Long Beach. The ID, DD, ASD CIG also hosted two webinars to gauge the needs of community college and 4-year institutions throughout the state. Another workshop is scheduled in northern California on March 13. CAPED led the efforts to update the statewide minimum qualifications for two faculty positions: DSPS Counselor and Learning Disabilities Specialist.

Connecticut AHEAD held a conference with Jeanne Kinkaid, J.D. at Central CT State University on October 3, 2014.

Florida AHEAD Fall 2014 Meeting was held on October 17, 2014 at Lake Sumter State College, Clermont
At the fall Florida AHEAD meeting we held the induction of new officers for 2014-16: Dr. Deb Larew, President; Dr. Martha Wisbey, President-Elect, Denise Giarrusso, Past President; Claudia Connelly (2015), Treasurer; Kimberley Smith, Secretary. Keynote speaker: Paul Nolting on “Math Disabilities, Documentation and Course Substitution”

Georgia AHEAD:  Atlanta Region hosted a replay/discussion of the Salome Heyward webinar: “Ignore Access to Technology at your Peril” on July 10, 2014 at Clayton State University. Georgia AHEAD hosted a Spring Conference on April 4, 2014 at Middle Georgia State College.

ILLOWA AHEAD (Iowa and Illinois): IA Roundtable - Helping Faculty Understand Sheldon’s Spot: Couching Autism using the Big Bang Theory - Panel discussion about college programs to assist students with ASD at the college level with providers, parents and students October 24th at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA

Overcoming the Anxious Mind: Helping Our Students Manage Anxiety Disorders
Featuring: Dr. Karen Cassiday  With an Afternoon Panel Discussion on: Anxiety and the College Student
Friday, November 7, 2014  at William Rainey Harper College Palatine, IL

Indiana AHEAD Fall 2014 Conference was held in downtown Indianapolis on October 9th & 10th with a presentation on service and emotional support animals by Janie Jarrow.   Rhonda Basha, Department of Labor, discussed the Workforce Recruitment Program and updates to employment legislation for individuals with disabilities.  Marci Wheeler, with the Indiana Resource Center for Autism, discussed how to support Students on the Spectrum in the college environment. 

IPHED (Idaho Partnership on Higher Education and Disability) held fall meeting on November 13 and 14.  Revisited IPHED bylaws and planned for professional development opportunity for Spring meeting.

Kan-AHEAD is currently planning its spring conference. It will be held in April in Lawrence (University of Kansas) or Baldwin City (Baker University), Kansas. Requested topics to cover include Universal Design for Learning and online accommodations. We are also looking at hosting representatives from the ADA Center of the Great Plains (Columbia, MO) who have offered training on physical accessibility.

MD AHEAD: In partnership, MD AHEAD and C-AHEAD invited Salome Heyward to address compliance issues for two- and four-year institutions.  The Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville campus hosted the event on November 14, 2014.  Dr. Heyward covered attendance policy, extensions on assignments, service animals, documentation practices, suicidal ideation, web accessibility and an overview of recent Office of Civil Rights complaints and agreements.  She is a civil rights attorney with over thirty years of experience and is highly sought after for speaking engagements as well as providing legal guidance and opinions on disability issues in higher education.  The goal of this event was to provide practical solutions for the disability providers (mostly college-level) who were in attendance.  

Michigan AHEAD: The Services for Students with Disabilities at the University of Michigan celebrated their 40th anniversary this year with a series of events capped off with the Honoring the Past & Exploring the Future conference on October 17th. This daylong conference featured presentations on mood disorders, the history of disability and law, and electric cars and their impact on mobility. The day concluded with a student panel discussing their experiences at the University of Michigan.

Elections for the Executive Board were held at the Spring Conference on May 16th. The new board consists of the following members:

  • Chip Evans, Baker College of Auburn Hills, President
  • Sarah Rose, Grand Rapids Community College, President-Elect
  • David Stokes, Madonna University, Past-President
  • Kelly Loftis, Wayne State University, 4-year Institution Representative
  • Evan Yamanishi, Lansing Community College, 2-year Institution Representative
  • David VanDoorne, Hope College, Private Institution Representative
  • Carletta Witzel, Andrews University, Treasurer
  • Carol Boyer, Baker College of Owosso, Secretary
  • Jenifer Montag, Delta College, Webmaster

Request for proposals are currently be accepted for next year’s Spring Conference. The conference will be held on May 15, 2015 at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, MI.

Lois Baldwin of Kalamazoo Valley Community College was the recipient of the 2014 Margaret A. Chmielewski Memorial Award. MI-AHEAD gives this award annually as a recognition for outstanding lifelong leadership, a warm sense of humor, a commitment to support of the disability community, and the pursuit of personal development in post-secondary education. The Marge Award is named is memory of Marge Chmielewski who worked at several institutions within the state of Michigan and was a key member in the formation of MI-AHEAD. Lois is a past MI-AHEAD President and perfectly embodies the qualities the award represents. She always brings a smile, laugh, and a wealth of knowledge to the monthly meetings and events. She was presented with the award during the Spring Conference on May 16, 2014.

Missouri AHEAD is redesigning their website. Plans are in place for a spring conference, to take place May 29, 2015 in Columbia, Missouri.

New Mexico AHEAD:  Carol Bartlett, Program Specialist at University of New Mexico received the 2014 “Making a Difference Together” award presented by the campus Veterans Resource Center for contributions made to the student veteran community.

New Jersey AHEAD co-sponsored AHEAD Technology Access Webinar Series with Rutgers University to make the series available to all our membership as well as designated northern and southern locations for members to participate in webinars.

New York State Disability Services Council Signed ADA 25th Anniversary Proclamation and formed an ad hoc committee to plan celebration.

The NY State Board of Regents recently approved the formation of an Advisory Council on Access to Higher Education for Students with Disabilities (March 2014). NYSED in collaboration with the NYDSC is charged with developing and implementing a strategy to create this advisory council.

North Carolina AHEAD is preparing for our annual spring one day drive-in conference.  It will be held on March 9, 2015 at Alamance Community College. NC AHEAD is working to formalize a plan to extend “Member Registration” rates to folks that are members of our neighboring state affiliates (VA, TN, and SC) in an effort to encourage folks to cross state lines and infuse new ideas into our own organization.

Ohio AHEAD hosted a conference on Friday, October 10th at University of Cincinnati Clermont. The theme of the conference was “One Goal, Many Paths”.  Ohio AHEAD was pleased to present a panel of disability services directors from around the state who brought to the forefront some trends and challenges that DSS professionals will need to be prepared to address.  The panel was semi-structured such that each director was able to present an issue for discussion and consideration as well as was able to reserve time at the end of the panel for open question and response form attendees. Confirmed participants at this time included:

Lois Harris, The Ohio State University
Cassandra Jones, Xavier University
Tiffany McClain, Columbus State
Michael Southern, University of Cincinnati
Andrew Zeisler, Miami University

Ohio AHEAD has developed a website for our members to see news and events from the executive board members ( It is a continued work in progress, and we are continually adding resources for our members.

Oklahoma AHEAD will be hosting our Annual Conference on April 9-10, 2015 at the University of Central Oklahoma located in Edmond, Oklahoma.  Topics will include transition into higher education, assistive technology, and others.  Members of other AHEAD affiliates may register for member rates.  For more information, please contact Chelle’ Guttery, Ph.D. at

ORAHEAD (Oregon) recent elections added three new folks to the ORAHEAD Board, including new president-elect Hilary Gerdes, Senior Director of the University of Oregon Accessible Education Center. A revision to the bylaws is also currently up for vote, details on the current and proposed bylaws are available on the fall conference website under Business Meeting. We also now have two standing committees: Website Development and CORE (Collaboration of Rehabilitation and Education).

Multiple ORAHEAD members have been working with the Oregon Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Oregon Commission for the Blind to create memorandums of understanding signed by those two organizations and each institution on collaborative partnerships to provide equitable access.

Annual Fall Conference held from November 5-7. 59 attendees from 26 institutions, including 21 first time attendees. We held two pre-conference sessions as well as a full conference agenda that touched on technology, ADHD coaching, leveraging LGBT identity development in disability services, captioning, and an OCR review session. View the full conference agenda for more information.

SUCCEEDS   Save the Date: SUCCEEDS, the S.C. affiliate of AHEAD, will host its Spring Conference on Friday, March 13, 2015, in Columbia. We welcome affiliate members from the surrounding states to participate in this 1-day, informative event. Presenters from both Clemson University and the University of S.C.-Columbia will be on-hand to address web accessibility and access issues within the scope of distance education programs. For more information, contact SUCCEEDS members via:

TNAHEAD will host its annual spring conference and business meeting March 11-13, 2015, at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. Through this year’s theme, “Honoring Our History and Planning our Future Through Innovative Partnerships,” we celebrate the 20th anniversary of TNAHEAD and the 25th anniversary of the ADA. In addition, our goal is to facilitate the identification of opportunities for innovation and collaboration as we head into the future. Please watch our website at  for upcoming conference information, or contact Education Chair Michelle Rigler at

WAPED is working on a membership benchmarking survey to get a sense for both demographic information as well as some operational service usage and trends across the state offices. The board is also starting a migration to a new website that will have enhanced information on the transition to college (both K-12 and 2yr to 2 yr.) and common FAQ resources for members. For more information please contact Bree at

WINAHEAD’s (Western Iowa and Nebraska) regional Fall conference was held on Nov. 6 & 7 in Lincoln, NE. Dr. Paul Grossman was the keynote speaker.

Wisconsin AHEAD Completed the 2nd annual Across the Lifespan Conference with WisTech, Department of Health Services and Stout Vocational Rehab Institute.   This was held Nov.13th- 14th. 
We sponsored Alonzo Kelly for the motivation speaker.  Three of our board members submitted proposals and were accepted to present at this conference.