AUCD Seeking 2009-2010 Policy Fellow

June 24, 2009


In 2001, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) established the Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership in an effort to expand the knowledge and expertise of AUCD network professionals to experience first hand the complex interrelationships among service providers, local, state and national governing and regulatory agencies, institutions of higher learning and advocacy agencies. Current and future legislation, appropriations and advocacy activities at state and national levels have significant impact on the nature and extent of services and supports for persons with disabilities and their families.

Current and future leaders in the field of disabilities need to have an in-depth understanding of the many issues that face the field and the factors that influence and guide its development. Faculty and staff at individual centers get first hand experience of their local issues and the factors that influence them. Knowledge of issues, influencing factors, and policy development procedures in other states and at the national level can enhance and expand the leadership potential of individuals.

Contact and exposure to other UCEDD/LEND/IDDRC programs, work with national advocacy organizations, participation in legislative advocacy, contact with federal agency officials and involvement in federal grants of a national scope can provide experience and knowledge that can build upon and enhance local experiences. Such experiences at the national level can greatly enhance the leadership potential and career opportunities of individuals as they subsequently return to their home communities.


The overall purpose of the Fellowship is to offer a significant experience in national level activities related to policy and legislative development, advocacy, program development, technical assistance, and association administration.  The Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership is envisioned as a mutually beneficial arrangement whereby the participating individual, the home UCEDD/LEND/IDDRC program and the AUCD central office benefit. The individual will benefit from the experiences and contacts developed during the Fellowship period. The program will benefit from having "one of its own" participating in national level activities and subsequently informing home UCEDD/LEND/IDDRC staff of their activities and knowledge gained. The AUCD will benefit from having increased human resources to assist in carrying out its work and have a person on staff with local and state perspectives in the AUCD network.

The overall goals of the Fellowship are:

  1. To enhance the leadership capacity of the Fellow through a range of work experiences, responsibilities and contacts with national leaders.
  2. To provide experience and skills in the development of national policy and legislation related to individuals with disabilities, their families and those who work on their behalf.
  3. To broaden the experience and knowledge of the Fellow of the AUCD membership, their work and issues.
  4. To broaden the knowledge of and develop key relationships with other organizations including federal agencies, other associations, advocacy groups, and other public and private entities related to the disabilities field.

Responsibilities of the Fellow

The Fellowship program will be jointly developed between the fellow and central office staff based on the current and expected workload of the central office, upcoming policy issues before Congress and Executive Branch Agencies and the interests and experience of the Fellow.

Examples of Potential Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  1. Develop projects or new initiatives with the involvement of other UCEDD/LEND/IDDRC programs and other collaborative partners. May involve grant proposal development and submission, developing collaborative arrangements, presenting concepts to executive branch agency leadership.
  2. Provide policy updates and technical assistance to association members.
  3. Participate with national advocacy organizations and AUCD membership to develop and advocate for particular policies that enhance the lives of people with disabilities.
  4. Work with Legislative Affairs Committee and staff to formulate and promote the legislative goals of the Association.
  5. Work with AUCD executive director to develop new capacities and activities for the Association such as development of policy positions, developing effective information dissemination efforts, or enhancing communications among network membership.
  6. Work with Executive Branch Agency leadership on particular projects or policy issues.
  7. Conduct research related to policy development, provision of technical assistance, and services and supports for persons with disabilities.
  8. Assist AUCD in completing grant tasks under contracts with federal agencies.

Reporting and Monitoring

The Fellow will submit updates regarding his/her work to the network and the AUCD Board as well as a year-end report on activities, accomplishments and challenges encountered during the Fellowship, and recommendations for improving the Fellowship program.

Length of Time

The Fellowship period is usually from 9 to 12 months. At least an academic year time period (9 months) would be preferred. Shorter length Fellowships will only be considered when a particular project or issue of short duration is available.


Fellow will receive current salary plus costs for travel and relocation to Washington DC. Cost of living differentials between Washington DC area and home community may be considered in negotiating the Fellowship stipend. Housing and per diem expenses while in Washington will be the responsibility of the Fellow.

Eligible Applicants

Staff working for at least 2-5 years at a UCEDD, LEND program, or IDDRC in a management/faculty/research/clinical position who are US citizens, or graduate trainees who are completing their training program. Persons with disabilities or family members and persons from culturally diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. 


  1. Recommendations of Center Director and leadership personnel from other agencies
  2. Experience in project management & leadership
  3. Demonstrated experience in working collaboratively with local and state organizations
  4. Experience in local or state policy development
  5. Demonstrated work excellence and leadership potential
  6. Interest in participating in national level project development, technical assistance, interagency collaboration and policy development

Application Submission

Apply Here

Applicants must submit a letter of interest delineating how they meet the criteria, what they hope to get out of the Fellowship and how they expect to use the knowledge and skills gained when they return to their home Center/Program.

In addition the applicant will submit a current resume and at least three letters of reference one of which should come from the director of the center or program. Examples of recent current written work will also be accepted but not required.

Selection Process

Selection Committee made up of four board members with one representative from the Executive committee of the Board, and the AUCD executive director will review all applications and select finalists for interviews, in person if feasible or at least by telephone conference call.

Application Deadline and Start Date

Applications are due September 29, 2009 but will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.  The Fellowship is expected to begin as soon as possible.

For More Information

For additional information please contact: AUCD Executive Director George Jesien or Director of Legislative Affairs Kim Musheno.  You can also contact AUCD's current Policy Fellow Samantha Marsh with questions.


Apply Here