New Community Education Directors' Factsheet

September 12, 2004

This fact sheet was put to answer the questions most commonly asked by new community education directors.

1. What are the core functions of a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD, formerly UAP)?
The core functions, as specified in the Developmental Disabilities Act, which was reauthorized in October 2000 are as follows:

  • Interdisciplinary preservice preparation and continuing education
  • Training and technical assistance
  • Services, support and assistance
  • Demonstration and model activities
  • Applied research, evaluation and analysis of public policy (new in 2000)
  • Dissemination of information

To assure that core functions are addressed, many UCEDDs fund a portion of the Community Education director's salary from the UCEDD core grant (Administration on Developmental Disabilities). Additional salary support typically comes from other federal, state or local grants or contracts. A goal of many UCEDD projects is to integrate multiple components of the mission into Center activities. Centers are asking questions such as, "How can we build more research, evaluation or public policy analysis into our community education or direct service activities?"

2. What should a Community Education director be doing?
The goal of all Community Education is to improve the capacity of a variety of service systems to meet the needs of people with developmental disabilities and their families. Usually the UCEDD grant application cites needs in the state or region and outlines a plan for the UCEDD to help meet those needs. Other ways of determining needs that might be met by community education efforts are through the UCEDD's membership on the Planning council for their state's Council for Developmental Disabilities, a partner agency for UCEDDs as designated by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD). Participation on other state, regional or local interagency groups, as well as needs assessments done by others also guide community education activities. Specific requests may come to a UCEDD by funding agencies, community programs, service systems and departments for assistance in meeting identified needs.

The Community Education director's job description varies, depending on the UCEDD resources and efforts. At some UCEDDs, community education directors are central to the coordination, planning, publicizing, organizing, presenting, evaluating and reporting on the UCEDD's Continuing Education activities. In others, they do some but not all of the above. In many UCEDDs, the Community Education director also has other managerial, professional or clinical assignments. AUCD, MCH and other funders require periodic reports on what Community Education is being done by UCEDD faculty, staff and students. What information is required changes over time and is not the same for all funders. It is useful to determine who in the UCEDD is responsible for finding out what Continuing Education data is required for reports and who will collect information from faculty, staff and students necessary for these periodic progress reports. The content and process for reporting to Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is under revision.

3. What is the difference between pre-service training and community education?
Both interdisciplinary preservice training and community education are included in the core functions of a UCEDD. Preservice training refers to educational experiences planned for persons who are enrolled in a degree program or who are completing specific requirements or optional experiences before entering a profession. Preservice training can be at the undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate level. It may include courses, clinical experiences, research, or seminars. Some funders of UCEDDs such as the MCH Lend Program require interdisciplinary training of students from specific disciplines. The disciplines usually depend on the funding agency's requirements.

Community education refers to educational offerings planned for persons who have completed their degree and licensure requirements and who are working. Participants may also be paraprofessionals, family members, consumers, or interested community members. Continuing education "credits" may be available for participants through various professional bodies and institutions. Workshops, conferences, curriculum modules, inservice trainings, and videoconferences are some of the formats in which community education may occur. Distance education methodologies such as video conferencing and online courses are being utilized more widely for both preservice and community education courses. The outcomes for all education and training at a UCEDD are increased quality of life and community inclusion of persons who have disabilities and their families.

4. Why is it important to attend the NCED Council?
Attendance at the NCED Council meetings assures that your UCEDD has a voice in providing input into: 1) national issues regarding community education that are being addressed by AUCD; and 2) the direction/activities of the NCED Council. Priorities and activities that will be carried out throughout the upcoming year are identified at the Council meetings. The Council meetings offer opportunities to become involved. You can join subcommittees that meet periodically (3-4 times) by conference call and e-mail throughout the year. Attendance at NCED Council meetings also provides opportunities to learn about other UCEDD community education initiatives and to network with your Community Education colleagues.

5. How do things work within AUCD? What meetings are open?
The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is managed by the Board of Directors, made up of representatives of the membership at large (elected from directors or associate directors) and elected chairs of AUCD's Councils (National Community Education Directors Council, National Training Directors Council, Interdisciplinary Council, Council on Consumer Affairs, and Multicultural Council). All member programs of AUCD are urged to provide membership on each of the five Councils.

Committees and task forces have been established by the Board of Directors to assist in addressing emerging trends and issues in the field and facilitate communication across and beyond the AUCD network. In general, committee and task force members are appointed by the Board of Directors.

All Board, Council, committee, and task force meetings are open to any representative of an AUCD member program. You are encouraged to attend those meetings in which you have an interest.

6. How can I find out what other UCEDD Community Education programs are doing and connect with other community education directors between annual meetings?
Connecting with other community education directors can occur in a variety of ways. Perhaps the most effective and enjoyable one is meeting other directors in person. This can occur at any number of conferences and workshops around the country but usually happens at the annual meeting of the AUCD. Most UCEDDs belong to this organization. Consisting of an array of business meetings and educational sessions, the AUCD conference usually provides the best opportunity for you to meet formally and informally with many of your colleagues. One of the conference activities is the annual meeting of the NCEDC, during which community service directors discuss issues of common interest, as well as educational activities in the various states. This is also the time to get involved on a Council subcommittee or task force. Between annual meetings, members of the subcommittee keep in touch with one another, usually through e-mail and teleconferences.

Another way of keeping in contact with other directors between annual meetings is through the Council's listserve. To subscribe, e-mail Cary Kreutzer, NCEDC Secretary.

For virtual links to other directors, try the AUCD website, which offers a variety of information about University Centers for Excellence, including links to every UCEDD in the country.

To access the NCEDC web pages on the AUCD website click "Councils", and then click "National Community Education Directors' Council". You can bookmark the main AUCD web page or the sub-page for the NCEDC.

Most of the NCEDC's business and activities are contained on the AUCD website and provide a good orientation of the organization. Click on "Councils" and then on the "National Community Education Directors' Council." This page provides access to an explanation of the Council's mission, a copy of the new directors' fact sheet, sub-committees and task forces, activities, minutes of the past Council meetings and a directory of community education directors.

7. How do I get support from the network as a new Community Education Director?
Most UCEDD staff are extremely willing to help people from other UCEDDs who would like information, or who are wanting to communicate about a variety of topics. Communication can occur by telephone, e-mail, fax, or by a visit to another UCEDD. Those who could be asked to serve as mentors are typically experienced Community Education Directors who are knowledgeable about UCEDDDD requirements and training activities, federal funding and reporting, the National Community Education Director's Council, and other available resources. A mentor can offer technical assistance by learning about your questions and needs, by sharing their experiences, and by offering referrals to others within the UCEDD network whom they think can help. Please contact Linda Tuchman, NCEDC Chair, Technical Assistance Committee.

8. What is the training symposium?
The annual Training Symposium is a joint educational event sponsored by the National Community Education Directors Council, National Training Directors Council, Interdisciplinary Council, Council on Consumer Affairs, and Multicultural Council. The symposium is designed to provide information relevant to UCEDDs in their service, research and training missions. The Training Symposium is organized to address salient concerns in the field of developmental disabilities and to provide expertise and positive suggestions to address these concerns. Held during the annual meeting of AUCD, the Training Symposium offers an opportunity for training directors, clinicians, administrators and researchers to share opinions and learn from one another about the latest developments in the field. Of particular interest to NCEDC members is the emphasis on approaches and materials for use as part of UCEDD community outreach training.