Leading the Way in Postsecondary Education (CIDD UCEDD/LEND)

May 2, 2013

Website Link  http://www.cidd.unc.edu/psea

The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) at the University of North Carolina, with support from the College Access Challenge Grant, presented the second annual capacity building summit for postsecondary education (pse) for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

The two-day event was hosted by the North Carolina Postsecondary Education Alliance (PSEA), founded in 2009 to expand opportunities for students with I/DD to continue their education past high school in inclusive programs at universities and community colleges.  To that end, the PSEA mission to increase awareness and affect systems change while supporting program development has led to increased opportunities for students.  From one program in 2009, North Carolina now has ten programs and others in the planning stages.

The Summit, entitled "Leading the Way," featured keynote addresses from Stephan-Hamlin Smith, Executive Director of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), and Cate Weir, Project Coordinator for Think College at the Institute for Community Inclusion at U-Mass, Boston.  A special award was presented to N.C. Representative Verla Insko for her commitment to higher education for all citizens in the state.  Two hundred participants attended "how-to" sessions and engaged in a facilitated strategic regional planning workshop.  A student panel shared their college experiences and career goals.  Representatives from all NC programs set up displays to provide information and an opportunity for networking within the state. 

Evaluation feedback was 100% favorable and in support of continuation of this model to meet the needs of a growing population and demand for appropriate transition programs, so that all students have the opportunity to continue their education and improve their quality of life.