2012 AUCD Disability Leadership Policy Fellow: Call for Applications

Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Former AUCD Disability Policy Leadership Fellows

We are proud of the successes of our former Fellows in Disability Policy Leadership over the past ten years.  We invite you learn more about them and where they are now by clicking here.

In 2001, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) established the Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership.  The purpose of the Fellowship is to expand the knowledge and expertise of AUCD network faculty, staff and/or senior trainees through first-hand experience within the complex interrelationships that exist among national governing and regulatory agencies, institutions of higher learning and advocacy organizations.

Current and future national legislation and advocacy activities have significant impact on the nature and extent of services and supports for persons with disabilities and their families at the state and local level.  It is imperative that current and future leaders in the field of disabilities have an in-depth understanding of the many issues and factors that influence and guide policy development as well as the implementation of disability related laws by executive branch agencies. Knowledge of these issues and the factors that influence them, as well as the policy process at the national level, exposure to other UCEDD/LEND/IDDRC programs, collaboration with national advocacy organizations, participation in legislative advocacy, contact with federal agency officials and involvement in federal grants of a national scope has resulted in an enhanced and expanded leadership potential of Fellows as they return to their home communities


The purpose of the Fellowship is to provide significant experiences in national level activities related to policy and legislative development, advocacy, program development, technical assistance, and AUCD administration.  The Fellowship in Disability Policy Leadership is envisioned as a mutually beneficial arrangement between the Fellow, the home UCEDD/LEND/IDDRC program and the AUCD central office. The Fellow 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. AUCD will benefit by having increased assistance to carry out its mission as well as additional local and state perspectives from the AUCD network.

The overall goal of the Fellowship is to enhance the leadership capacity of the Fellow through a range of work experiences and responsibilities aiming to:

  1. Provide experience in the development of national policy and legislation related to individuals with disabilities, their families and those who work on their behalf;
  2. Broaden the Fellow's  knowledge of the AUCD membership, its work and issues; and
  3. Develop key relationships with other federal level organizations including federal agencies, associations, advocacy groups, and other public and private entities related to the disabilities field.

Responsibilities of the Fellow

The Fellowship experience will be jointly developed by the Fellow and AUCD senior staff based on the needs of the central office and Legislative Affairs, taking into consideration current AUCD projects and priorities, as well as skills and interests of the Fellow.  At a minimum, the Fellow will be responsible for the following:

  1. Assist in writing and dissemination of In Brief, AUCD's weekly legislative update;
  2. Assist in maintenance of AUCD's Health Reform Hub, an online gateway developed by AUCD to provide technical assistance and updated information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010;
  3. Attend and participate in Task Force meetings of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD);
  4. Attend relevant meetings/forums and congressional hearings;
  5. Participate in meetings with Congressional offices related to particular policy issues;
  6. Work with AUCD's Legislative Affairs Committee to formulate and promote the legislative goals of AUCD;
  7. Provide policy updates and technical assistance to association members.
  8. Draft press releases;
  9. Develop and distribute action alerts;
  10. Assist with planning and logistics of the Disability Policy Seminar and AUCD's Annual Meeting;
  11. Attend AUCD all-staff meetings; and
  12. Other special projects/activities/tasks as needed.

A Few Examples of Former Fellows' Activities:

  1. Developed Health Reform Hub following passage of the Affordable Care Act of 2010;
  2. Advocated for legislation such as Rosa's Law; Assistive Technology Act; Money Follows the Person;  Elementary and Secondary Education Act; New Freedom Initiative (NFI) related to Medicaid; the Family Opportunity Act; Medicaid waivers and other reform proposals; Medicaid reimbursement in the territories; Medicare Modernization Act; Lifespan Respite Care Act
  3. Acted as the AUCD Liaison to the Council on Community Advocacy (COCA);
  4. Participated in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) workgroup;
  5. Provided oral testimony to the Office of Postsecondary Education;
  6. Participated in planning and facilitation of the 2011 Allies in Self-Advocacy Summits;
  7. Participated in the 2001 Surgeon General's Initiative on Health Disparities and Mental Retardation;
  8. Created the Orientation Curriculum for Consumer Advisory Committees under AUCD's contract with the Administration on Developmental Disabilities; 

Reporting and Monitoring

The Fellow will keep supervisor(s) aware of his/her progress as well as submit a year-end report to the Board of Directors on his/her activities, accomplishments and challenges encountered during the Fellowship and recommendations for improving the Fellowship program.

Length of Time

The Fellowship period is typically from January to December. At minimum, an academic year (9 months) would be considered.  Shorter length Fellowships will only be considered when a particular project or issue of short duration is available.


The Fellow will receive current salary plus reimbursement for travel and relocation to Washington, D.C. Cost of living differentials between the Washington, D.C. area and home community may be considered in salary negotiations. Housing and per diem expenses during the Fellowship period will be the responsibility of the Fellow.

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants include: Staff working for at least 2 years at a UCEDD, LEND, or IDDRC in a management/faculty/research/clinical position who are US citizens; or graduate-level trainees. 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; and
  6. Interest in participating in national level project development, technical assistance, interagency collaboration and policy development.

Application Submission

button Apply

Applicants must submit a letter of interest explaining 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

A Selection Committee made up of AUCD board members and the AUCD Executive Director or his designee will review all applications and select finalists for interviews.

Application Deadline and Start Date

Applications are due July 30, 2011 with the goal of announcing the 2012 Fellow by September 30, 2011. The Fellowship is expected to begin in January, 2011.

For More Information

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