Council on Leadership in Advocacy (COLA)

 

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The AUCD Board of Directors has established a number of Councils and Committees that are made up of experts in the field to help the Board address emerging trends and issues, and to facilitate communication across and beyond the AUCD network. The Council on Leadership in Advocacy, also known as COLA, is made up of individuals with disabilities and family members from each University Center across the AUCD network.  COLA members are involved in Community Advisory Councils at University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), AUCD Councils and Committees, AUCD Special Interest Groups, and other advocacy opportunities.  Membership is open to anyone in the AUCD network. However, each center will designate an individual representative who will cast one vote when a matter before the Council requires such action.

 

 

 
 

Mission

The mission of the AUCD Council on Leadership in Advocacy (COLA) is to advise and assist the AUCD network to enhance the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. COLA works to enhance AUCD by fostering and supporting current and new leaders with lived experience of disability, including their family members in order to promote this same leadership in their programs, communities, and regions, and to serve in liaison roles with local disability leadership. The Council helps the association to:

  • Build effective partnerships with other AUCD Councils and Committees, federal agencies, and other national disability groups.
  • Build the capacity of local University Center Consumer Advisory Committees (CACs), including identifying needs for assistance, providing technical assistance, and disseminating information about exemplary and innovative practices.
  • Envision, actively advocate for, and disseminate information about the next generation of policy and practice that will help make the promise of full participation a reality.
  • Develop leaders and mentors that build the capacity of the network to affect change at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Assist in the development of standards for participation of people with disabilities and family members in UCEDD education, research, and service programs and in AUCD functions.
  • Serve as a model and resource for others desiring to infuse the participation people with disabilities and family members into program planning, research, and evaluation.

 

 

 
 

Purpose

The purpose of the Council is to enhance the Association by fostering current and new leaders with lived experience of disability, including their family members, to promote leadership in their programs and communities. Council membership will expand to include directors, faculty, staff, and advisors at center programs, and CAC members.

 

 
 

History

The Council on Consumer Affairs first convened in the fall of 1994; the name was later changed to the Council on Consumer Advocacy. The Council was formed as a result of AUCD's (formerly AAUAP) increasing recognition of the importance of receiving consistent and ongoing consumer feedback. Start-up activities were funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, through a Project of National Significance entitled "Leadership and Choices." Principle support was provided by Bruce Eddy of AUCD and Carl Calkins of the University of Missouri/Kansas City, Missouri's UCEDD.

The Council leadership structure includes several internal committees and two co-chairs. 1998 By-Laws stipulate that one co-chair must be an individual with a disability, and the other be the family member of an individual with a disability. The three-year, staggered co-chair positions carry with them a slot on AUCD's Board of Directors.

Full Council membership consists of one representative of each UCEDD, designated by that UCEDD's director. The Council continues to strive to meet its long-term goal of full membership.

In 2003-2004, AUCD made a commitment to revitalize the role of COCA within the network. Past President of AUCD, David Johnson appointed an ad hoc COCA Workgroup. This workgroup, chaired by Carl Calkins, solicited feedback from the AUCD network and met several times to develop a renewed vision to strengthen the role of COCA. A final set of recommendations was produced and presented to the board and UCEDD Directors at the UCEDD Directors' retreat May 2-3, 2005 in Chicago, IL.

 

 
 

COLA Leadership

 

 

 
 

Upcoming Events
of Interest to
COCA Members

More Events >

 
 

NEW ON THE COLA
WEB PAGES

 

5/6/2022

Everything I Needed to Know About Leadership I Learned from the NJLEND Cohort Crest Project

Dominique Reminick, MA (she/her); NJLEND Psychology Fellow 2021-2022

Of the multitude of meaningful didactic and experiential learning activities afforded by the NJLEND program, none is quite as unique as the Cohort Crest project. This project, which runs the span of the fellowship, entails the cohort working together as a group to create a crest, or emblem of some sort, which represents our communal identity as a cohort. While a seemingly simple idea, this activity serves several purposes (both overt and covert) that help us to strengthen and hone our skills as emerging leaders.

 
 
Tom, left, and his brother Joe attending a Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Bronocs game

5/6/2022

Expecting Acceptance: A Parent's Perspective

Story written by parent of autistic teen for Autism Acceptance Month

Nine years ago, when my son first spent a week at the Munroe-Meyer Institute's Camp Munroe, I hoped he would make a friend. As Autism Acceptance Month begins, my son -- who was diagnosed on the autism spectrum about 13 years ago -- is a member of his school's JRTOC Corps. He is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout.

 
 

5/6/2022

Munroe-Meyer Institute Names New Director of Autism Center

Seeing a perfect fit with her professional expertise and interests, Alice Shillingsburg, PhD, will join the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute as its new director of the integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (iCASD). Dr. Shillingsburg's hiring fulfills MMI's goal to recruit a nationally recognized expert in autism to iCASD and its redesigned home in the new Munroe-Meyer Institute building.

 
 
MNLEND Fellow Julie Li Yang is wearing a facemask and standing next to a table with Help Me Grow children's books, toys, and paper resources.

5/5/2022

Minnesota LEND Fellow Engages with Local Hmong Community

This spring, MNLEND Community Fellow Julie Li Yang is engaging in outreach activities to promote Help Me Grow resources with the Hmong community in the Twin Cities and surrounding area. Yang is mentored by Dr. Jennifer Hall-Lande in the Minnesota LEND program at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) at the University of Minnesota. By promoting early monitoring and early developmental screening resources at tabling events and through social media, Yang found that parents are often reluctant to discuss early intervention services due to the shame and stigma surrounding autism diagnosis, specific to the Hmong community.

 

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