The five postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Tennessee had invigorating and successful academic years. Exciting program updates may be accessed below.

Congratulations to all of the 2015 graduates!

The Union EDGE

Next Steps at Vanderbilt

David Lipscomb IDEAL

University of Tennessee FUTURE

University of Memphis TigerLIFE

Faculty, staff, and students from Tennessee’s postsecondary education programs presented at the Southeastern Postsecondary Education Alliance Capacity Building Institute on April 16 & 17, 2015. Hosted by the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at the Georgia State University (GSU) School of Public Health, the inaugural event welcomed 23 colleges & universities from eight Southeastern states.

Cate Weir, Think College Program Director, opened the Capacity Building Institute with information about the national trends in IPSE. The opening keynote was given by Dr. George Benson, former president of College of Charleston, who spoke on breaking down barriers in higher education to achieve inclusion. Jim Thompson, the 2014-15 University of Georgia Student Government Association Vice President, spoke about how IPSE is a service to all students, not simply those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. To close out the two-day event, Claire Bible, an IPSE graduate, current student at Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin, and a self-advocate with Down syndrome, gave the final keynote address.

The Southeastern Postsecondary Education Alliance promotes resource development, collaboration, peer-to-peer education, and access to quality IPSE opportunities in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, & beyond.

For more information, contact Susanna Miller

The 2015 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities will be held November 11-12, 2015 in Fairfax, Virginia, and is currently accepting proposals for presentations.

The conference provides an opportunity for colleges and universities, researchers, program staff, parents and self-advocates to discuss the current state of research and practice in the field.

Presentation proposals are due by June 26, 2015. To learn more and to submit a proposal, visit
the conference website.

TennesseeWorks is offering mini-grants to address the employment of people with disabilities. Are you interested in expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities in your community? Here is a chance to launch real change in your local community. We are inviting communities across the state to host their own “community conversations” with support of TennesseeWorks team members and partners. These events are creative and engaging ways of gathering together a cross-section of community members to generate solutions on increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Each mini-grant comes with great support from TennesseeWorks and up to $2,000. Visit the TennesseeWorks website for more information and to apply. The deadline is April 3.

The Kennesaw State University Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth offers a fully inclusive 2 year college experience to students with intellectual or developmental disabilities who do not meet the university requirements for admission as a degree seeking student. The program includes enrollment as non-degree seeking audit students in typical university courses alongside degree seeking students and includes social integration, career exploration and training resulting in a Certificate of Social Growth and Development. Applications for the program will be available beginning Tuesday, March 24th. For more information, visit the Academy for Inclusive Learning website.

12 Garden Street, in Nashville’s Chestnut Hill neighborhood, will house future pastors alongside people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The first resident to sign on is 28-year-old Steven Greiner. Greiner is a graduate of the Next Steps at Vanderbilt program. He says he’s nervous to move out for the first time but excited to have more of a personal life — “to live as independently as I can,” he says, “just living life [to the] fullest.”

To learn more, Click here

Union University will begin a postsecondary education program this fall for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Union EDGE will be a two-year certificate program that will focus on developing communication skills and job skills training. EDGE is an acronym for Employment training, Daily living skills, Godly focus, Educational enrichment. This program marks Tennessee’s 5th program on a university/college campus.

For more on the development of the EDGE program, Click here.

The Arc Williamson County announces the availability of two postsecondary scholarship opportunities. In partnership with Alice Jackson, and Prime Trust, the eighth Robert H. Carter/The Arc Scholarship will be awarded this spring. This $500 scholarship is intended to benefit a student graduating from Franklin High School who utilized student support services. The scholarship is in memory of Robert Howell Carter, a 1975 graduate of Franklin High School, and a young man with special needs who continued his post secondary education at Columbia State Community College. Requirements include: student will graduate (any type of degree) from Franklin High School; student has a disability, excluding gifted, which qualified him/her as needing student support services during his/her high school years; and student has plans for post-secondary education including 4 year college, 2 year college, vocational training program, continuing education, etc.

The Arc Williamson County is also pleased to announce The Arc Postsecondary Scholarship intended for students who will be attending either Next Steps at Vanderbilt or IDEAL at David Lipscomb. Requirements for this scholarship include: the student must be a resident of Williamson County; and the student must have been accepted to one of the programs. The amount of the scholarship has yet to be determined.

Applications for either scholarship can be found at The Arc’s website. The deadline for submission of applications is April 15, 2015.

Next Steps at Vanderbilt has produced a powerful new video that highlights how postsecondary education is possible for all, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The video especially emphasizes the positive effects a college experience can have on young women with disabilities. Watch the video.

The Tennessee Alliance for Postsecondary Opportunities for Students With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities was well-represented at the State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities held November 20-21, 2014. Leadership from all four of Tennessee’s postsecondary education programs presented. The conference occurs annually and is a gathering of professionals and interested parties to discuss the current state of research and practice in the field of postsecondary education.

Below, is a listing of the presentations offered by PSE Alliance members.

  • Creating Engaging and Effective Lessons to Build Employment-Related Skills
    Presenters: Misty Vetter Parsley and Mallory Whitmore (IDEAL at David Lipscomb)
    Students with disabilities often need assistance with employment-related skills like interaction, communication, and technology. This session explored engaging lessons for teaching these skills in an effective manner using well established lesson planning techniques such as a set, formative assessment, and closure.
  • Sustaining Success: Two Statewide Models for Capacity Building and System Change
    Presenters: Tom Beeson (FUTURE Program at University of Tennessee), Tammy Day (Next Steps at Vanderbilt), Mallory Whitmore and Misty Vetter Parsley (IDEAL at David Lipscomb), Maurice Williams and Chrisann Schiro-Geist (TigerLIFE at University of Memphis)
  • Recruitment, Capacity Building, and Improved Programming through Summer Residential Opportunities
    Presenter: Tammy Day (Next Steps at Vanderbilt)
    People are best able to understand a task, a situation, and an opportunity through prior learning and experiences. This premise is why a week-long summer residential experience is a perfect way for youth to determine if a college experience might be right for them. They get to actually see themselves on campus.

For more on the State of the Art Conference, visit the conference website.


next posts >>