University of Rochester

Grant to Expand, Improve the Quality of Postsecondary Opportunities for Students with Disabilities

December 9, 2010

NYS DDPC Gives Institute $150,000 to Promote Promising Practices

The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) is awarding the Institute for Innovative Transition at the University of Rochester a $150,000 grant to increase awareness and improve the quality of inclusive college-based initiatives for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York State.

In collaboration with another University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), the Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD), the Institute for Innovative Transition, a partnership of the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation and the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education and Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities (a UCEDD), will receive funding to support initiatives that develop and facilitate a statewide learning community to evaluate and promote promising practices that engage students with disabilities in inclusive postsecondary opportunities.

The Institute's Think College NY! initiative cited the need for more inclusive postsecondary options for students with disabilities in New York State. A report from the 2010 Think College NY! regional summits, hosted by the Institute, found that a vast majority of the 20 campus-based options in New York State, most of which reside in the western and downstate areas, are segregated, providing limited opportunity for students with disabilities to engage with the college campus and students without disabilities.

Martha Mock, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Innovative Transition who holds joint appointments at the Warner School and the University of Rochester Medical Center's Department of Pediatrics, will lead the efforts to conduct statewide learning experiences and training, utilize online education and communities of practice, and assess the needs of New Yorkers.

"The Institute's mission is to model best practices in transition," says Mock. "This new initiative will help us to expand the inclusive college-based options available but also allow us to take a look at what others are doing and to do it in a more inclusive way. Ultimately, our goal is to improve the number of quality inclusive postsecondary programs in order to meet the current and future needs of students with disabilities and their families, as well as to serve as models for higher education institutions establishing new initiatives."

The two-year grant will help facilitate a statewide focus on postsecondary inclusion through a series of learning events, an expanded Web resource center (www.nytransition.org), and information gathering and dissemination. Specifically, the Institute and WIHD will hold summer institutes—in Rochester and downstate—on postsecondary options and how to initiate opportunities on campus, host a webinar series focused on families and students interested in existing college programs as well as current challenges in New York State, develop and pilot a self-advocacy presentation targeted to students with disabilities, and film a documentary capturing the experiences of three students with intellectual disabilities attending college in New York.

The Institute will also provide enhanced opportunities for individuals to tap into national resources and share information about inclusive postsecondary education by increasing usage and capacity of its existing Community of Practice (CoP) for Think College NY! and expanding its current listserv. Additionally, the Institute will develop profiles on existing college programs, conduct a needs assessment related to college program interests, disseminate two briefs annually, conduct an exit survey on students' experiences, and collaborate with the National Consortium for Postsecondary Education for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities on New York State initiatives for inclusive postsecondary education.

The webinars, presentations, and information will be disseminated to students, families, higher education professionals, K-12 professionals, and agency providers statewide and made available online at www.nytransition.org and www.wihd.org.

The Institute for Innovative Transition, which was launched in 2008 and sustained through $1.5 million in grants from the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation and a recent $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, aims to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families as they transition from school age to adulthood. The Institute has been working with students, parents, school and agency personnel, and other stakeholders in New York the past two years to improve upon the inclusive campus-based initiatives. For more information about the Institute, contact Martha Mock at mmock@warner.rochester.edu or visit www.nytransition.org.

The DDPC is a federally funded state agency dedicated to designing and implementing new programs that serve New Yorkers with developmental disabilities and their families in the most effective way possible. Sixty percent of the Governor-appointed membership of the DDPC is parents and people with developmental disabilities. For more information on the DDPC, visit www.ddpc.state.ny.us.




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