Union EDGE welcomes new assistant director

In July, the Union EDGE Program welcomed its newest team member assistant director Andrew Blackard. Andrew graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a Health Endorsement from Union in December of 2015. He will live on campus to serve Union EDGE students in the evening and weekend time periods. Welcome, Andrew!


Save the date: Transition Tennessee Conference

Transition Tennessee has announced it will host a conference on January 28th, 2019 in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Education’s Partners in Education (PIE) statewide special education conference. Held at Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee, Passport to the Future, will equip educators, school administrators, VR professionals, providers, family members, and others with the tools and strategies to prepare young people with disabilities for life after high school.

While more detailed information will be announced soon, go ahead and bookmark the Conference website.

If you have questions, please contact Rachael Jenkins, Educational Consultant with Vanderbilt University, at or (615) 322-4999.


Inclusion Milestone at Vanderbilt University

Next Steps at Vanderbilt had a lot to celebrate in 2018, especially at commencement.  In this photograph, Diamond (class of 2018) receives her certificate from Sharon Shields, Associate Dean for Professional Education, during the Vanderbilt University graduation ceremony. This marks the first year that a student enrolled through Next Steps walked across the graduation stage with her fellow Peabody graduates. Inclusion matters and Diamond has a bright future ahead. Congratulations to Diamond and to all the 2018 graduates! 



Union Edge graduates 2nd cohort

The  Union EDGE Program graduated the second cohort of students on May 19, 2018.  Six young people walked across the stage.  All six are currently working or have jobs for the fall after taking some time off after graduation for trips.  Four students completed the Union Bridge Program, which is the optional third year of supervision after completing the two year program.  All four have jobs.


A new resource shares inclusive higher education practices and perspectives

A new resource from the Tennessee Developmental Disabilities and Independent Living Networks pulls together informative presentations from the 3rd Annual 2017 Southeastern Postsecondary Education Alliance Capacity Building Institute. By sharing best practices and perspectives, the aim of the publication is to encourage more programs on college, university, and community college campuses across the Southeast and nation.

Visit the resource page to download Inclusive Higher Education: Practices and Perspectives from the Southeast


Submit your proposal for the 2018 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Presentation proposals are currently being accepted for the 2018 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

*October 10-11, 2018 in Syracuse, NY*

This popular conference of 300+ participants provides opportunities for colleges and universities, researchers, program staff, parents and self-advocates to learn about the current state of research and practice in the field, and to network with each other. Panels that include faculty and staff from postsecondary education initiatives, parents, self-advocates, and other experts, share effective practices during break-out sessions with opportunities for group discussion. The Student Leadership Conference is a new, parallel conference on Syracuse University’s campus, which brings more high school and college students into the conversation.

New for 2018:
• Extended breakout sessions
• Technical assistance panels
• More opportunities to network with your peers

Proposal Deadline is April 20! Click here to submit your proposal!

State of the Art is hosted by the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University and George Mason University’s Helen A. Keller Institute for Human Disabilities. Previous sponsors include Think College, AUCD, NDSS, AAIDD, AIDD and Cognitopia. For more information, visit


CALL FOR PROPOSALS: 4th Annual SEPSEA Conference

The CALL FOR PROPOSALS is now open for the 4th Annual SEPSEA Conference to be held April 19 & 20, 2018 in Memphis, TN. The theme this year is Students with IDD Have a Dream: Success in College and Beyond. The deadline for proposals is January 30, 2018.

The Southeastern Postsecondary Education Alliance (SEPSEA) seeks compelling presentations that inform inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) professionals and students about best practices, research, and other activities of interest to the IPSE programs in the Southeast.

There will be 4 strands for presentations: Innovative Ideas, Program Development, Administration, and Transition to College.

Proposals may be submitted: HERE


New webinar provides strategies for educating policymakers about IHE and employment

Lobbying, Educating, Advocating: What to Do, Where you Are, To Educate People Around You

Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 2-3 pm CST

State and local policymakers are looking for partners, solutions, and ways to stretch their dollars. Perhaps most importantly, they are looking for ways simply to make life better for their citizens. You have some of that information! It’s important to share the benefits of inclusive higher education, including employment, with state policymakers. This Webinar will look at what you can and cannot do, how to do it, who to approach and how to say it. Templates and tools will be shared. Whether you are an experienced advocate or a beginner, there is something here for you. Join AUCD’s Denise Rozell, J.D.

To register, click here.

Think College ( provides training that disseminates research and promising practices related to postsecondary education for students with intellectual disability, including webinars, conference presentations, capacity-building institutes and research summits.