MTSU, ETSU, and Maryville to host community conversations on inclusive higher education

Community Conversations on the topic of postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities will take place in March. If you are interested in expanding inclusive higher education programs and are a family member, person with a disability, faculty member, current college student, campus administrator, disability service provider, or a member of the community, please join the conversation. More information and registration links are listed below.

Community Conversation opportunities:


Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Transition Guide now available

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has published A Transition Guide to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students and Youth with Disabilities. The guide is being issued by OSERS, the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and the Office of Special Education Programs to advance efforts in ensuring that all students and youth with disabilities are equipped with the skills and knowledge to be engaged in the 21st century workforce.

This transition guide addresses the following topics to facilitate a seamless transition from school to post-school activities:

  • Transition planning: opportunities and programs;
  • Transition services and requirements, as authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Rehabilitation Act;
  • Education and employment options for students and youth with disabilities after leaving secondary school; and
  • Supporting decisions made by students and youth with disabilities.

The information in this guide will assist students and youth with disabilities and their families in developing and pursuing their goals for adult life. Additionally, this transition guide will help students and youth with disabilities and their families to better understand how State educational agencies, local educational agencies, and State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies work together to facilitate improved outcomes for students and youth with disabilities.


Ruby’s Rainbow 2017 Scholarship Application Open!

Ruby’s Rainbow grants scholarships to students with Down syndrome (18 year of age and up) seeking postsecondary education or enrichment classes. The mission of Ruby’s Rainbow is to help students achieve their dreams of higher education and independence, while showing the world just how cool and capable they truly are.

Ruby’s Rainbow Scholarships are between $1,000 and $5,000 per awarded individual. The scholarship Deadline is April, 28th 2017.

To apply, Click Here


Submission Deadline for SEPSEA Conference is January 15th!

The Southeastern Postsecondary Education Alliance (SEPSEA), held June 26-27, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee seeks compelling presentations that inform inclusive higher education (IHE) professionals, students, family members, and other community partners about best practices, research, and other activities of interest to current and future IHE programs in the southeast.

The submission deadline is January 15, 2017. CLICK HERE to submit a proposal.


Think College Announces 2016-17 Webinar Series


Think College, a project of the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has announced and opened registration for it’s 2016-17 webinar series. Topics focus on inclusive academic access, financial planning for college, employment supports, and higher education & disability policy.

Registration is FREE, and includes live participation as well as a link to the recorded webinar for use after the event. For more information on each webinar and to register, CLICK HERE.


TigerLIFE/Memphis Institute on Disability Offer Inclusive Higher Education Summit

The University of Memphis Institute on Disability will offer an HBCU Summit November 13 – 14, 2016. Alabama A&M University is hosting the Summit in Huntsville, Alabama. This Summit will provide information on interdisciplinary postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information, contact Maurice Williams, or download the Summit flyer HERE.


Next Steps Ambassadore Program Inducted Into the Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame


Haley Kellar (Next Steps graduate) and Alyssa Bernstein (VU graduate & former Ambassadore) were in New York City this week to represent the Next Steps Ambassadore Organization as they were inducted into the 2016 Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

The Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame was established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition to honor those individuals who are making a significant difference in the lives of youth and adults with disabilities through mentoring and to raise awareness about the importance of mentoring for individuals with disabilities.

Congratulations to all of the Ambassadores who have mentored Next Steps at Vanderbilt students and to all of those who will mentor in the years ahead!

You can read more on the honor HERE.


Vanderbilt to Host 3rd Annual Southeastern Inclusive Postsecondary Education Conference and Capacity Building Institute

Vanderbilt University is slated to host the 3rd Annual Southeastern Inclusive Postsecondary Education Conference and Capacity Building Institute June 26-27, 2017. The event brings together students, family members, educators, service providers, and policy makers for two days of sharing ideas, professional development, and share thoughts and strategies about inclusive postsecondary education opportunities in Southeastern colleges and universities.

For more information, click here.