KU ACCESS: Leadership in Access, College, Career, and Extensive and Significant Supports for Secondary Students with Severe Disabilities
The University of Kansas Department of Special Education, in collaboration with the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities, proposes to extend and enhance its nationally ranked doctoral program by preparing a cadre of 5 scholars to serve as leaders in the area of access to the general education curriculum and college and career readiness for secondary students with severe disabilities. KU ACCESS will address the national shortage of higher education faculty (Type A Program) in the area of secondary education and severe disabilities as well as the critical need for scholars who have competencies in key knowledge and skills related to current and emerging evidence-based practices in supporting access to the general education curriculum and college and career readiness, including (1) self-determination and transition; (2) inclusive practices; (3) multi-tiered systems of support; (4) alternate assessment; and (5) implementation science. KU ACCESS will draw on our established relationship and collaborations with high-need schools to provide opportunities for scholars to develop competencies in implementing and researching the implementation of evidence-based practices in high-need schools, as well as partner with the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities to provide opportunities for scholars to develop expertise in both school and community supports and services (e.g., health and medical care, community living services and supports) that impact the post-school outcomes experienced by youth and young adults with severe disabilities. The four KU ACCESS faculty (Shogren, Kurth, Morningstar, and Wehmeyer) together bring significant expertise in these domains, KU ACCESS will support scholars to attend the nationally ranked KU Department of Special Education doctoral program to become experts in promoting access to the general education curriculum and college and career readiness by: 1. Providing specialization experiences (courses, internships, and mentoring) in the area of access to the general education curriculum and college and career readiness. 2. Creating, through established relationships with high-need schools, opportunities for research and implementation of existing and emerging evidence-based practices in secondary schools. 3. Offering opportunities for the development of higher education teaching competencies, including the use of emerging and online technologies in higher education and teacher preparation programs. In addition to full participation in the KU Doctoral program, KU ACCESS scholars will engage in the specialized area of scholarship, research and service focused on access to the general education curriculum and college and career readiness for secondary students with severe disabilities. This involves 3 specialization courses: (a) self-determination and positive psychology, (b) secondary inclusion and access to the general curriculum; and (c) college and career readiness and the transition to supported adulthood; as well as a cross-specialization seminar that will offer an in-depth analysis and synthesis of the key competencies. Throughout the program, scholars will be engaged in internships with high needs school partners to contextualize and inform scholarly learning and research. KU ACCESS scholars will work directly with school partners to implement evidence-based research and practices leading to increased access to the general curriculum, and improved college and career readiness for youth with severe disabilities.