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National Coordinating Center

In October, 2010, Think College was selected as the National Coordinating Center by the Office of Postsecondary Education, US Department of Education to provide support, coordination, training and evaluation services for 27 Transition and Postsecondary Education Program (TPSID) grantees as well as other programs for students with intellectual disabilities around the country.

Currently, the 27 funded projects offer a TPSID program on 44 college or university campuses.  Some TPSID projects operate on one campus only while others operate as a consortium of institutes of higher education.  To see where  the funded projects are located click on the US Map with TPSID locations |pdf|.  To learn more about each of these projects click Contact Information and Details for all TPSID programs |pdf|or to get additional information about the college program, visit the College Search page.

Key personnel for the National Coordinating Center are Cate Weir, Project Coordinator, Debra Hart, Principal Investigator, and Meg Grigal, Co-Principal Investigator. 

National Coordinating Center Publications

>Infographic: Profile of TPSID Students (2012-13)

>National Coordinating Center Annual Report on the TPSID Projects FY2011 and FY2012

>FY11 Executive Summary Report

>FY12 Executive Summary Report
 

Key Activities of the National Coordinating Center

  • Facilitate coordination activities and support communication among TPSID projects through a cohort structure.
  • Develop and manage the TPSID Evaluation System.
  • Host an annual Project Director Meeting for TPSID directors and staff.
  • Coordinate and facilitate Special Interest Groups.
  • Develop draft accreditation standards for postsecondary education programs.
  • Develop resources to support development of meaningful student credentials in postsecondary education programs.
  • Provide training and technical assistance to TPSID and other postsecondary education programs.

For more details on these activities, please select from the tabs below.

Coordination

The NCC is responsible for overall coordination for the TPSID projects.  It has instituted several strategies to facilitate communication among the TPSID projects.  These include an annual in-person Project Director meeting, on-line Special Interest Group meetings, on-line Cohort meetings and a web-based discussion forum.   The NCC also holds quarterly on-line meetings for all TPSID staff. All on-line meetings are recorded to allow TPSID staff to access the information shared at any time following the meeting if they are unable to attend live.  These activities contribute to increased collaboration between and among the TPSID projects, as well as knowledge of promising practices.  

Evaluation

The National Coordinating Center developed and maintains a comprehensive evaluation system that collects both program level and student level data from each TPSID project. The data is analyzed and an annual report of findings is developed by the NCC evaluation team.  The full reports, as well as Executive Summaries, can be downloaded below.

Key accomplishments to date related to evaluation are:

  • Collected complete program and student data sets for Years I, II and III.
  • Conducted data analysis and used findings to produce comprehensive annual reports.
  • Used findings from data analysis to inform technical assistance for the TPSID projects.
  • Conducted focus groups during the Project Director Meeting in July, 2013 on employment, inclusive course enrollment, inclusion in the campus community, and advising to gather qualitative data on project activities.
  • Added evaluation team representatives to all cohort and Special Interest Group calls to ensure that all NCC staff had equal awareness of data and program information. 

National Coordinating Center Annual Report on the TPSID Projects: 2010 - 2012

Executive Summary 2010-2011

Executive Summary 2011-2012

 

PD Meeting

The National Coordinating Center holds a two-day Project Director meeting each year to provide opportunities for projects to share promising practices with each other and to engage other relevant speakers on matters of interest to TPSID projects.  The meetings also offer an opportunity to build relationships and collegiality among the projects.  The 2014 Project Director Meeting will be held in Sacramento, CA in July. The meeting is being held in conjunction with the Association on HIgher Education and Disability (AHEAD) conference.

For more information and to download resources shared during the 2011, 2012 and 2013 meetings, visit the Project Director Meetings page

SIG

The NCC currently coordinates seven Special Interest Groups.  These groups meet regularly, with support from NCC staff, to discuss topics of importance to their work. The SIG also may develop products to share with others who are working in PSE for students with ID.

College programs who are not TPSID are welcome to apply to participate in an existing Special Interest Group.  Contact us at thinkcollege@umb.edu to sign up for the SIG you are interested in.

The Special Interest Groups currently operating are: 

Mobile Technology for Students: This group meets to discuss how the use of handheld technologies such as iPads and mobile phones can transform how students with ID are supported on the college campus. 

Program Evaluation: TPSID project evaluators and others meet to share evaluation strategies and tools that are being used by each project to determine promising practices that result in improved student outcomes.

Employment and Partnering with Vocational Rehabilitation: This group meets to share resources on best practices in career development and employment for college students with ID, including innovative approaches to partnering with VR to support college attendance for students with ID.

Participatory Action Research: TPSID projects that are supporting students to engage in their own research projects related to inclusive PSE meet through this SIG.

Dual Enrollment Programs: A SIG for those TPSID projects that are supporting students who attend their programs while still in high school.

Building Inclusive Campus Communities: This SIG meets to discuss ways to create truly inclusive campus communities.  It has developed a definition of campus inclusion.  

Family and Support Systems Engagement: This group meets to share strategies for engaging with families and other supporters of college students with ID that offers ways to stay engaged and informed while honoring the privacy of young adults and supports their self-determination.

Accreditation

The Accreditation Workgroup (see list of members below) was established in 2012.  It has been working on the development of draft model standards that could be used to accredit college programs for students with intellectual disabilities

The group carefully analyzed and compared the draft model standards to the U.S. Department of Education accreditation regulations (http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html), the Commission on English Language Programs Accreditation (CEA) regulations (http://cea-accredit.org/about-cea/standards), the workgroup draft model accreditation standards, Think College Standards, Quality Indicators and Benchmarks (http://www.thinkcollege.net/resources-database/item/t-110/1542), and Comprehensive Transition Program ( CTP) laws and regulations  and the current CTP approval rules and process.  

Presentation on the Work of the NCC Accreditation Workgroup, November 2013

ACCREDITATION WORKGROUP MEMBERS:

Dara Baldwin, M.P.A., National Council on Independent Living
, Joanne Cashman, Ph.D., National Association of State Directors of Special Education,  Meg Grigal, Ph.D., Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston
, Dedra Hafner, Director of Cutting-Edge, Edgewood College
, Cheryl M. Jorgensen, Ph.D. Affiliate Faculty, National Center on Inclusive Education, Institute on Disability/UCEDD – University of New Hampshire; Affiliate Faculty, Education Department – University of New Hampshire; Independent Inclusive Education Consultant, William E. Kiernan, Ph.D., Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts/Boston, Mari Koerner, Ph.D., Dean, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University,  Judy L. Shanley, Ph.D., Easter Seals Transportation Group
, Stephanie Smith Lee, Chair, Consultant
, Arlene Stinson, Director of Academic Support Services, Mercer County Community College
, Jane West, Ph.D., American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Madeleine Will, Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination, 
Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity

Ex-Officio Members
: Debra Hart, M.S., Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts/Boston
, Cate Weir, M.Ed., Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts/Boston

For more information about the work of the Accreditation Workgroup please contact Stephanie Lee, workgroup chair.

Credentials

The NCC is currently developing a Student Credential guide and template that TPSIDs can use to develop or refine the meaningful credential offered to its students.  Through a survey of all the TPSID projects, information about existing credentials was collected.  This information, together with best practices in the development of higher education credentials, forms the basis for the guidance being developed by the NCC.

Presentation on Student Credentials and Program Accreditation

 

Tools & Training

The NCC provides training and develops resources to assist TPSID and other college programs with program development and operation.  Utilizing a variety of dissemination strategies, the NCC assurs sthat information related to research and promising practices in the field of postsecondary education for students with intellectual disability is reaching the widest possible audience.

Key Activities in Tools and Training are:

  • National/regional conference presentations.  NCC staff provided 76 conference presentations in FY13.
  • Think College Learn: Online learning modules on Financial Aid, For Families, Job Development, Mentoring, and Universal Design for Learning
  • On-line Publications: Think College publishes Insight Briefs that share promising practices in PSE for students with ID, as well as Stories that illustrate what college means to students with and without disability, faculty and community members, and Fast Facts, which share data related to PSE outcomes. (23 Insight Briefs, 10 TC Stories, 4 Fast Facts currently on-line) 
  • The NCC maintains a Resource Library with over 425 resources related specifically to postsecondary education for students with ID.  Materials are added as they become available.
  • Webinars – the NCC held 6 webinars in FY13.   There are 15 webinars archived on the Think College website for review at any time.
  • The www.thinkcollege.net website is a foundational tool for dissemination.  With close to 100,000 visits each year, and average monthly usage of over 8,000 unique visitors, it has a significant reach.  
  • The College Search Database currently reflects information on 221 colleges and universities in the United States that are enrolling student with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This universally designed database is used by families, students to locate program options as well as practitioners and researchers interested in conducting research on inclusive higher education.
  • Social media tools - Think College currently has over 2500 subscribers to its email distribution list, 1773 followers on Facebook, 1004 followers on Twitter and 421 subscribed to the Think College listserv.