December 2022

Dear Readers,

The end of a year lends itself to reflection, and the Think College National Coordinating Center (NCC) is indulging in a bit of that. We are proud of what we and our partners and colleagues have accomplished this year and wish to acknowledge the work being done to make postsecondary education a reality for more students with intellectual disability. As we embark on our 13th year as the NCC, we marvel at all we have learned, all we as a community together have done, and look forward to all that we will continue to do in the year ahead. 

- Cate Weir,

Project Manager, National Coordinating Center

Our Top 10 Hits

Below are the year’s 10 most popular activities and accomplishments identified by Think College staff. We didn't rank them because they are of equal weight in terms of importance.

Did we skip something? Let us know on one of our social media channels (see below)!

The Think College Policy Advocates (TCPA) gathered in person for the first time since COVID began. In June 2022, 10 teams of program staff and students with ID went to Washington, DC to learn about advocacy and raise awareness of postsecondary education opportunities. Read more about TCPA and how you can become one. 

This year, Think College hired 9 new staff members with unique talents, skills, and interests. New to the team (left to right) Shelby Bates, Susanna Miller-Raines, Danie Roberts-Dahm, Arin Rook, Sara Pound, Chelsea Stinnet, Caitlyn Bukaty, Irina Cain, and Mindy Lingo. Read staff bios.

In July, 100 members from Transition Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability (TPSID) and Think College staff gathered in-person for the first time since the cohort was funded in October 2020. Over the two days, we held general and concurrent sessions on data, accreditation, state and federal policy, student conduct, comprehensive postsecondary transition programs, supporting faculty, dignity of risk, and more. It was an energizing and inspiring experience! Read more.

Staff spread the word about inclusive postsecondary education in 3 podcasts in 2022. Meg Grigal and Cate Weir talked to Tim Villegas, host of the Think Inclusive podcast, in the episode Inclusive Higher Education for People with ID. Cate and Debra Hart talked with Annette Hines for a special spotlight episode of Parenting Impossible. Danie Roberts-Dahm appeared on College, Disabilities, and Success with Mickie Hayes.

IPSE Day is a day to tell the world postsecondary education is an option for students with ID. It’s a day to celebrate students with ID in college, preparing to go to college, and alumni. Check out the dozens of photos and posts on Facebook and Twitter.

Missed it? Don’t worry, IPSE Day 2023 is coming soon.

In January 2022, we hired our first intern from an inclusive college program, Rachel Adams-Duffy. Rachel was a sophomore in the Turning Point Program at Bergen Community College when she started with us—and she graduated from Turning Point in May 2022. Rachel participated in the Emerging Advocates group and wrote some great blog posts. Read Rachel’s blog posts.

Way back in 2017, the NCC created affinity groups as a place for people with common interests to gather to discuss, share, and collaborate on key issues and topics related to inclusive postsecondary education. We kicked off with 3 groups and today, we have 12!

Find the group(s) right for you at ThinkCollege.Net.

On September 1, the field of inclusive higher education was on a national stage at the College Football Hall of Fame. That evening the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) presented Think College with an award at the Big Game Ball. We were so excited to be acknowledged for the work we do to promote and support inclusive higher education by the NDSC! Read more.

This year, we increased our reach to thousands by establishing two new social media accounts. Join LinkedIn to stay informed of emerging trends, training and educational events, employment opportunities, and more. Visit our Instagram for facts, fun, upcoming events, conferences pics, and more. And don’t forget to leave comments and likes! We’ll be expanding our reach even further in 2023. Look out for an announcement in the spring. Until then, you'll just have to watch the clock go tick tock.

After 2 years of staying home and only connecting on Zoom, we found many ways to gather in person in 2022! A full-team meeting in Boston, the annual TPSID project directors meeting, a strategic planning retreat for the knowledge translation team, numerous national and regional conferences and transition fairs. Think College Policy Advocates in Washington, DC, and even a trip to Austria for the European State-Of-The-Art Congress on Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Programmes for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

January Events

Community College Affinity Group Meeting

January 12, 4-5pm ET 

This new affinity group provides an opportunity to existing and potential inclusive postsecondary education programs and partners to provide peer to peer learning and support around community colleges and inclusive postsecondary education.


Planning for College Success Now: Recommendations for IEP Teams Working with Youth with ID

January 18, 3-4pm ET

In this webinar, our presenter, Maria Paiewonsky, will discuss ways to develop and support IEP goals that align with the preparation, knowledge, and skills students need for college.


Info Session: Transition Leadership Program Certificate

January 18, 3-3:45pm ET

Attend a session to learn about the University of MA Boston Transition Leadership program, which prepares students for a transition specialist endorsement or national certificate. Staff will review the fully online 18 credit course of study, field assignments and other program features, cost, and more.


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State Alliances Affinity Group Meeting

January 19, 3-4pm ET

A space to discuss how and why statewide alliances are important, how to maintain them, and more. Those working on any type of formal or informal state-level connection, proposing systems change through alliances and consortium, and others, are welcome.


Graduate Student Affinity Group Meeting

January 25, 3:30-4:30pm ET

This meeting will focus on understanding graduate school processes including getting involved in research, dissertation work, and finding a mentor.


Research Affinity Group Meeting

January 30, 1-2pm ET

This group is designed for people who are currently involved in research in inclusive higher education or those who would like to become more involved.


Partner Organizations

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2022-2023 AUCD Children's Mental Health Champions

AUCD's National Center on Disability in Public Health continues its work with the Children's Mental Health Champions project for a third year. Building on the efforts of Champions from 2021-2022, twelve Champions were selected for 2022-2023 to continue to provide timely support for children and their families. Learn more.


AUCD Leadership Academy  

Application Deadline: March 3, 2023

The AUCD Leadership Academy is a program that lasts one year. It is designed for current and emerging leaders from the disability community. The goal is to develop and improve leadership skills. The Academy teaches people how to improve systems of support and services. These systems and services can include federal and state agencies. Learn more.

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2023 AHEAD Management Institutes

January 26-28, 2023, in San Diego, California

AHEAD’s Management Institutes offer an intimate setting, hands-on learning, networking opportunities, and experienced faculty that bring attendees back year after year. To learn more about the two-day Institute, visit the conference website.

Contact Us

For more information about

Think College newsletters, contact Sheila Johnson,

Think College

National Coordinating Center

Institute for Community Inclusion

University of Massachusetts Boston

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