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Two initiatives at NCCC increase attention and support for students with disabilities


Wed, Apr 12th 2023 08:55 am

A two-person team from Niagara County Community College (NCCC) has earned sponsorship to the world’s preeminent event for and advancing disability inclusion in higher education.

Professor Mark Voisinet of the college’s Business & STEM Division and Kevin Beato, NCCC’s accommodated testing and adaptive technology specialist, will participate in the 2023 Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) conference, “Equity & Excellence: Access in Higher Education.” They are one of just 20 teams nationwide to receive funding from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute for Technology to attend the conference, which will take place in Portland, Oregon, in July.

“We have accepted this grant to allow us to continue to gain more knowledge as well as build a network of colleagues nationally to assist the NCCC technology programs in building more diverse learning environments,” Voisinet said. “Being an alumnus of RIT and having been educated side-by-side with NTID students, we are hoping to foster a more inclusive approach to disabled students and, in particular, those that are hearing impaired.”

Beato also is coadviser of a club formed this month at NCCC for students with disabilities and their allies. The Wellness Club is a safe-space for disabled students and their advocates. Its goal is to create a community of belonging, awareness and acceptance.

“The Wellness Club’s launch will help our campus maintain a welcoming environment for all,” NCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Lydia Ulatowski said. “Likewise, our presence at the AHEAD conference will ensure that our college continues to respond appropriately to each student’s unique challenges.”

AHEAD is a leading professional organization committed to equity for persons with disabilities in higher education. Founded in 1977, AHEAD works to promote research, best practices and information about emerging issues related to disability in higher education. The organization’s membership now exceeds 4,000, representing all 50 states and more than 10 countries.

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