Ball State Receives Federal Grant
The United States Department of Education has awarded a three-year $437,000 grant for Ensuring a Quality Education for Indiana's Students with Disabilities. The four faculty and staff members awarded the grant are Dr. Taiping Ho (Criminal Justice and Criminology), Dr. Roger Wessel (Education Studies) Dr. Jackie Harris (Learning Center) and Larry Markle (Disabled Student Development). Four initiatives will be expanded upon in order to further Ball State's commitment to a quality education for students with disabilities. These initiatives include the Faculty Mentorship Program, faculty/staff training series, tutoring, and outreach to high schools.
Taiping Ho will coordinate the Faculty Mentorship Program (FMP) for students with disabilities. The purpose of the FMP is to connect new students with disabilities at Ball State with a faculty member in the student's prospective major or area of interest. This one-on-one involvement with faculty members gives students a sense of belonging to the university community and a better understanding of the academic expectations of students at the university. Students who participated in the FMP earned higher grade point averages than those who chose not to participate, and the overall retention of students involved in the program was much higher. Dr. Ho stated, "The success of the Faculty Mentorship Program for students with disabilities is derived from those 42 faculty members from 38 academic departments who voluntarily serve as the faculty mentors for freshman students with disabilities."
In addition to the student benefits, faculty who participated benefit from being involved in several workshops and meetings that allow them to broaden their knowledge and understanding of disability-related issues, and thus, better serve students with disabilities in the classroom. In an attempt to expand on this training, Roger Wessel will facilitate an educational series for the campus faculty and staff in order to gain knowledge as to providing the best practices and current issues in teaching students with disabilities. "One of the unique things about this grant is the interdisciplinary nature of the project. Working with partners from four different academic and administrative departments has been enjoyable," stated Dr. Wessel.
Jackie Harris will lead the Learning Center's efforts at providing additional tutoring and study strategies assistance. Dr. Harris is looking forward to expanding the program through the grant and added, "I'm very impressed with the collaborations between Academic Affairs/Student Affairs, faculty/students, faculty/professional staff members. I look forward to extending the services to Indiana high school students and additional faculty members."
Larry Markle will conduct outreach to secondary schools in Indiana on the transition to college for students with disabilities. The high school to college transition is a difficult one for all students, but it can be especially difficult for students with disabilities. There are several important differences between high school disability services and college disability services. Additionally, materials on transitional issues for students with disabilities as they matriculate from high school to college will be distributed to every high school in Indiana.
While DSD is at the center of an integrated campus approach that facilitates access for students with disabilities, Ball State's success in serving students with disabilities is the result of a campus-wide commitment by faculty, staff, and administrators to academic and personal achievement for students with disabilities. This grant will enhance the services provided to students with disabilities and Ball State University's reputation as a leader in serving students with disabilities.
Ball State Grad Wins Social Work Award
Teri Whitaker ('08) received the 2008 Bachelor Social Work (BSW) Student of the Year Award sponsored by the National Association of Social Workers. This award is presented to student members who exemplify the best of the profession's values and achievements.
Teri originally majored in Social Work to become a counselor. Her focus in Social Work changed when Judi Egbert, Teri's Social Work professor, asked her to participate in a discussion panel about living with a disability. Teri stated, "I always hated public speaking but I said yes because, to be honest, I admired Judi and wanted to impress her. I can't describe what changed inside me that day but it was like flipping on a light switch. I remember the hairs on my arm standing up at the feeling of empowerment that came as I talked. After that I was hooked! I changed my focus to advocacy and policy."
Teri described her experience being a Social Work major as, "one of constant stretching and growth." She initially believed the major was going to be effortless and was surprised to find assignments challenging. Teri expressed her practicum with United Senior Action (USA), an advocacy organization for older adults, as the most significant experience during her college career. Teri remembered feeling panicked the first time her supervisor gave her an assignment with no instruction. However, she discovered in the end this supervisory style allowed her confidence to grow. She added, "It was my work with the USA that won me the title of BSW Student of the Year."
When asked what this award meant to her, Teri replied, "This award will go down in the history of my life as one of my most profound experiences. It brought tears to my eyes remembering the doctors' grim reports, the battles my parents fought to get me into public school, the systemic barriers of social welfare programs and the social barriers." This award caused Teri to realize that the challenges she faced were just "building blocks to great things."
Currently, Teri is working as an Independent Living Advocate for the Indianapolis Resource Center for Independent Living. She aids those living with a disability in developing a plan to live more independently. She stated, "It's extremely rewarding work." In the future Teri plans to get more involved in local policy making. Teri believes that, "The ADA was passed but there's still much work to be done before we reach our goal of an equitable society… and many battles to fight. In the future expect to see me on that battleground." Teri concluded by providing her favorite quote by Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
DSD Welcomes New Associate Director
Several changes occurred at DSD this summer. In August, Aggie Niemiec took the position of Director of Disability Services at Illinois Institute of Technology. The position of Associate Director was filled by Megan Estelle, a former Graduate Assistant of DSD. Megan's job responsibilities are divided into three main areas: support services for students with disabilities, programs/publications, and assisting with administrative functions.
Megan received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Anderson University and a graduate degree in Student Affairs Administration from Ball State University. Prior to DSD, she worked for three years in Residence Life at Asbury College in Kentucky.
Megan's real passion is "living life along side college students" and "helping them become who they want to be." The position as DSD's Associate Director allows her to do just that, making her very happy. When asked what she enjoys most about working in the DSD office, Megan said, "Of course, I love the people I work with, but also, I enjoy having a lot of autonomy to do things how I see fit as well as being pushed to develop professionally." She added, "I enjoy how each student, situation, or challenge has its own unique circumstances that must be considered and in order to solve the problem. It is all about the context in this line of work."
Megan and her husband Chris recently purchased a home in Pendleton and are new "parents" to a five month old golden retriever puppy, Tucker. Eventually Megan plans to return to her roots and pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology but right now her focus is on learning how to be the best Associate Director of Disabled Student Development that she can be.
New Adaptive PE Coordinator at Ball State
It has been over twenty years since Ron Davis implemented the Adaptive Physical Education program at Ball State in 1987. Students who are unable to participate in a physical education class have the chance to be involved at an adapted level appropriate to their needs. With the developments that Ron was able to accomplish during his time at Ball State, it caused a significant void when he retired in 2006. After a year and a half of Ball State not filling the role, we are happy to welcome Tammy Burt as the new Adaptive Physical Education instructor.
Tammy Burt received a Ph.D. in Adapted Physical Education/Pedagogy/Research from The Ohio State University. Prior to coming to Ball State she taught in both public and private schools and coached a variety of sports: basketball, track & field, soccer, and Special Olympics. She has also been involved in non-profit organizations such as the Adapted Adventure Sports Coalition (TAASC) where she served as board member and program leader.
Tammy chose Ball State because of its long history and good reputation in the field of adapted physical education/activity. Referring to her experience at Ball State she expressed, "I've enjoyed meeting new students and I feel that my colleagues are very supportive of my professional efforts. It's also very exciting to be working for a university with a football team in the national spotlight."
Tammy plans to establish a series of bicycle camps at Ball State for children with disabilities who would like to learn how to ride
conventional bicycles. She would also like to expand on the current on campus practicum experiences for undergraduate students. She added, "I envision inviting more individuals with disabilities from the campus and surrounding communities to participate in a variety of programs such as swimming, rock-climbing, and weightlifting." Eventually, she would like to offer a graduate program available in APE/A studies.
Ball State's Kristen Stamp Wins National Scholarship
Kristen Stamp, a junior Speech Pathology major at Ball State was the winner of the 2008 scholarship contest sponsored by 1800Wheelchair.com. The scholarship was based upon essay submissions and students were asked to give advice on how to accomplish the goal of inclusion for students with disabilities.
Kristen wrote about the amplified challenges that face students with disabilities. She wrote, "This is why we need to have inclusion programs at all different levels of education." Kristen suggested that in order to increase a students' independence, secondary and postsecondary schools need to have access to a variety of services that students can choose from in order to succeed on their own. Kristen has particularly enjoyed being given the opportunity to select what services she may benefit from. She finds that this is especially important in developing students' independence during secondary education. She added that it is also vital for schools to be physically accessible, allowing students to function autonomously. Kristen concluded by stating, "Nobody wants to be left out." Congratulations again to Kristen!
Bush Scholarship Winners
DSD acknowledges and congratulates the Summer 2008 inaugural recipients of the Myrna Jean Bush scholarship.The late Ms. Bush endowed funds to support students with visual impairments enrolled at Ball State. Ms. Bush was a 1928 graduate of Ball State and a former elementary school teacher in Muncie and LaPorte for many years. She was a longtime advocate for the Indiana Association for the Blind.
Recipients of the award were selected based on a combination of their academic achievement and campus /community involvement.
Jackie Pflug to Speak on Campus
March is Indiana Disability Awareness Month during which DSD, along with Disabled Students In Action (DSIA) and a number of other campus organizations, will host a selection of events. Mark your calendars for the month's keynote presentation, "The Courage to Succeed" given by Jackie Pflug.
She survived the 1985 EgyptAir Flight 648 airline hijacking and was left with a traumatic brain injury, impaired vision, and loss of her short term memory. She now shares her story and spreads a message of hope and encouragement to audiences around the world. The Courage to Succeed: Thursday March 19th at 7:30pm Pruis Hall. All other event dates and times will be announced in the near future.
New Student Profile: Meet Donelle Henderlong
Donelle Henderlong is a first-year student at Ball State majoring in English Education with minors in Creative Writing and Interpersonal Relationships. After graduation she plans to work on a masters degree and teach literature, creative writing, and interpersonal relationships courses at the middle and high school level.
Donelle grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana, and decided to attend Ball State because of the positive reputation of the education program. During a campus visit she felt that the campus was easily wheelchair accessible. She stated, "Everyone on campus is very friendly and always willing to open doors."
Donelle took 13 credits her first semester in order to slowly transition to college life and living on her own. She expressed that even though the independence is great, she still misses her family and best friends back home. Her favorite aspect of Ball State is the diversity of students and faculty. Donelle participates in the Faculty Mentorship Program with Roger Wessel serving as her mentor. She is extremely happy with the program and feels lucky to get a helpful mentor in the Education Department. Dr. Wessel stated, "Ball State was fortunate to get Donelle as a new student this past fall. She is inquisitive, resourceful, and a determined individual who is driven by her desire to excel. I have enjoyed getting to know her through the Faculty Mentorship Program."
Donelle's college goals are to become more involved in different activities available to students. Prior to attending Ball State, she was very involved in community work through her church. She is considering becoming a Resident Assistant in the future. During her free time Donelle enjoys meeting new people, spending time with friends, as well as watching movies, listening to music, and shopping. Donelle applied to MTV's True Life "I'm a College Freshman" and got as far as the interview process. Even though she was not chosen as the final candidate she believes that is probably for the best as her first semester as a college student has been eventful enough.
DSD Sponsors Need for Captioning PSAs
DSD sponsored two of Tim Pollards' Telecommunications 434 courses this semester in creating two public service announcements (PSAs) on the need for captioning in the media. The students worked together in groups to develop a thirty second PSA based on a script that students in Barry Umansky's Telecommunications 680 course created the previous semester. Additionally, the students produced a second PSA in which they developed both the script and the PSA.
Staff at DSD judged the twenty PSAs that where created and selected the top two. Professor Umansky will submit the two PSAs to the National Association of Broadcasters for local television stations to use. The two PSAs can be viewed on DSD's website.
Disabled Students in Action Update
Newly elected DSIA officers Shaetonna Jackson and Jenny Vetor have coordinated a variety of programs for this fall. Their focus has been on creating a social network for students, providing educational programs responding to disability related needs/issues, and opportunities for students with disabilities to serve the larger community. HIRE-ability, is one such program to highlight. This workshop was designed to educate students on the job search process as well as how and when to disclose a disability to an employer. The program was well-received and timely in October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
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