Enhancing Success: History
Northern Illinois University has a long history of commitment to and concern about meeting the needs of students with disabilities. As a result of this commitment, Northern Illinois University over the years has been awarded numerous grants pertaining to students with disabilities. In August 2001 the State of Illinois Committee on Access and Diversity submitted to the Illinois Board of Higher Education a highly significant report, Gateway to Success: Rethinking Access and Diversity for a New Century.
This report described the changing demographics of students with disabilities in higher education. According to the American Council on Education, in 1978 less than three percent of freshmen reported that they had one or more disabilities while 20 years later in 1998 there were nine percent. The Gateway to Success report identified students with disabilities as a population with lower retention and graduation rates as compared to non-disabled students and challenged Illinois colleges and universities to create innovative ways to identify the reasons and create strategies that would address these needs. The project “Enhancing Success for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education” was in direct response to these needs.
In response, the Illinois Board of Higher Education under the Higher Education Cooperative Act (HECA) awarded NIU a three-year renewable grant to Northern Illinois University to identify and enhance faculty, administration, and supportive professional staff awareness and knowledge about disabilities and legal mandates, willingness, and actual provision of accommodations, and/or development and dissemination of policies and procedures germane to students with disabilities. NIU had three partners in this project (Sauk Valley Community College, Southern Illinois University, and University of Illinois) who each brought a unique focus. SVCC is an open admissions college in a rural setting; SIU has a comprehensive LD Progam, and UI-Champaign is the flagship institution in the state of Illinois with over 700 students with disabilities. We all agreed to use the first year for purposes of a self-study, the second year to develop strategies in response to identified needs, and the third year to determine how well the needs were met.
From left to right, Nianwu E., Project Statistician; Susan Vogel, Project Director; and Amy Bauer, Project Coordinator
Last revised on 11/10/2004
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