New Opportunities via The Network

Hi there, Danie here!

I am the project coordinator for Think College’s newest project, the Inclusive Higher Education Network, also referred to as “The TC Network.” Before I tell you more about The TC Network, I want to convey how excited I am to be joining the Think College team. I have been a huge fan and consumer of all the information and support that the Think College projects have provided over the years. If you read Rebecca’s Lazo’s blog post about “celebrities,” then you know how I feel about joining and working under the leadership of such amazing and passionate people.

As an inclusive postsecondary education program director and technical assistance provider for over a decade, I have spent years scouring the Think College website, utilizing their resources and attending their events to support program development and enhancement at my own university as well as throughout Florida and the southeast. Some of my favorite resources are the Think College NCC Learning Channel, the Resources By Topic section of the website, and all of the amazing Publications, especially the Fast Facts and Grab and Go Practices.

While I’m talking about my favorite things: I love fashion, the beach, my family, road trips, and reading (thought I can’t seem to finish a book lately). My family and I live in sunny Florida near the water.

Early in my career I was part of a team that started an inclusive postsecondary education program on the heels of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act reauthorization. Over the years, I worked in various capacities both directly with students with intellectual disability as well as in program development and administration  I also engage with inclusive postsecondary program colleagues throughout the southeast as a founding member and vice-chair of research for the Southeast Postsecondary Education Alliance (SEPSEA). For over a decade, I have worked to build capacity and facilitate a positive secondary transition experience and inclusive college opportunities for students with disabilities. 

Ok, more about the new Think College Inclusive Higher Education Network. The Network will expand the existing work of Think College’s National Coordinating Center for all colleges and universities across the US. As the coordinator for this new project, I am excited to have the opportunity to use my creativity and experience to get things going. There is so much to look forward to, including:

  • a new, nationwide public awareness campaign which will encourage people to have increased expectations for people with intellectual disability;
  • build the capacity of inclusive higher education for new, emerging, or expanding programs;
  • the development of research-based training and a regional infrastructure offering localized technical assistance and support to inclusive postsecondary education program staff, families, students, and transition professionals. What does that mean to you? More localized and customizable resources and support! For more details, please visit the announcement on The Network and check back often as we continue to expand our website.

So, what have I been working on in the first couple of weeks on the job? In addition to recruiting, our team is diligently working to develop and expand The Network’s website and web presence. In addition, we are engaging with our partners to gear up several collaborative projects, such as regional alliance development and collaborative workgroups focused on expanding employment partnerships and career and technical education (CTE) opportunities for students with intellectual disability.

If you are here reading this blog, then like me, you must really care about inclusive postsecondary education. Thank you for being a part of the inclusive postsecondary education community! I hope you will share some insights that can help our team as we ramp up the Inclusive Higher Education Network’s work. How can the Think College Inclusive Higher Education Network help you?  What are your needs? Our team would love to incorporate your feedback and ideas!

About the post author: Danie is the project coordinator of the Think College Inclusive Higher Education Network Project. She leads project implementation in the areas of transition and postsecondary education research, regional partnership development, public awareness, training and technical assistance, and dissemination. Prior to Think College, Danie served in various leadership roles at an inclusive postsecondary program and a state technical assistance project focused on the secondary transition of students with disabilities in Florida.

Inclusive Higher Education Network