Another successful year at State of the Art! 

Keeping the field informed by sharing our research

Each fall, several hundred participants come together for the State of the Art (SOTA) Conference at Syracuse University to learn about the current state of research and practice in the inclusive higher education (IHE) field, and to network with each other. This year’s theme was Inclusive Higher Education: Disability, Equity, and Social Justice. And, for the 5th year, the Student Leadership Conference was held concurrently. Students from around the country are invited to attend to network, share stories, and learn about advocacy, leadership, and more. 

Here are a few highlights from the conference:

The opening Keynote session was a panel of four current or former college students with disabilities talking about the importance of diversity and inclusion: Antonio Contreras, Reilly McCluskey, Majolyn Nunez (a Think College Policy Advocate), and Cleo Hamilton. This discussion was moderated by Rebecca Cokley from the Ford Foundation. 

More than 30 inclusive college programs had virtual displays at the SOTA College Fair! Colleges and universities from around the US shared information about their college and how to apply. 

The second day of the conference started with the Awards Ceremony. Think College congratulates all award winners, including Liz Getzel from VCU who won the Institute of Higher Education Leadership Award and Antonio Contreras and Nick Harmon who each won the Laura Lee Student Leadership Award. Last but not least, we are thrilled to share that Think College program coordinator, Cate Weir, won the George Jesien National Leadership Award. We are honored to have Cate working with us and so proud others recognize her achievements. Cate is truly a wonderful advocate for postsecondary education for students with intellectual disability.

On to the presentations!

Meg Grigal, Debra Hart, Clare Papay, Maria Paiewonsky, and Ty Hanson, as well as our partners Martha Mock, Denise Rozell, and Stephanie Smith Lee, presented on a range of topics at State of the Art. That's no surprise since Think College has its finger on the pulse of IHE activity.

Presentations by Meg Grigal and Clare Papay explored questions about academics, transition, and data trends:

What’s going on at the state and federal level regarding disability policy? Denise Rozell and Stephanie Smith Lee's plenary address can be found here.

Find out what the Accreditation Workgroup has been doing, and what’s next, in this plenary presentation by Debra Hart, Martha Mock, and Stephanie Smith Lee

What type of professional development is being conducted to promote college-based transition services? Get answers from the presentation by Maria Paiewonsky and Ty Hanson.

While we all desperately wish this year’s conference could have been held in person, this year’s State of the Art conference still featured the same wide array of high-quality presentations as in years past, an excellent opportunity for students to participate with the Student Leadership Conference, and the positive feelings of connecting with others in the field as it always does. We can't wait for next year!