The President’s Council on Disability meets monthly. Below are updates from our recent meeting.
On Feb. 12, 2018, the Administrative Council approved updates to the existing Service Animal Policy (Op5.05-7), and implementation of an Emotional Support Animal Policy (Op5.05-8). The university acknowledges the importance of emotional support animals in providing specific services directly related to individuals’ disabilities, and emotional support animals as a reasonable accommodation to residents with disabilities when appropriate. The revised and new policy better outline the university’s commitment to providing an accessible and supportive environment. You may review the policies in their entirety by visiting the university policy library.
Justin Lozano, the director of the university’s own Disability Resource Center, has been selected as the vice president for the Missouri chapter of the Association for Higher Education and Disability (MO AHEAD)! MO AHEAD is a statewide organization focused on strengthening the professionalism, expertise and competency of those working with students with disabilities at institutions of higher education across the state of Missouri.
Bear Power program
The university is launching Bear Power (Promoting Opportunities for Work, Education and Resilience)! Bear Power is a two year, five-semester inclusive college program for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The program that was created to offer a post-secondary education opportunity to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities transitioning out of high school. For program and application information, please visit the Bear Power website. To inquire about becoming a Bear Blazer student volunteer, or to order Bear Power T-shirts, visit the Bear Power blog. Watch for Bear Power Billboards around Springfield at these locations: Sunshine/U.S. 65, Chestnut/Glenstone, Battlefield/Lone Pine, U.S. 65/Division, and Kansas Expressway/Battlefield!
In alignment with the five major areas recently announced by President Smart tied to affordability, the MSU Affordable and Accessible Textbook workgroup, in collaboration with the bookstore, has generated a number of new and innovative options for students. Our primary focus has been working with major publishers and companies that are producing electronic materials which follow the latest guidelines tied to accessibility. Every college has participated in this initiative and students in our large section classes have already enjoyed the benefits of more affordable and accessible textbooks. Three members of the workgroup will be attending a meeting of chief academic officers in Columbia on March 8 to learn more about other efforts underway, with a specific focus on open access resources that are now readily available for use by students on many college campuses.