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President’s Message

Welcome to the CAPED Website!

February, 2017

The California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED) is the preeminent association advocating for and with students with disabilities in postsecondary education. CAPED has its origins in the dreams of its pioneers in 1974 who envisioned educational opportunities for college students with disabilities that were commensurate with their talents, abilities, and aspirations. Subsequent to its incorporation in 1975, the Association quickly established itself as the go-to body for advocacy and support of its students. Embracing the goal of equal access for all students, CAPED has become a close-knit professional affiliation of dedicated faculty, support staff, community agencies, administrators and students from colleges and universities. Relying upon the dedication, proficiency, and enthusiasm of its membership, CAPED provides vision, expertise, and advocacy in response to the wishes of its members and the needs of its students.

Our Annual Convention provides an array of face to face professional development opportunities and alternates between the North and South regions to reach the entire membership. Conference sessions include lessons derived from practitioners in the field and special keynote speakers who inform participants of legislative changes and other relevant topics. Additionally, CAPED Interest Groups (CIGS) offer topic-specific webinars and face to face workshops throughout the year to support members’ interests and needs.

Although state funding is stable at this time, there have been many changes impacting post secondary programs for students with disabilities. At the community colleges we are working with recent updates to Title 5 in California Education Code. For all post secondary institutions we are including the refreshed Americans with Disabilities Act in our practices. Likewise, all postsecondary institutions are working feverishly to make sure all technology is accessible, including our websites and online classes.

My goals for CAPED are driven by the interests of our membership and what I see as growing needs in the field. Educating our newest professionals in the field of disabilities is first and foremost. Retirements of experienced disability professionals, at post secondary institutions, in the State, and in Legislature are increasing rapidly. CAPED is in a perfect position to assist with educating the incoming “newbies.” Our CAPED Mentorship Program, which was recently funded by the State Chancellor’s Office, is one answer to supporting new disability service directors in the community colleges. Likewise, our annual participation in the Faculty Association for California Community Colleges Lobby Day in March is always our opportunity to reach out to legislators and update and educate them. Another goal is to address accessible technology in our postsecondary systems. CAPED is working on developing a cross systems whitepaper to address accessible technology and participates in several state task groups to that end. Of course we are continuing to work on building a more robust website for ourselves and to ensure that it is fully accessible.

On a personal note, I am the coordinator/counselor for Disability Services and Programs for Students at Sacramento City College. I have been developing and managing programs for community college students with disabilities for more than 30 years, both here in California and in the state of Washington. I worked for the state Chancellor’s Office in California for a brief time in the areas of CalWORKs job placement, Transfer and Articulation and research. Prior to working for the State I contracted with the Chancellor’s Office to conduct DSPS program reviews throughout California. Yep-one of those “old timers.”

I have been to over 60 of our 113 community colleges. My passion has always been program development for community college students with disabilities. At SCC we have the College to Career program, the WorkAbility III and a few “niche” programs, such as a “coach” program developed to support our students on the autism spectrum but which has grown to assist students with a variety of disabilities who have a common need –to learn how to be a successful college student. We also have a counselor assigned just to probation and dismissal students. And true to my other interest (jobs and employment for people with disabilities-I was the statewide coordinator for WorkAbility III for many years and president of the California Placement Association) we have a Sacramento Employment and Training Agency job developer located in our DSPS office and a Department of Rehabilitation counselor located in our office. Truly, I know from my travels to the 60 plus colleges that each campus has unique programs supporting their students with disabilities. It is through the many campus visits that I have seen the “diamonds” and know that we can be creative in our approaches to disability services. SCC is no more unique than any other campus. The beauty of CAPED is that we have a vehicle to share our bright ideas and specialized programs!

I am honored to be the CAPED president for the next two years. I am but one in a long string of dedicated professionals who have taken on this role over the past decades. CAPED is strong because of its membership. Our members are our leaders. The job of president is made easier by the involvement of the past presidents and all the members who step up to take part in the Officers Board as CIG chairs, membership chairs, convention chairs and so forth. It is truly an engaged membership that leads the way successful students!

Gwyneth Tracy, Ed.D.