Coalition for (Dis)Ability

As ACPA pushes Student Affairs and Higher Education forward, the Coalition for (Dis)Ability plays a pivotal role in making sure (dis)ability is at the center of consideration in those efforts. That’s our aim in bringing our members and the ACPA membership as a whole more opportunities to engage in conversations about ability and the privilege that comes along with ability. Furthermore, because ability finds itself in the cross section with so many other identities, concepts, functional areas, and professional work, the coalition is making partnership with other ACPA entities a core focus this Winter and Spring.

If you missed it, the coalition and the Commission on Career Services co-sponsored a webinar on (dis)ability and career initiatives. We invited Mike Kutnak, ADA Coordinator at Virginia Tech, and Christina Buckingham, a current Career Services Professional at SUNY-Oswego and individual with a physical disability, to discuss not only how to make professional spaces more accommodating and the processes for requesting such accommodations, but additionally to discuss how Student Affairs professionals prepare students with disabilities for professional careers in which they may need accommodations. Reviewing current legal requirements from ADA as well as good practices in career services and resources for students with disabilities seeking internships and career opportunities, the panelists gave useful information and direction to attendees to help them develop inclusive and accessible work environment as well as prepare their students for the need to request accommodations. As a note, we were deeply sorry for the technical glitches that lead to a lack of live captioning. We have shared with the International Office about the needs for live captioning. In the meantime, you can expect that we will record any engagement opportunity we provide and closed caption it after the event.

We also had a Research Roundtable with Dr. Ryan Wells. Dr. Wells is a current faculty member at University of Massachusetts-Amherst and investigates questions of college access, equity, and success for underrepresented and/or under-researched groups. Recent research includes the ways that socioeconomic status, disability, and geographic location are related to college success. Ryan is the author of a recent metasynthesis of literature related to disability in higher education. The first in our Research Roundtable series, which introduced members to a faculty member that conducts research on ability and higher education and their research as well as provided an opportunity for dialogue and questions. 

To round out 2017, in December, we will have another Research Roundtable with Dr. Annemarie Vaccaro on the 8th. Additionally, we will be debuting our Queering Ability narratives series, providing a space for queer professionals with a disability to share their stories regarding their identities and how they have shaped their work. Later in the Spring, we’re also working on a webinar regarding the Intersectionality of Ability and Race and Ethnicity, looking at the cross section of disability and communities of color.

If you have any thoughts or ideas regarding engagement opportunities you want to see, please let me know by emailing me at We’re looking to make engaging with the coalition a year-round experience and one that supports your growth and development through the NASPA/ACPA professional competencies. I look forward to developing and facilitating these opportunities for y’all.

Spencer Scruggs