Taishoff Center to Host State of the Art Conference, Exploring the Next Frontier of Inclusive Higher Education

The Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education—part of the Syracuse University School of Education Center on Disability and Inclusion—will host the State of the Art (SOTA) Conference on Inclusive Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disability at Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel, Oct. 18-20, 2022.

A national conference—chaired by Taishoff Center Director Beth Myers—SOTA convenes colleges, universities, researchers, program staff, parents, and self-advocates to discuss the current state of research and effective practices in the field of inclusive postsecondary and higher education.

The theme of this year’s conference is “A Decade of Progress at State of the Art: Exploring the Next Frontier of Inclusive Higher Education.” Speakers include faculty and staff from postsecondary education initiatives across the United States—including many representing Syracuse University and the School of Education—as well as parents, advocates, and other experts.

This year’s pre-conference event—on October 18 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Sheraton Hotel Syracuse Ballroom—promises to be the largest Inclusive College Fair in the United States. Attendees are invited to learn about post-secondary options from representatives of more than 30 colleges, universities, and inclusive organizations. Registration for the Inclusive College Fair is free and open to the public.

In parallel with the SOTA Conference and Inclusive College Fair, the Student Leadership Conference (October 19-20) will bring current and future college students into the conversation to learn useful tools for the transition to college life, expand their skills as student advocates and leaders, and meet peers from across the country. Among its topics, the leadership conference will discuss academic skills, advocacy, wellness, and employment.

The Keynote Address opens the SOTA Conference at 8:30 a.m. on October 19. Giving the welcome will be Valerie C. Williams, Director of the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs. In this role, Williams is responsible for overseeing administration of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and authorizing IDEA grants.

The State of the Art Leadership Awards will be conferred on October 20, starting at 8:30 a.m. in the Sheraton Ballroom. Myers, responsible for the growth of Syracuse University’s InclusiveU into the largest inclusive campus in the country, will receive the 2022 National Leadership Award.

Receiving the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award is Madeleine Will, who served as Assistant Secretary of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services in the US Department of Education for six years and was Chairperson of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities for four years.

In addition to her public service, Will has advocated for persons with disabilities for several decades, leading national efforts to improve services for children and adults with disabilities and establishing national programs for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families; transition and supported employment programs for youth with disabilities; and postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual disabilities.

Sponsors of the 2022 SOTA Conference are the School of Education Center on Disability and Inclusion; The Arc; Association of University Centers on Disabilities; Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts-Boston (Think College); Mason LIFE Program at George Mason University; National Down Syndrome Congress; National Down Syndrome Society; Ruby’s Rainbow; and Think College Inclusive Higher Education Network.