SSC holds disability awareness in education conference

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Seminole State College’s Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions grant program hosted the Disability Awareness in Education Conference on April 15.

The Conference opened with a breakfast provided by Seminole Nation in the Boren Library. Following breakfast, Brenda Hoefar the Interim Director of the Oklahoma Office of Disability Concerns, took to the Jeff Johnston Fine Arts Center stage to deliver the keynote address on the Americans with Disabilities Act and supporting individuals with disabilities in higher education.

Hoefar has worked for the Office of Disability Concerns for five years. With a bachelor’s degree in education, Hoefar spent 14 years as a Damage Prevention Manager for Okie 811.

Following the keynote address, breakout sessions were held covering a range of topics, including accessibility, methods to remove barriers in learning, assistive technology to help with students who face reading difficulties.

The Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) Grant is a five-year grant funded by the Department of Education. During one year, SSC NASNTI will strengthen the support for online students with disabilities by training faculty and staff in best practices, implementing new assistive devices and technology, and redesigning foundational courses to ensure they best support online students with disabilities. In addition, the establishment of an Access Lab on campus will provide flexible access to computers equipped with assistive devices and software for students with disabilities.

The SSC NASNTI Program will revitalize and expand its Computer Science Program to bring it up to date with industry standards while adding options in Security, Programming, and Esports. Entitled, Innovative Improvements, the five-year program will also initiate upgrades in IT infrastructure and establish necessary equipment in lap spaces to support updated and specialized computer science instruction. In addition, seminars (face-to-face), videos/modules (online), and talking circles will focus on and address academic success skills, technology skills, civic/professional skills, cultural awareness, and wellbeing/resilience.

Throughout the five years, the program will also develop and pilot new services, resources, and opportunities to promote holistic student development that will support students in persisting through college and prepare them for their next steps in higher education and in their careers.

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