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Calendar of Events

October 9,  Universal Design - How to help others embrace neurodiversity

pdf presentation - Dr. Cindi May and Dr. David Deslaces


UDL Talk

Universal design is a “smart” approach that considers the needs of all people, including those with diverse abilities, from the start. Elevators, closed captioning, text-to-speech, and automatic doors are all examples of universally designed tools. People who understand and embrace universal design create more welcoming and tolerant communities and are more effective in connecting with others. Universal design can be used anywhere – whether you are teaching a class, building a business, or coaching a sports team. In this session, we explain the basic principles of universal design, and demonstrate how to teach the value and benefits of universal design. Participants in this session will engage in an interactive exercise that encourages the application of universal design through friendly competition, and we provide empirical evidence that this exercise promotes positive attitudes about neurodiversity. Our goal is to help you apply universal design in your field and engage others in conversations about neurodiversity.

Presenter(s):
Dr. Cindi May (Psychology)
How do we optimize learning so that people really understand, retain, and apply new information? How do we create change within our educational, recreational and employment systems to improve outcomes for all?  These are some of the questions that Dr. Cindi May, a Professor in the Psychology Department at the College of Charleston, has pursued for the past 25 years. Cindi has broad interests that include curiosity, human memory, aging, emotion, and neurodiversity. These diverse interests are united by the common goal of understanding human intellectual functioning and creating more inclusive communities. Cindi is committed to excellence in undergraduate teaching, was recently named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and received the ExCEL award for HSS Faculty of the Year. She writes a teaching column for APS and is a regular contributor to Scientific American.

Dr. David Desplaces (Management and Marketing)
For nearly two decades, Dr. David Desplaces has dedicated himself to the stewardship of learning by educating entrepreneurs, executives, and future leaders with one goal in mind: unlocking the potential in each of them. He has distinguished himself through the employment of individuals by applying his expertise in the areas of international management, global commerce & trade, cultural management, leadership, change management, and entrepreneurial venturing. Dr. Desplaces’ extensive experience include starting an entrepreneurship institute, leading a separate entrepreneurial center, supporting various domestic and international entrepreneurial ventures, being as part owner in various businesses, helping launch a professional certification program, leading international cultural and professional development initiatives, and empowering his community through various leadership initiatives. He recently earned a Distinguished Service Award at the College of Charleston, received various team commendations and awards as a member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, and was honored as being elected Fellow of the CASE Association.

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October 16,  Mental Health and Intersectionality.   How do race, gender, and sexual orientation affect mental health?  

pdf presentation  - Ms. Reagan Williams

pdf presentation -   Rachael McNamara 

pdf presentation -   Dr. Clarence Spicer 

Intersectionality Talk Oct 16

   How do race, gender, and sexual orientation affect mental health?

The Intersectionality & Mental Health presentation combines a multidisciplinary approach to topics such as stereotyping, implicit bias, social identity and other over​-arching aspects of discrimination in mental health care in the United States and on our campus. This presentation will be given by Dr. Clarence Spicer, an associate professor in the department of psychology, Rachel McNamara, outreach prevention specialist at the Counseling Center, and Reagan Williams, student leader of Mental Health in Melanin. The purpose of this brown bag lunch is to inform our community of about the mental health consequences of belonging to marginalized social groups on campus and beyond.

   Presenter: Dr. Clarence Spicer (Psychology)   pdf of this presentation

Dr. C. Vincent Spicer is an Associate Professor of Psychology and an Affiliate Professor of the African American Studies program. He joined the faculty at CofC during the fall of 1999. He earned both his B. A. and M A. degrees from North Carolina Central University in Psychology and Clinical Psychology, respectively. Dr. Spicer earned his Ph. D. degree, in Social Psychology, from the University of Kentucky. His research area is stereotyping and prejudice. Courses that Dr. Spicer typically teaches are Social Psychology, The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination, Cross Cultural Psychology and Psychology In The Workplace.

   Presenter: Rachael McNamara (Counseling Center)  pdf of this presentation

Rachael McNamara has considerable experience in mental health outreach, prevention and training.  Ms. McNamara received a Master’s degree in Developmental and Clinical Psychology.  She worked for three years with Palmetto Pines as a therapist specializing in perpetrators of sexual aggression, three years in the children and adolescent program at My Sister’s House, a domestic violence shelter, and eight years as the Health Educator at the College of Charleston.  Each year she designs and coordinates comprehensive health education programs involving mental health screening days, events, approximately 60 presentations for college classes, advises a peer counseling program and internship and volunteer program for public health students, provides basic suicide prevention training, provides Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, participates actively in orientation, designs flyers, brochures and promotional materials.  In addition to maintaining the CASAS social media accounts, each semester she recruits and supervises volunteer students to design and create posts for the many different platforms. 

   Presenter: Reagan Williams (Student, Psychology and Women's and Gender Studies major; Political Science minor) 
         pdf of this presentation  - Ms. Reagan Williams

Reagan Williams is a Senior at the College majoring in Psychology and Women & Gender Studies with a minor in Political Science. Just last spring she co-founded the student organization, Mental Health in Melanin to advocate for mental health care awareness and combat collective trauma often experienced in communities of color. Reagan has worked on the executive board for the Gender & Sexuality Equity Center, the Intersectional Cougar Action Network, works as a peer educator/mentor and is a trained facilitator in Restortive Justice. She has facilitated workshops on LGBTQ+ Affirmation Therapy and is hoping to continue her studies in psychology after graduating. 

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October 23, Beyond Accessibility: The conversation with no easy or fixed answers

pdf presentation - Mr. James Ward

Beyond Accessibility Talk October 23

Universal design is the standard by which we judge the efficacy of design today. Its value in providing a more solid basis for mutual care as well as independence for everyone in the community is self-evident. Certainly, most people will find this approach useful for at least a portion of their lives as we all face at least temporary disabilities. A major issue, however, with any kind of design, especially newer concepts is maintaining it over time. In the parlance of preservation professionals, “Preservation is maintenance”. 

In this session, I will discuss the elements of universal design and how we are supposed to be meeting the challenges. I will then provide maps for the main part of the campus and ask people to record where they perceive there to be problems in actually using what is in place and how they might envision a solution. I will certainly be able to spark the discussion with examples of my own experience here if necessary, but the value in this session is in getting everyone to notice how obstacles for utilization might impede getting around and trying to crowdsource possible solutions. Our goal is to provide a model for involving people in the care of their public space and to give constructive feedback to those who are charged with the responsibility as well as helping one another build a better community.

   Presenter: James Ward (Preservation and Planning)

   James Ward has been teaching full time in preservation at the College since 2002 and is currently a Senior Instructor in Historic
   Preservation and Community Planning. His background is as a conservationist, landscape architect, gardener, craftsman, and
   caregiver - for his wife who was diagnosed with MS in 1984. As pertains to the college, he was involved in the development of
   the campus in the 1970s and 1980s as a consultant at the same time his wife worked in student activities and teaching here. 

   Highlights of his career include working as the landscape architect for the government of Bermuda, winning planning and design
   awards for work here on the Charleston area including the Visitors Center, Aquarium, hotel, and multi-family development.
   He continues to be involved in all aspects of professional work and teaching here at the College. 

   His orientation is a humanist turned professional. He works with the details of a universal design but is also concerned with how
   design affects our ability to come together as a community and forge new understandings and meanings. A cultural landscape
   such as the City of Charleston brings its own special challenges. We strive to preserve our built heritage as we continue to
   make it serviceable to the demands of new times and to create a truly livable, democratic society for everyone.

   On a personal note, he has been involved in the long-term issues surrounding his wife and feels that as a society we must radically
   alter how we deal with these issues. Keeping these people independent is important for that individual, for the caregivers, and for
   the larger society, notwithstanding the sentimental, or even the cost, issues. It definitely goes beyond the commonly assumed
   fall back position of "keeping them at home". The physical design of spaces and social support network facilitated by that design
   can make all the difference to the overall health of those individuals and the larger society.

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October 28, Building an Inclusive Workforce:
Demystifying Employment for People with Disabilities

pdf presentation - Dr. Laura Owens

Workplace inclusion

Building an Inclusive Workforce: Demystifying Employment for People with Disabilities

Businesses need employees with the ability to adapt to different situations and environments and individuals with disabilities, more than any other group, have to be       resourceful to get through daily situations. In the workplace, individuals with disabilities can bring this innovative thinking, unique ideas and varied approaches to   working through business issues that lead to business success. Research shows that customers support businesses that employ individuals with disabilities and that it is   a “win-win” for everyone. However, while we know that hiring individuals with disabilities is good for business, not all employers know how to effectively recruit, retain,   and advance individuals with disabilities. This presentation will provide strategies and examples of successful (and creative) employment strategies by business as they   build an inclusive workforce.

Presenter:  Laura Owens, Ph.D., CESP

Laura, the President of TransCen, has over 30 years of experience, with a strong background as a national leader in the disability employment field. Laura is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Exceptional Education Department where she teaches courses focusing on high school inclusion and transition from school to work. She is also the founder and President of Creative Employment Opportunities, Inc. (CEO), in Milwaukee, which she founded in 1991. Prior to joining TransCen, Laura served as the Executive Director of APSE (the Association of People Supporting Employment First), a national organization focusing on the advancement of integrated employment for citizens with disabilities. She is an internationally known speaker having presented to businesses, organizations, schools, and at conferences in Ireland, Croatia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Chile, and Portugal.

A woman with seemingly limitless energy, Laura is passionate about her work and loves helping individuals with disabilities obtain and maintain employment. Working with individuals with disabilities is what she enjoys the most-and then she eager to support others in learning how to help individuals with disabilities pursue their dreams - from teachers to employment consultants to employers.