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LHU, others receive $2.38 million grant

LOCK HAVEN — Lock Haven University, along with four other Pennsylvania universities, recently has been awarded a grant through the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID). The $2.38 million grant will help to change lives, create learning opportunities and promote the value of full inclusion for all community members.

Taking the lead and facilitating the initiative at LHU is Dr. Erica Moore, associate professor and chair of the Department of Special Education.

“As a long-standing member of the local community and strong advocate for inclusive opportunities, I am thrilled to be collaborating with the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium (PIHEC) and leading the initiative of creating a certificate program for young adults with an intellectual disability on the campus at LHU,” Moore said. “The grant funds will open doors in our area to collaborate with PK-12 schools in order to promote transition planning and provide opportunities for a high quality, inclusive post-secondary college experience. It’s certainly an exciting journey that will make a huge impact in highlighting the value of full inclusion through expansive learning opportunities.”

The grant, awarded to Millersville University as the lead institution, is in collaboration with Lock Haven, Duquesne, Gwynedd Mercy and Temple Universities. Additionally, Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities will serve as research coordinator. This significant collaboration was organized by the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium (PIHEC).

The grant will pay for sustaining five model initiatives and the development of new initiatives throughout the Commonwealth. PIHEC is dedicated to the mission of inclusive postsecondary education for young adults with intellectual disabilities, a movement that began in the U.S. in the ’70s and has evolved toward robust authentic college experiences only in recent decades. As educational policy and practice have begun to reflect the essential right to equal opportunities for students with disabilities, so too have expectations increased for participation of students with intellectual disability in higher education.

The overarching vision of the initiative is to design and support inclusive postsecondary learning within a higher education environment and allow students with intellectual disability to experience the myriad benefits of an authentic college experience.

“The ongoing global discourse on how humanity can embrace diversity in all its forms and take meaningful action to abolish ‘otherness’ is brought front and center in this wonderful initiative,” said Dr. Ron Darbeau, provost and vice president for academic affairs at LHU. “Lock Haven University is proud to be part of expanding the reach of this program and to moving the needle in building better understanding and appreciation of differences, while simultaneously providing ladders of opportunity to an often overlooked and underserved, yet vital segment of our community.”

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