Ian Danielsen, Longwood University – Programs for Students With Disabilities

 

Portrait of Ian Danielsen, Assistant Professor at Longwood University. Ian is wearing a blue button up shirt with an orange tie and a plaid blazer.

Ian Danielsen, Assistant Professor at Longwood University

Ian Danielsen, assistant professor of social work, discusses programs designed to help those with disabilities get the education they need in the Academic Minute Podcast for Inside Higher Ed.

Assistant Professor Ian Danielsen earned his Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992. He then worked for the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice for nearly ten years in an intensive treatment program for sexually reactive youths.  He then worked for almost four years as a Clinician for a private agency providing residential treatment services for sexually reactive adolescent boys in foster care.

He began serving as the Director of the Greater Richmond SCAN Children’s Advocacy Center in June of 2006. Serving also as an adjunct faculty instructor for the VCU School of Social Work from 2009 to 2016, Ian has coordinated several important projects including earning Accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance, forming new multidisciplinary child abuse teams, and engaging in statewide legislative advocacy efforts.

Ian was honored to be a 2011 recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award and a 2012 awardee of the Commonwealth of Virginia Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. He also serves on the Virginia Bar Association’s Commission on the Needs of Children. He was also named an honoree of the “Unsung Hero” award for victim advocacy in April 2020 by the Virginia Office of the Attorney General.

Ian accepted a faculty position in Longwood University’s Social Work Program in 2016.  Shortly thereafter, he joined a steering committee to form “The Longwood LIFE” Program, a post-secondary education program at Longwood for young adults who have intellectual disabilities.

Discussing Programs for Students With Disabilities

 

Transcript of the Academic Minute Podcast with Ian Danielsen

Increasingly across the U.S., colleges and universities are establishing programs for young adult students with intellectual disabilities and students on the Autism spectrum. In Virginia alone, there are at least three such post-secondary programs active in state universities, with some collaboration among them. 

While programs vary in style, structure, and cost, they are all rooted in a value system of inclusion and accessibility.  The growth of programs nationally reflects a collective recognition that the vast and deep resources of universities can be of great benefit students with intellectual disabilities, both academically and vocationally.

Colleges and universities are often seen as microcosms of larger society; they represent a training ground for students to practice skills for future independent living.  It therefore follows that if students with disabilities gain access to this setting of supported semi-independent living, then their competencies for greater independence will grow as well.

Some university programs include students with disabilities in pre-existing non-degree courses, on a sort of “audit” basis, tailoring the students’ course loads to their academic and career interests. Others provide more individualized instruction, offering courses in social skills, daily living skills, and skills for development of healthy relationships, as well as tailor-made coursework in economics, physical education, music, and theatre.

We have studied the ways in which our program has benefited students and found genuine growth in their life skills and vocational readiness. My research focus is in the benefits to other university students, faculty, staff, and parents, as we have seen time and time again that inclusion enhances and lifts the culture of the university as a whole, our mutually beneficial experiences supporting the personal and professional growth of us all.

SOURCE: https://academicminute.org/2020/07/ian-danielsen-longwood-university-programs-for-students-with-disabilities/

Access Thy Academic Center

calendar on iPad

One of my main focuses as the TOPS Academic Coordinator has been to help establish the Academic Center as an openly available resource for students who might need designated time to work on school- or work-related tasks. Over the past year, the Academic Center has moved from a tiny room to our new hub of academic success in McCampbell Hall Room 251, complete with computers, a chalkboard, and other helpful resources. We have also added evening hours for students who may have busy daytime schedules.

One of our most valuable resources available in the Academic Center is our team of volunteer tutors. This semester, with a group of 20+ tutors, there is always someone to help students with tasks such as reading textbooks, prompting ideas for papers or reflections, and getting into the habit of making sure all assignments are completed. Tutors have also helped to practice speeches, assist in making notecards for an upcoming exam, and to help recall information for a class.

There is always something that a student can work on in the Academic Center! For example:

  • Practice answering interview questions
  • Check the course syllabus to see what events/assignments are coming up
  • Review previously read chapters in the textbook to check understanding
  • Work on assignments for the SLC courses
  • Edit resume
  • Plan social events for the TOPS Social Calendar
  • Research fun and engaging community service ideas
  • Find OSU student clubs and organizations that may be of interest
  • AND, it never hurts to get ahead in schoolwork!

I highly encourage students to challenge themselves to complete some of the above activities to make sure that they use their Academic Center time productively! A student can and should take advantage of the tutoring center even if it’s not during a time when he or she is scheduled to be there. I am very proud to see that attendance in the Academic Center has become more and more consistent, which tells me that students are taking charge of their own academic success!

Still not sure when the Academic Center is open? Here is the schedule for your reference:

  • MONDAY: 10:00am – 2:30pm; 5:00pm – 8:00pm
  • TUESDAY: 10:00am – 2:30pm; 5:00pm – 8:00pm
  • WEDNESDAY: 10:00am – 2:30pm
  • THURSDAY: 10:00am – 2:30pm
  • FRIDAY: 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • WEEKEND: closed