Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Next Steps at Vanderbilt Director Tammy Day, center, with College of the North Atlantic officials Joan Pynn, left, and Karen Antle, right. Photo by Tony Maupin.

Next Steps at Vanderbilt Director Tammy Day, center, with College of the North Atlantic officials Joan Pynn, left, and Karen Antle, right. Photo by Tony Maupin.

Canadian College Officials Visit Next Steps Program

Updated on 4/13/2012 4:52:09 PM.

Canadian College Officials Visit Next Steps Program

Canadian college officials toured Vanderbilt March 26 to get a closer look at the extraordinary work being done in the Next Steps at Vanderbilt program.

Next Steps at Vanderbilt is a 2-year postsecondary certification program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities; the first six students graduated in December. Its unique self-directed program of study lets students audit university classes, practice independent living skills, work on career development skills and participate in university life. Next Steps students are paired with Vanderbilt student mentors, called Ambassadores; they get help finding internships and, ultimately, jobs in their chosen field.

It was the perfect model for visitors from the College of the North Atlantic, a 17-IHE (institute of higher education) system in Newfoundland, who hope to create a similar program there.

“They are in the process of writing a proposal to pilot one postsecondary education program for students with ID/DD like Next Steps and the UT FUTURES program, with the goal being to then add programs on their other campuses,” said Tammy Day, Next Steps director. “Karen Antle, Coordinator of Disabled Students Services, and Joan Pynn, an administrator, have been visiting several programs in the U.S., Ireland, and western Canada looking at best practices. It was an honor to share in-depth information with them about the evolution of Next Steps at Vanderbilt.”

The visitors spent the day interviewing staff and others involved about “all aspects of the Next Steps at Vanderbilt program,” said Day. “They were able to hear firsthand from students, Ambassadores, professors, internship supervisors, Next Steps staff, and Disabled Student Services.”

Such a thorough briefing also turned out to be a pleasant reminder for Day.

“At the end of the day I was in awe of the all of the people and effort that has come together to build our thriving, postsecondary education program,” she said.

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