College Access Project for Rural Alaska (CAPRA)
This collaborative project of University of Alaska Anchorage’s Center for Human Development and Disability Support Services prepared teams of local experts, using a train-the-trainer model, to facilitate on-site workshops for adjuncts, full-time faculty and staff. Site-based teams of Disability Support Services Counselors, campus CAPRA Coordinators, Faculty Experts and Information Technology personnel worked to realize the primary goals of the project as:
(a) Improving educational outcomes for students with documented disabilities.
(b) Improving classroom instruction of adjunct and full-time faculty at UAA’s very small higher educational institutions.
The College Access Project for Rural Alaska (CAPRA) was a collaborative effort of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Center for Human Development (CHD) and Disability Support Services (DSS). The project was funded in part by the US Department of Education’s Office of Post Secondary Education and served to enhance accessibility and implementation of Universal Design (UD) principles on smaller campuses. At the end of the funded activities a no-cost extension was used to focus on taking momentum achieved during the grant cycle and translating those gains into sustainable returns.
University of Alaska Anchorage Campus PartnersThree of four UAA rural colleges participated in CAPRA. Kenai Peninsula College (which has two campuses), Matanuska-Susitna College, and Prince William Sound Community College (with three campuses), partnered with the Center for Human Development and Disability Support Services to provide professional development opportunities for faculty, staff, and community members.
Historically Disability Support Services in Anchorage has served as a resource for the DSS points of contact on the smaller rural campuses. This support has included campus-wide training in the accommodation process, provision of site packets with forms and guidelines, assistance in troubleshooting specific student, staff, and faculty concerns, provision of alternate format materials, temporary or long-term loan of Assistive Technology, and other assistance as needed. With CAPRA, a more strategic and systematic approach to delivering consistent and ongoing support evolved with a new focus on training adjunct faculty and other key personnel in the principles and practice of Universal Design. The new focus aimed to create more accessible learning environments from the design stage, thus minimizing the need for retroactive accommodation.
CAPRA Grant Funding
CAPRA is a grant from the U.S. Department of Education – Office of Postsecondary Education funded project development and delivery. CAPRA (PR# P333A050050) is funded entirely by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, Demonstration Projects to Ensure Students With Disabilities Receive a Quality Higher Education Program (CFDA 84.333). During the three year project period (10/1/2005 – 9/30/2008), the Center for Human Development - University of Alaska Anchorage expects to receive $751,544.
The University of Alaska Anchorage was one of 23 colleges and universities to receive awards during the third cycle of Office of Postsecondary Education project funding. The project aimed to increase the capacity of rural university campuses to provide students with disabilities a higher quality postsecondary education by training 200 faculty members. The expectation was that training faculty would improve educational outcomes for students with documented disabilities and classroom instruction.
The CAPRA Coordinator and Disability Support Services Director prepared site-based teams of facilitators. Each campus training team consisted of a campus coordinator, disability support services point of contact, faculty expert, and technology specialist. On some campuses individuals wore multiple hats.
Facilitator trainings brought these campus-based training teams together for two days at the beginning of each grant year. Teams of facilitators also met via audio conference on a monthly basis throughout the development and implementation of grant activities. Facilitators received compensation for their time spent on grant activities.
Faculty workshops were facilitated by site-based teams on the participating rural campuses once or twice each year. The faculty trainings were designed to advance faculty knowledge and understanding of disabilities, legal mandates, universal design, accessible course delivery methods, and assistive technology devices and applications. Faculty received a stipend for their participation. Faculty participation included attendance in the workshop and completion of syllabus or course modifications.
Ongoing Technical Assistance
Participating campuses have been provided information about or direct access to several national, regional, and locally hosted follow-up training opportunities. Webinars, audio conferences, online discussions, and forums are some of the means by which campus communities will be able to engage in continued learning.
Workshops and training opportunities offered through Disability Support Services have been and will continue to be available on rural campuses as part of the broader university responsibility to ensure equal access. Also important to note is that activities facilitated by DSS occur on all rural campuses, not just those participating in CAPRA.
CAPRA materials do not necessarily represent the policies of the Department of Education nor should the funding be assumed as an endorsement of the content and practices.