“Partnerships and outreach are integral in all we do, and we continue to increase our impact,” said RCOE dean, Dr. Melba Spooner. “The inclusion of CAP and SDAP will enhance and complement our work.”
“We look forward to engaging with our new colleagues and bringing more ideas and innovations to the table,” she added.
As a result of this transition, nearly 30,000 CAP students and families, 2000 educators, and 24 school districts will gain access to the expertise of RCOE faculty to improve and design new college access programming and services available to them throughout western North Carolina.
"We are excited to join the Reich College of Education and work more closely with the faculty, staff, and students,” said Dr. Jim Beeler, senior director of CAP. “This transition will provide new opportunities to form partnerships that design and propose solutions to big challenges, implement services that benefit the PK-12 education community across western North Carolina and conduct research to share the impact of our work."
Now housed in the Department of Reading Education and Special Education (RESE), SDAP will also expand opportunities with RCOE faculty, staff, students, and community partners.
“Being a part of the RESE department will provide more collaborative research opportunities for SDAP to enable the program to further develop in its role as a model inclusive post-secondary education program,” said Dr. Susan Hedges, assistant professor in RESE and director of SDAP.
About College Access Partnerships
CAP is committed to building strategic partnerships to strengthen local communities through college access and success and currently serves 24 school districts across western North Carolina reaching 30,000 students and families.
Over the last 50 years, CAP has undergone several name changes including College Awareness Program and NCACHE (North Carolina Appalachian Collaborative for Higher Education), but the mission to provide access to higher education to students in western North Carolina has not waivered.
During the last three years, CAP has continued to grow adding $47 million in funding and new programs, doubling its footprint with school districts in western North Carolina, and expanding from 20 to 58 full-time employees.
About Scholars with Diverse Abilities Program
SDAP prepares college-aged students with intellectual disabilities for personal growth and occupational success. The goal upon completion of the program is that students obtain competitive, integrated employment and live independent, fulfilling lives.
Since its inception ten years ago, the two-year program has grown to serve approximately 10 scholars per year, with 13 incoming students for fall 2022. It is one of three programs of its kind in North Carolina.
Beginning in fall 2023, SDAP will expand to 20 scholars and will extend its duration to an optional four-year program.
In addition to scholars, SDAP offers opportunities for students in majors such as education, social work, communication sciences and disorders, and music therapy to gain experience with the program as either a College Life Fellow, graduate assistant, or intern.