The Last Word (for the Last Week)
In December 2013, I started a new venture. I wanted to be able to ruminate on issues, speculate about things I think are important, draw some parallels and make connections in the listserv traffic I see coming across my screen… all without boring the heck out of people who aren’t at all interested in my ramblings.
So I set up a private distribution list, to serve as my own, personal, virtual soapbox. This is NOT another listserv. The list is set up so that no one but me can post to the group as a whole (although folks are welcome to write back to me and talk/ask about what I write!). It’s just a once-a-week posting on whatever strikes my fancy. No obligation on my part as to how much or how little gets said. No obligation on YOUR part to read it!
I call this venture “The Last Word (for the last week!)” and it is a regular Friday offering. Since beginning in 2013, there have been 400+ posts on topics ranging from a DSS-themed Christmas poem, to discussions about the use and abuse of various accommodations, to the philosophy of DSS work, to my experience as the parent of a kid with a disability, to… a whole lot more!!!! You can browse through some of my favorite posts in the Archives section of this website.
My mother always said that I had been vaccinated with a phonograph needle. I LOVE talking – and this is the virtual equivalent of having an ongoing audience to speak to. Currently, more than 1400 people are subscribed to the list. Want to join us?
The Last Word Podcast
In 2021, a “bonus” posting was added to the Friday Last Word posts. For those who like to listen to podcasts in their downtime, I now pair each Last Word post on Friday with a podcast from the Last Word archives – something written at an earlier time. It is usually a companion piece to that week’s offering (an earlier post with a similar theme or discussion), but sometimes I choose something because it is timely to what is happening around us. The podcast recording comes as an attachment to a separate post, and for those who are not into listening, a transcript of the podcast is also attached. This new website configuration offers a third option. You can go to “The Last Word” section of the website and find an online link to the latest podcast recording.
ICU for the ICU’s:
A TARGETED Listserv, A VALUABLE Resource
More than 20 years ago, I established a listserv for those working on issues of disability in higher education AT SMALL, PRIVATE POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS. The listserv, entitled ICUlist (Independent Colleges and Universities) is directed at individuals who work at institutions that may fit the following profile (note: this profile is meant to be suggestive, not exclusionary!):
** Private (Title III) institutions
** Tuition of $25,000+ per year
** Student body of 2500 or less
** Most students are traditionally college-aged and fresh out of high school
** Most students are in-residence in institutionally owned and operated housing
If your institution meets some or all of the criteria listed here, then you may find the ICUlist of interest. Experience suggests that such institutions face some unique issues, some unusual challenges, and some very different expectations for their services to students with disabilities that are largely a function of institutional size, mission, and philosophy. I created this small list (currently about 425 subscribers) to provide a forum for folks facing similar problems in similar settings to interact and share their experiences and expertise. NOTE: We do have folks from other institutional settings who choose to sit in on the list, and they are welcome to do so. While we generally discuss issues in the context of ICU institutions, we know that disability issues don’t change across institutional settings – only the resources and organization of services. Everyone has something to contribute to (and can take something away from) our discussions.
THIS LIST IS NOT INTENDED TO COMPETE WITH THE BROADER INFORMATION OR SUPPORT AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS FROM THE DEDICATED SERVICE PROVIDERS ON THE DSSHE LIST or the AHEAD Members listservs. Current subscribers to DSSHE or AHEAD who choose to join this list are encouraged to maintain their subscription to those other lists, and non-subscribers to the larger lists who join the ICUlist are encouraged to consider signing on to the DSSHE-L and/or the AHEAD Members list, too. The same is true of ongoing involvement with other listservs that potential subscribers have found helpful. The ICU list is not meant to replace any existing resource. Rather, the hope is that the ICUlist provides a supplement to the information and counsel available through other sources. The focus and perspective of the ICU are as unique as the institutions from which participants are drawn.
** what options are there for effectively serving the dietary needs of a student with an eating disorder or with significant food allergies who is in residence, when all students are REQUIRED to live in the residence hall because “residence life” is seen as an integral part of the institutional offerings?
** how do you deal with the question of tuition for a “full-time student” taking a reduced course load when the reduction is a function of the student’s disability? Other students ARE taking the typical full-time load and the institution prides itself on the fact that their full-time students graduate in four years. After all, an extra year at such institutions means a WHOLE LOT of extra costs.
** how much information can/should you share regarding a student’s disability when information (including personal information) tends to be shared with a number of folks because of the small, intimate nature of the campus community?
** what can/should be done about the influx of requests single rooms or for emotional support animals in the residence hall?
Care to join us?
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO PASS THIS MESSAGE TO ANYONE WHOM YOU THINK MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN JOINING THE ICU LIST.