Disability Studies Alum Publishes Chapter in Textbook

Disability Services in Higher Education by: A Handbook for Disability Advisors, Edited by Benson Kinayanjui

In exciting community news, an alum from the disability studies program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) has contributed a chapter to a new textbook in the field. Marilyn Harren, a graduate of the MS in Disability Services in Higher Education program, wrote the chapter "Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD): Background, Current Issues, and Possibilities for the Future” for the book Disabilities and Accommodations in Higher Education, A Handbook for Disability Advisors, edited by Dr. Benson Kinyanjui and published by Kenica Books.

CUNY SPS recently caught up with Harren to talk about this exciting development and the impact the School's disability studies program has had on her career.

Q: Tell us a bit about your background, please.

A: I graduated from the CUNY SPS MS in Disability Services in Higher Education in Spring 2019. I am a licensed social worker, certified in special education, and have worked as an inpatient comprehensive rehabilitation social worker, taught in special education, and served as President of AHEAD (Association of Higher Education and Disabilities) in Texas. I currently work as the Director of ACCESS at Collin College in Plano, Texas, working with the staff at six ACCESS locations in the county.

Q: What is this book about?

A: This is a first of its kind to provide a resource for people working in disability services in higher education. As the editor notes in the preface, "This book fills a significant gap that has existed within the field of disability advising in post-secondary institutions. Prior to this publication, there was no textbook that provided comprehensive coverage of topics exclusively pertaining to disability advising as a profession." The goal of the book is to provide disability advisors with an in-depth definition of disability, and covers psychological and social aspects of disability, disability laws in higher education, and methods of assessing and evaluating disabilities. It also lays out a process for determining appropriate accommodations, assistive technology, universal design in higher education, self-advocacy, and addresses even what to expect in running a disability office. The chapter I contributed deals with AHEAD, and the work between AHEAD and CUNY SPS to establish the first master's program in the field of disability services in higher education.

Q: How did your experience at CUNY SPS influence your contribution to the book?

A: The chapter I contributed was about how CUNY SPS and National AHEAD worked together to establish a program addressing issues related to working in the field of disability services in higher education. I had worked as a director of a disability services office prior to earning my MS at CUNY SPS but felt that I needed more information on why we do what we do in disability services. The CUNY SPS program filled that need for knowledge and information.

For more information about the book, or to purchase a copy online, visit the publisher's website.

About Disability Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies

Disability Studies is an emerging academic field that explores disability from multiple perspectives, including the social sciences, humanities, science, and the law. CUNY SPS offers groundbreaking, fully accredited online degree and certificate programs within Disability Studies, including the BA in Disability Studies, MA in Disability Studies, MS in Disability Services in Higher Education, Advanced Certificate in Disability Studies, and Advanced Certificate in Disability Services in Higher Education.

About the CUNY School of Professional Studies

As New York's leader in online education since 2006, the CUNY School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS) offers the most online bachelor's and master's degree options at the City University of New York, and serves as the University's only undergraduate all-transfer college. With 26 degrees and numerous other non-degree and grant-funded workplace learning programs, CUNY SPS meets the needs of adults who wish to finish a bachelor's degree, progress from an associate's degree, earn a master's degree or certificate in a specialized field, and advance in the workplace or change careers. Consistently ranked highly by U.S. News & World Report for its online offerings, and noted for its soaring growth and enrollment, CUNY SPS has emerged as a nationwide leader in online education. The School's renowned and affordable online programs ensure that busy working adults may fulfill their educational goals on their own time and schedule.

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