Oct. 1, 2009
SACKVILLE (CNB) - An investment of $200,000 has been made at Mount Allison University for a pilot project that includes several accessibility initiatives for students with learning and physical disabilities. Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault and Mount Allison University President Robert Campbell made the announcement today.
The support will enhance the university's existing services for students, focusing on those with hearing and visual impairments, physical disabilities, and behavioural conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorders. These services will be available through the university's Wellness Centre, and will build on the success of the Meighen Centre for Learning Assistance and Research, which has been providing services to students with learning disabilities since 1988.
"By investing in improved services for all students at Mount Allison University, we are moving forward with Be Inspired. Be Ready. Be Better. The Action Plan to Transform Post-Secondary Education in New Brunswick, and facilitating the recruitment and retention of students who face barriers," said Arseneault. "As part of government's initiatives to achieve a self-sufficient New Brunswick, we must work with our post-secondary institutions to ensure easier access to a post-secondary education for all New Brunswickers, and improved support for all post-secondary students."
"Providing a world-class education - one that is available to all students - is at the core of what we do here at Mount Allison University," said Campbell. "It has been that way for the past 170 years. This funding from the Government of New Brunswick only helps enhance this, and allows us to build on our accessibility initiatives across campus."
The pilot project will run for the 2009-10 academic year, and will focus on the recruitment and retention of students with learning and physical disabilities. Mount Allison University will host a series of formal and informal events to co-ordinate and share best practices related to disabilities.
The university will hire several student employees as note-takers and tutors, and a disability services co-ordinator who will work with students to meet their individual needs. New assistance equipment and specialized computer software will also be purchased based on students' specific needs. Funding will also support the Meighen Centre's existing programs for students with diagnosed learning disabilities.
Mount Allison University will also host a provincial conference during this academic year, in partnership with other post-secondary institutions in the region, that will focus on best practices, collaboration, and methods to enhance accessibility for all students with a variety of learning and physical disabilities. This initiative will benefit students, universities, colleges, and communities.
A key component of this project will be to identify and secure ongoing resources to continue the various initiatives in future years.
The Action Plan to Transform Post-Secondary Education in New Brunswick: Be Inspired. Be Ready. Be Better may be found online.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Lori-Jean Johnson, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, 506-476-0542; Laura Dillman Ripley, media relations co-ordinator, Mount Allison University, 506-364-2600.