Beyond Accommodations:  Designing the Playing Field for Diverse Learners

ILLOWA AHEAD 2018 Regional Conference March 22-23, 2018image of Peoria, Illinois
Holiday Inn and Suites
101 Holiday Street, East Peoria, IL 61611

Couldn’t make it to the National AHEAD Conference in Florida? Won’t be attending the upcoming National AHEAD Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico? Planning to attend but still want to see what’s happening locally? 

Join us Thursday and Friday, March 22 and 23 for the Illinois/Iowa (ILOWA) AHEAD Regional Conference in East Peoria, Illinois! Have we got a DEAL for you! Check it out:

  • Close to home
  • Obtain a wealth of information in a short period of time
  • More affordable conference fees
  • Lots of materials to take home
  • Opportunities to network with other regional service providers

Conference Registration Information

Conference Pricing


*Lunch on Thursday is provided for those registered for the preconference
ILLOWA Members: $35.00
Non-ILLOWA Members:  $40.00
Preconference Presenters: No charge ($0)

Early Bird Conference Pricing (must be registered by February 22nd, 2018).

ILLOWA Members: $110.00
Non-ILLOWA Members: $130.00
Presenters:  $85.00

Regular Conference Pricing (begins February 23rd, 2018)

ILLOWA Members:  $130.00
Non-ILLOWA Members: $160.00
Presenters:  $85.00

 To Register:

  1. Follow the online registration form following this link:
  2. On the registration form, you will be asked to select a payment options. The payment options are as follows:

For all Check Payments:

(Attn: Ryan Saddler, Treasurer)
Student Disability Services/Diversity
St. Ambrose University
518 Locust Street
Davenport, IA 52803 

For Credit Card/P-Card Payments:

An invoice will be sent from the ILLOWA AHEAD Paypal account to the email listed on this registration form. Please allow 3-5 business days for processing. 

Conference Cancellation Policy

Cancellations or requests for refunds must be received in writing by ILLOWA AHEAD by March 19, 2018. A ten-percent processing fee will be deducted from all refunds. ILLOWA AHEAD reserves the right to process refunds after the conference concludes.

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Opening Plenary Session Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jason L. Woods
Power of the Past, Force of the Future

image of Dr. Jason Woods
Dr. Jason L. Woods is currently serving as the Associate Vice President for Student Services at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. He has over 17 years of Higher Education Experience. He earned his doctorate degree in 2013 in Higher Education and Organizational Change from Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois. His areas of focus are recruitment, retention and leadership development of post-secondary students, faculty and staff. He has worked at public, private, religious affiliated and proprietary institutions. These experiences have shaped his higher education and leadership philosophy.

In addition to being an opening keynote speaker, Dr. Woods will be leading a concurrent session titled “Changing the Game: Using Tangible Leadership to Reinvigorate the Playing Field.”

Closing Plenary Luncheon Keynote Speaker: Dr. Amanda Kraus
Everyday Ableism: Unpacking Disability Stereotypes and Microaggressions

image of Dr. Amanda Kraus
Dr. Amanda Kraus currently serves as Director of the Disability Resource Center at the University of Arizona (UA). One of the largest in the nation, the Center is an international model of progressive service delivery.  Dr. Kraus is also Assistant Professor of Practice in the Center for the Study of Higher Education at UA, where she coordinates the M.A. program and instructs courses on student services, student development and disability in higher education. Dr. Kraus serves on the board of directors for the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).  She has had the privilege to present keynotes addresses for events at institutions such as Singapore Management University, Duke University, and Wake Forest University. In 2016, she participated in a delegation convened by the U.S. Department of State to engage in dialogue on disability access in education and employment in Beijing, China.  Outside of work, Dr. Kraus is an avid wheelchair tennis player. She was recently recognized as one of Tucson’s Top 40 Under 40. Dr. Amanda Kraus received her M.A. and Ph. D. from UA in Higher Education. 

In addition to being a closing keynote speaker, Dr. Kraus will be leading a concurrent session titled “Thinking and Practicing Differently – Identifying Ways to Lead Your Campus Toward Proactive and Sustainable Access.”

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Conference Location

Holiday Inn & Suites East Peoria
101 Holiday Street
East Peoria, IL 61611


Participants may call the hotel direct at 309-698-3333 or the toll free reservation number 1-800-315-2621 to reserve your room (mention ILLOWA AHEAD).  You can also visit the website at:

A block of rooms are reserved for conference attendees, including accessible rooms (first come, first serve). There’s a special conference hotel rate of $100 ($120 for Suites) under the name ILLOWA AHEAD on or before 2/28/18.

picture of the outside of the Holiday Inn & Suites East Peoria where the 2018 ILLOWA AHEAD Conference will be located
picture of the inside lobby area of the Holiday Inn & Suites East Peoria where the 2018 ILLOWA AHEAD Conference will be located

Hotel at a Glance

  • Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse onsite serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert (View delicious menu here:Johnny's Italian Steakhouse Menu)
  • Located within walking distance to the Levee District shops and restaurants
  • Close to downtown Peoria, Peoria Civic Center, Caterpillar World HQ & Visitor’s Center
  • Up to four kids ages 11 and under eat free any time of the day in any Holiday Inn on-site restaurant
  • Free high-speed internet
  • Daily complimentary self-parking in hotel’s parking lot
  • Service Animals allowed, but no pets
  • Single King, Double Queen, Junior King Suite, & Accessible rooms available
  • Accessible exercise facility, pool, ramp access, closed caption TVs, TDD telephones, visual alarm/alert in guest rooms and public spaces
  • Refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker & tea available in guest rooms

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Pre-Conference Schedule: Thursday, March 22, 2018

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM –Pre-Conference Registration (Complimentary Grab & Go Breakfast and beverages provided)
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Pre-Conference Workshops (3 options)
12:00 PM – Lunch provided for pre-conference attendees

Pre-Conference Option 1: The Animals Have Now Taken the Field

Matt Hansen, Asst. Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life
Ryan Saddler, Director, Student Disability Services/Diversity
Alyse Schmidt, Service Provider, Student Disability Services

With animal policy continually changing, it can be difficult to navigate the creation and implementation of that policy on college campuses, especially those with student housing. Come to this interactive and engaging session to find out how one institution's policy has evolved over time through the sharing of stories and lessons learned. What stakeholders should be at the table when reviewing/adapting policy? How do each of those individuals benefit by being there? How do you create and implement a policy that will both avoid OCR complaints while meeting the needs of your students? Most importantly, this session will demonstrate how working collaboratively between disability services and residence life can yield win-win results while meeting the sometimes competing needs of your students and institution.

Pre-Conference Option 2: Motivational Interviewing - Moving Students Toward Change

Presenter: Amber Dopler, MSW, LISW, Counselor

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative and empowering approach to assisting students in moving toward change. The goals of this pre-conference presentation are to provide a basic understanding of the main tenets of Motivational Interviewing and to give attendees ample opportunity to practice Motivational Interviewing skills.

Pre-Conference Option 3: Moving Beyond Compliance to a Mindset of Student Success

Presenter: Janet Peters, Project Coordinator, Educational & Assistive Technology

Increasingly, students with disabilities are attending postsecondary schools. The most recent data from the National Center on Education Statistics indicates that 11.1% of undergraduates reported having a disability. Over time, the number of students with disabilities in higher education has trended upward, at least in part, because of compliance with federal policies and laws. And, compliance is essential, but it’s time to move beyond the compliance mindset to student success as a social justice issue. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is one approach to help schools face the challenges of supporting students with disabilities that comply with federal law, but goes further to promote student success.

This session will offer tips to encourage and support faculty to adopt UDL as a framework that provides opportunities that go beyond accommodation and support learning for all. Session objectives:

  1. Participants will understand the difference between accommodations and UDL.
  2. Participants will learn how to support faculty to incorporate UDL elements into their courses.
  3. Participants will discuss implementation of UDL across campus to increase persistence, retention, and satisfaction for all learners.

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Conference Schedule: Thursday, March 22, 2018*

12:00–1:00 PM – Conference Registration / Open Vendor and Poster Session
1:00-1:30 PM – Opening Welcome
1:30-2:30 PM – Opening Plenary Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jason Woods, Power of the Past, Force of the Future
2:40-3:30 PM – Concurrent Session #1 (3 options)
3:30-4:00 PM – Break / Open Vendor and Poster Session
4:00-4:50 PM – Concurrent Session #2 (3 options)
5:15-6:15 PM – Networking Social Hour
4:50- 6:30 PM – Cash Bar is open
7:00 PM - Off-site Dinner Social (pay out of pocket)

Conference Schedule: Friday, March 23, 2018*

8:00 -9:00 AM – Complimentary Grab & Go Breakfast / Open Vendor and Poster Session
9:00-9:50 AM – Concurrent Session #3 (3 options)
10:00-10:50 AM – Plenary Session #2 (OCR Update*)
11:00-11:30 AM – Break / Open Vendor and Poster Session
11:30 AM - 12:20 PM – Concurrent Session #4 (3 options)
12:30-2:00 PM – Closing Luncheon Keynote: Dr. Amanda Kraus, Everyday Ableism: Unpacking Disability Stereotypes and Microaggressions

Concurrent and Poster Sessions

Here’s a peek into some of the concurrent and poster sessions! (complete list not included)
Presenter(s) Session Title
 Brian Manternach  Looking Back and Moving AHEAD
 Ann Fredricksen  Tips and tools to use in approaching accessible e-learning in synchronous and asynchronous courses
 Lori Henehan & Nikki Michalak  It's More than Extended Exam Time for Students with ASD Coming to Your Institutions
 Jenifer Montag  Working Smarter: Using SmartPen Technology as a Professional Tool
 Jason Woods  Changing the Game: Using Tangible Leadership to Reinvigorate the Playing Field
 Amanda Kraus  Thinking and Practicing Differently – Identifying Ways to Lead Your Campus Toward Proactive and Sustainable Access
 Lili O'Connell & Denise Andresen  Providing Executive Functioning support program for college students with autism and similar challenges
 Alisha White  Universal Design for Interview Methods: Giving Voice for Students with Disabilities
 Jeremy Robinett  Military Service Students: Exploring Diverse Needs
 Arlene English & Elissa Teets  KCC Autism Support Program Focused Skill Training: Above and Beyond Academic Accommodations
 Janet Peters  What’s new in Low Cost AT Solutions?
 Debra Miller & NIU DRC Team  Doing More with Less: Five Strategies to Support Students Beyond Accommodations
 George D. Lowery  College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
 Bryan Dallas, Alyssa Ashmore, & Matthew Sprong  Analyzing Academic Equity Gaps Among Undergraduate Students with Disabilities
 Mikael Snitker-Magin & Matt Heldman  Self-efficacy for formerly homeless Veterans re-entering higher education

(*Changes may be made to final schedule)

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[Have we convinced you what a great deal this is? We certainly hope so! Register soon!]