Increasing Diversity through Tohono O’odham Community College Partnership

Sonoran UCEDD Update
Winter 2017-2018

Tohono O'odham Community College logoThe Sonoran UCEDD is committed to increasing its own diversity over the next five years and has prioritized as a Center-wide goal to better serve Arizona’s increasingly diverse population through collaborations and programming that facilitate diversity, equity and inclusion. The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) is assisting us in achieving this goal through support for a Minority Service Institution Diversity Partnership. In its second year, this grant has provided funding to work with Tohono O’odham Community College (TOCC) located on the Tohono O’odham Nation southwest of Tucson on a partnership to facilitate an exchange of student and faculty information and learning. 

We were pleased to welcome our first TOCC trainees to the UCEDD last fall. Warren Sanchez and Krishna Patricio participated in a series of campus and community experiences with the UCEDD including visiting our clinic and program sites as well as taking a person centered planning training.  At the end of the semester, the students presented on how they could incorporate person-centered thinking and planning constructs into the work they are doing with families on the Tohono O’odham Nation. Other students are joining us this spring and summer to work with UCEDD Affiliated Faculty Francine Gachupin, PhD, in her Heart Mind Study of American Indian Elders and the diabetes camp for American Indian Youth (see Sonoran UCEDD Collaborator Spotlight)

The Sonoran UCEDD has also been working with TOCC faculty on how universal design principles and strategies can be incorporated at TOCC. Christie Kelly, Counselor at TOCC as well as a Diversity Fellow with the UCEDD and PhD candidate in Higher Education, is working on developing policies  and procedure for the College. We are looking forward to meeting with faculty in later this spring to talk further on how we can work together. Finally, as part of the grant we are partnering with TOCC and Baboquivari Unified School District to conduct a transition workshop for youth with disabilities on the Nation. Started last year with a successful workshop in May, this year we will bring together government agencies, service providers, and advocates to talk with high school students on possibilities and opportunities after high school.