Join us for the AUCD 2017 Conference opening plenary featuring keynote speaker Roberta “Bobbi” J. Cordano, JD., President of Gallaudet University. Cordano is a dynamic leader who became the 11th President of Gallaudet University in January 2016. She will discuss how we can use our leadership positions in academia to achieve better outcomes and greater equity moving forward.


Good morning! Good morning! Welcome, everyone. My name is Celia Feinstein and I'm the Executive Director at institute of Director of Temple University of UCEDD. As well as President of AUCD Board of directors. It is my tremendous pleasure to welcome you to the 2017 AUCD Conference.
I hope that everyone was able to attend last nights welcome reception and enjoy the opportunity to network with colleagues.
There was a mighty group that walked and road this morning at 6:00 a.m. If you walked and rolled raise your hand. Awesome! The biggest contingent was from the Waisman Center. And last year's conference, we explored ways to navigate change and how we can all work together to build a more inclusive society.
This year is focused on the very important work of lifting our voices in all the many forms and ways of communicating. To elevate the conversations around inclusion and social justice for people with disabilities and their families. I urge you to take the conference theme to heart and think about what we can all do when we return home to lift their voices in this effort.
Now who here is at the AUCD Conference for the first time? Wow!
Welcome! Relationships formed at this conference can be incredibly powerful and in keeping with our theme of lifting your voice, I challenge every one here this morning to meet at least 5 new people during the meeting.
New attendees have an option this year to wear a bright green ribbon on their name badge. So if you see one, say hello and welcome a new friend.
I would also like to ask for talents and newly-elected Board members to stand or wave your hand and be recognized.
This group of committed people has done and will do terrific things for the association this year and moving forward. And we thank you for your leadership.
One of the things the Board and AUCD staff have worked on this past year is the AUCD strategic map. Which was developed with feedback from numerous focus groups and cross-network collaboration. It's page 73 in your program.
The new map which you can see on the screen features 4 overarching priorities to help guide the work of the network and the organization over the next 4 years.
The priorities are to grow diversity and skilled leaders, conduct and apply research and share knowledge, advance policies and practices that improve lives, and model diversity equity and inclusion.
The map is intended to guide the work of the network when we work together across our centers. We are also in the process of developing subgoals under each of the priority areas. So stay tuned. You will have many opportunities to provide your input in the coming weeks.
It is now my great pleasure to welcome to this stage the 2017 AUCD Conference Chair, my friend and AUCD Board President elect, Bruce Keisling, from the Boling Center in Tennessee. Thank you!
Good morning! Thank you, Cecilia for your leadership and helping to develop the AUCD Strategic Map and all do you for the Board and our network. As cilia mentioned my name is Bruce Keisling and I'm the Executive Director of University of Tennessee Boling Center for developmental center in Memphis. It's been a privilege to be included in the development of this year's conference and I'm pleased to see so many in attendance, especially so many first time attendees. I look forward to meeting new attendees and networking with everyone over the next few days.
I'd like to take just a few minutes to go over some of the conference details and highlights. This year, we received close to 330 proposals for the conference. We have about 60 concurrent sessions this year and our first round of these will begin immediately following the plenary session this morning.
So that we can accommodate as many presenters as possible, we are continuing our post symposium format from last year with 3 rounds of poster session from this around and around 250 posters being presented during the entire conference.
We hope that this format continues to help presenters obtain more visibility and allow attendees to experience more poster topics.
We want to hear your impressions for all the sessions and have surveys for both concurrent and poster session ins the conference app to give us valuable feedback that help us plan for next year.
Tomorrow morning starts with an exciting plenary session at 8:45 am. Featuring labor secretary Alexander Acosta and followed by a panel which in concludes Mary Lazare, Kimberly Richey with the Office of Special Education and rehabilitative services, and Linda Mastandrea, with FEMA.
They will be moderated by our own Kara Ayers, associate director at the University of Cincinnati UCEDD. The morning plenary will followed by 44 concurrent sessions throughout the day.
On Tuesday afternoon, please join us for the annual AUCD honor celebration which will highlight the tremendous accomplishments of individuals, centers, and organizations. This year, we are thrilled to have U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire speaking during this ceremony. Our conference addition is a party that will immediately follow the awards ceremony and take us on a fun journey to bill street. Where is my Tennessee people? All right, we'll feature great southern food, DJ to mix and old tunes. A few surprises and an opportunity to continue networking and celebrating with our great awardees for this year.
You'll also get your prize ticket at this event for a chance to win one of great four prizes Wednesday morning before the closing of plenary which begins at 8:45 am. And like most things in life, you have to be present to win.
Last but not least on Wednesday morning, our closing plenary will feature a series of speakers including Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt and Kristine Lucius with civil and human rights. And both will talk about disability issues and context of a broader Civil Rights? Social justice agenda. And how we can all work to advance that agenda with bipartisan support. And while you're here, feel free to share your experience socially. Tweet, post, and share using #AUCD2017.
Stop by the photo booth in the hall with your friends and use the props provided for extra fun. Grab couple of AUCD famous flare buttons from the table in the hall and take a marker and Blake button template to create your own custom button to tell us why it is you lift your voice and also don't forget donations are being accepted for our island territory that have been affected by the recent hurricane and finally, don't forget to let us know about these ideas and all aspects of the conference. We via the conference evaluation that's on your app on line and in your inbox on Thursday when you return home. We look forward to getting great feedback so we can ensure every years conference is more exciting and productive than the last. I'm now pleased to introduce the AUCD Executive Director Andy Imparato. He celebrated his 4th year at AUCD and continues to travel and learning as much as he can about the AUCD network, our programs, and the citizens that we work with.
He's visited more than 60 network centers to date and we're deeply thankful for his leadership. Welcome Andy.

Thank you, Bruce. This room looks beautiful. It's very exciting for me to have the President of Gallaudet University, Bobbi Cordano in the room with us. Bobbi is royalty in the Deaf community. I've had an opportunity to get to spend time with her. We recently had a great meeting with the C.E.O. of Fortune 100 company who is trying to be more of a leader on disability issues. Every time I'm with Dr. Cordano I'm inspired by her vision, her energy, and I think everybody in this room knows I have bipolar disorder. She has more energy than I do which is not easy. And I don't think she has the diagnosis. So. [Laughter]
But I really want to thank Bruce. You know, one of the things we do at AUCD and our leadership, we force them to go through the crucible of planning the conference before we allow them to be the President. And Bruce has gone through that crucible with grace, he was also taking over a new role as the Director of Boling Center in Memphis coming behind, kind of a legendary leader which was not easy and I know Dr. Cordano can relate to that. And I had a chance to see one of our predecessor at the international summit that Senator Harkin hosted on Saturday and Friday. But you've been a phenomenal partner and I'm looking forward to working with you as our Board President. And I want to thank you Cecilia as our outgoing President. She filled in for the prior President who ended her term early because of familiar issues, so she's done beyond the call of duty. Cecilia is in Philadelphia. So she popped down to DC a lot which has been great for us. She's very generous. She's supported AUCD in multiple ways. And one of the things I love about Cecilia, and you felt you felt it from last year conference that Cecilia led the plan commitment and her commitment to self-advocate, and disability if family leaders, and she always put families with disabilities front and center. And, so, I want to do briefly thank our sponsors. Some of them are here in the room. The sponsor that is one of our top sponsors this year, last year, and the year before is Anthem. And is Merrill is here? Thank you, Merrill, and Pat, and everybody from Anthem for being a great partner.
The other two sponsors at that level is J.P. Morgan Chase. And I don't know if Rodney is here, but he's going to be here for the other parts of the conference. We'll be sure to thank him publicly when he's in the room. Centene and Lifeshare, I know they're going to be here tomorrow and we'll thank them again tomorrow. Wal-Mart, I saw Joanne Murphy. Thank you for being such a great partner from Wal-Mart. I want to mention Joanne's part of the diversity team at Wal-Mart and we have a great relationship with the Wal-Mart Foundation, and I know that Wal-Mart foundation has funded AUCD to take the act early and ambassador model and apply it in the field of nutrition. So which is a real priority for the Wal-Mart foundation. So we've got 5 states receiving funding from the Wal-Mart foundation to promote nutrition for people with disabilities using an ambassador model we call the nutrition ambassador. If you look at the hashtag, nutrition is for everyone. If you're involved in that project and one of the 5 states, please raise your hand. So Joanne, I'm sure you're going to find some of them.
And people that don't know the states involved include Wal-Mart headquarter in State of Arkansas, some neighboring states, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and then Oklahoma. And it's starting out with 4 and second year we expanded to include Mississippi and our hope is that it will continue to expand as we demonstrate the impact of the model.
The other sponsors I want to do acknowledge is Uber. Molina Healthcare. AMCHP, which is a new sponsor and exhibitor this year for the first time. And Intelligent Video Solutions. And we have number of new exhibitors this year. Please sure to visit them in the registration over the next couple of days. So let's hear it for our sponsors and exhibitors.
And you know, I think this is a record year for us in terms of conference sponsorship. We budgeted about $70,000 in sponsorship this year. And we came at $110,000. So it's been a really good year.
And we're very grateful. And we've got a gala coming up on March 20th. And a lot of our partners from the conference support us at the gala. This is in Washington, D.C.. We try to time it around disability policy seminar or the UCEDD director retreat. And, so, this coming year, it will be the night of the UCEDD director retreat. We see it kind of as a coming out network in Washington and all our partners in Washington to get a feel for what we do. And first year we celebrated the leadership in education, and celebrated leadership in employment and this coming year, we're celebrating leadership in state policy. And I think where we're going to be honoring Governor Daugaard from South Dakota and I'm sure Dr. Cordano knows that governor Daugaard's parents were deaf and how they inspired his work ethics and we're also going honor Rita Lange graph from Delaware who was the health and social services and who did extraordinary work under governor Martel. And, so, the conference is lift your voice.
And right when we thought of that theme, I also thought of Dr. Cordano, because the theme is a metaphor. There are a lot of people with disabilities that don't communicate with voice. They communicate in other ways.
But they all have a voice. And I think one of the thing that we try to do as a network is lift up the voices of people that sometimes don't get the level of attention that they deserve. You know, if you think about what is AUCD stand for as a network, you can also think about it as what do we lift our voices for? We lift our voices for equality. We lift our voices for equity. We lift our voices for justice. We lift our voices for inclusion. We lift our voices for good policy that's grounded in good values and good evidence.
We help to develop that evidence. We lift our voices for bipartisan solution and corporation across the political spectrum. And we lift our voices for the ongoing important role of higher education to help our country prepare people for a global economy.
So the theme of lift your voice is really about how important we all are as individuals to participate in the dialogue. And to the extent our network can open up pathways for individuals who may not have as easy of a time participating in a dialogue, that, to me, is one of the most important parts of our mission. I remember, I think it was when Harold Kleiner got an award. He talked about the number of children who graduate from high school unable to communicate. So they have gone through elementary school and high school and nobody has figured out how to connect them with the right technology or other solutions that will help them have self-determination in their lives to communicate what they want for their lives, so communicate where they want to live, who they want to live with, what they want to eat, what they want to do with their lives. And I think that's an issue our network is very well position to do help lead the effort to change the way young people in our country are educated, so as many young people as possible graduate from high school with the ability to communicate.
So we have 3 rock stars young deaf leaders here today and I want to quickly mention them. Two of them worked for Dr. Cordano. Leah Hernandez who is new working in the President's office. Some of you know Leah because she's famous. She was the receptionist of the White House and people who worked with Barack Obama and first who visited them was Leah. Leah's father is the Fed of the U.S. education and she's a real rising star in the Deaf community. And in the Disability Community more broadly, and Dr. Cordano was very wise for bringing her in the enter Raj of Gallaudet University. And Mary was the President of the student body government and now she has the job that Jennifer has for me which is trying to organize a very hard to organize boss. So Mary, thank you for everything that you do and for your leadership.
So, at the close, I'm going introduce a video. But the video was developed by the third deaf leader that I wanted to mention which is Christine Liao. She's a former trainee from the Tucson, Arizona LEND program.
She came to AUCD right before the conference a year ago. And she is extraordinarily talented. So this video is just one example of the work that she's doing to try to engage trainees year-round and lift the voices of trainees as important leaders in our network. So without further ado, here's the video and then Christine Liao is going to come up and introduce President Cordano.
[Video Clip]
[Video closed-captioned]
Hello. Good morning. My name is Christine Liao, and I am the AUCD program specialist on the Maternal and Child Health T.A. Team. And the UCEDD T.A. team.
I hope you guys enjoyed this is informational video for trainees.
One year ago, on my very first day at AUCD, Andy invited me to attend President Bobbi Cordano's inauguration. And since I grew up in the hearing world, I was excited for the privilege to be at Gallaudet University. The only Deaf university in the world.
But to also witness it straight. President Cordano is the very first Deaf woman President of Gallaudet University. And since meeting her, I've had the privilege of discussing the importance of early intervention, what diversity and inclusion looks like in the postsecondary inclusion and ensuring every person, deaf, hearing, or person with disability or able-bodied can strive and thrive and succeed as leaders.
I would like to remind you all if you have any questions for our President Cordano, please write them on the note card provided on your seat. We will collect them for the Q & A portion of the plenary. If you need assistance for writing on the note card, please search for an AUCD staff member. Now I'd like to turn it over to President Cordano.
BOBBI CORDANO: Thank you, Christine. Thank you for your wonderful welcome. I also want to acknowledge Jennifer for another reason. Today was the first day I came to a presentation outside of Gallaudet without wearing a Gallaudet pin so, thanks to Jennifer, she was able to locate one for me this morning. If you can imagine that. So for that I'm very grateful. And I want to share with you it does take a village to get me here on stage. As you can see by my entourage village. To thank you for participating and helping me. Thank you, Andy, it's been truly good not only for the Fortune 100 meeting but for everybody you you're an extraordinary leader in what you provide. I want to mention the Harkin summit which is just an amazing opportunity and achievement. Here in this country and for folks all over the world.
Andy and his leadership related to planning that summit is just critical. And I want to acknowledge that, because I think this is just, it's already had an impact in terms of the way world thinks about employment with people with disability so, thank you for your extraordinary leadership in that area.
So, I have to begin by just asking if there are people from Minnesota here in the audience?
David Johnson perhaps? Is he anywhere near here? Great. Hi, David.
Welcome to those of you from Minnesota.
I have to, due to my loyalty, mention Minnesota because I got my start right there in University of Minnesota. And it was there I became the Director of Disability services. Under none other than Bob Brunicks who was the President. And he was also part of my work there and many of you know, he was also a mentor for me, David was, and others as well and as I became the President here of Gallaudet. So AUCD has an impact on me. Welcome for those from Minnesota. And I'm an Minnesotan as well. So I just wanted to say hello.
My goals for today and these remarks for you is really to bring together our thinking as it relates to higher education, leadership, and what it requires for us to be successful.
And to create a response in this seismic change we're seeing, and we'll continue to see over the next 20 years.
When we think about what's coming and the pace it's coming, 95% of us in this room are not ready for the pace of the change that's about to hit us in the future. But the good news for all of us is, the younger generation that's in the pipeline behind us, if you look at the millennials, they're already living lives that they view the world in a different way than we do and those are the folks we want. It's the millennials and for many of you, when I look across the room and engage the age here, there are millennials here. Many of us get so hard and our generation to work with those millennials, however, let's listen and watch very careful toll what they're doing. They actually have it right. They have it together. And I just want to repeat that. I encourage you to listen and watch, because they have many things right.
And here's why I say that. Before I go with this slide, I just wanted to mention that I am in a room full of academics and experts, scholars, and practitioners.
I recognize that collectively, you have far more knowledge than I do here. So if any of this information, if it appears to be redundant, I ask for your forgiveness at the outset here. You must know I'm not an academic, and I'm trained as an attorney, and then administrator, and leadership position and executive, and now a college President. So with that, I bring in ability to truly integrate knowledge from these disciplines which I believe you will see throughout this presentation.
So I'll give you a moment to read this slide. I hope you can see it and then I'll just summarize it for you.
What's really pushing change in our economy right now with the fact that for every 5 people leaving the labor market, 3 are coming in.
So think about that. 5 leave and only 3 come in.
That in and of itself is going to force the change and redefinition of work as we know it today.
And if you have ever thought to yourself that you know, people with disability really don't have and continue to be frustrated in the new economy and really don't have a place there, well, let me tell you. Think again. There are simply not enough people to do a lot of the work that's absolutely necessary. And there's no question about that. That means the opportunity is clearly present.
Secondly, within the next 20 years, only 20% of the jobs we recognize today will exist. 20%.
So, imagine what that means if we take a look at this room, and this whole section of the room all the way over to roundabout here. Your jobs, whatever they are, will not be the same 20 years from now. They may not even exist. There will be robots doing your work instead. The careers that we have thought are the best and the most lucrative in nature. Those type of careers like accounting and some financial work, they may not be in existence, because robots can do that work now.
Artificial intelligence, AI is producing machinery that is able to think in ways that actually supersede what we're able to do and the way we think as human beings. So think about this whole section of the room will not have jobs in the future. They won't exist. If we look across this room, and those who were made will continually adapt to new jobs and those will be the recognizable jobs. So that's pretty incredible if you think about it. Just look across the room.
I mean, you can see by doing that, we can impact the statistics. So if you look about, you know, a tip for what we need to do in order to be prepared for this future, it's about us moving and adapting to the current job we have. Last thing to be said here is the importance of citizenship.
You know, greater more so than ever in this country and around the world is the need to be good citizens. And every individual to be able to participate in our community and develop around our world is this citizenship. And people with disability, especially so, this is the case. This is the arena where we consider and experience marginization. This is our work to ensure that that no longer continues to occur.
I'll give you a moment to read this slide. I'm not going to actually go through all the details here. There will be a handout available to you at a later point in time in your program. But what I can say the old economy was founded on different principles and concepts. One being the fact that people are basically like widgets. They're interchangeable. And we can change them in with something else that's different and it won't have any impact. The value perception is just what's actually being created and the product, because it's the product that creates the value, not the process by which the product is created.
The old economy value standardization. That was critical to its functioning. Everything needed to be uniformed and standard. And even later, we'll talk about efficiency. The need for efficiency and working quickly has become so dominant in our current economy, if you will, that we're missing some of what you actually see that can drive us into a new future.
Now, the old economy, the current economy is very much based on a command control model that's very top-heavy and hierarchal. There's a silo functionality within this system. And many of your centers right now perhaps exist in this way. If you ask the way you organize, the way you function, how we organize ourselves is typically around the ideas we hope to develop.
And if you organize yourself by function, you're more apart of the old economy and that system. And you organize by the ideas and the goals you want to develop, that shows movement towards a new design, a new way of dealing with our economy.
So let's talk about today's economy. It's an exclusionary economy where we exclude people. 35% of people with disability are working. And many of those individuals who are not working desire to have jobs.
So what I'd like to point out here, we have a doctrine of exceptionalism here in America. America thrives on this doctrine of exceptionalism. We do this with people of color, we do this with people of all different minority groups, minority cultures, linguistic minority cultures. When one person rises above and succeed, there looks to be a role model. I think of myself, first Deaf woman and President of Gallaudet, there's an assumption that people think we mist be doing great with the position I hold. And we see this a lot with the Deaf Community, exception to the rule and that is definitely a factor of the old economy.
I want to focus here on couple of things. The first one being, when do you your work, I know I have come to recognize and in my leadership prior to coming to Gallaudet, it's this notion that we cannot afford to just solve a problem through one particular lens at which we look at this problem. Rather, we have to build synergies. Synergetic kind of thinking. Attitudinal perspective, economic perspective, educational perspective, social, personal, all of these spheres of our lives have to come into play and by the lens that come into issue. Each of those impact the complexity of the problem we're trying to solve. Too often our research in the work that we do tries for the sake of just doing pure research.
But the reality of thing is that this new approach is very different. That really creates this invisible veil around the outcomes that we're seeking. So we have to encourage more research that's broad in nature.
That can tie into, you know, the invisible structures that actually makes the impact on the experience that is we're trying to measure as it relates to people with disabilities and others.
So, let's talk about it about the new economy. And what is the goal of this new economy and what actually drives this new economy?
David Norfolk came up with this and Vince is known for Google and Matt is also one of the author of this book. They talk about the destruction of this old economy.
And it's one of the things that's critical in this book. And I think we also heard this from the Fortune 100 C.E.O. that Andy and I met with the other day. It's this notion about it's all about the customer these days. It's all about the consumers. Their wants, their needs, their behaviors are the focus of what we should be doing. The focus is on them. Think about the old economy. The structure, the legality, the legal economic educational structures in place under the old economy doesn't necessarily focus on the customers. Rather the old economy devalue the customer and devalue people, their wants, their desires were not taken into the economy. And this shift is making it all about the people, all about the individuals. And think about that. I mean, how many people in the world have disabilities of some sort? Think about those numbers. If we include senior citizens, babies who are born and everything that happens between that age span, consider the number of people with disabilities. That's a pretty large market share; isn't it?
So let me just say that again. Because I have a sense you may not believe me about this. People with disabilities have different sensory, intellectual, physical, emotional capacities. And they run the spectrum. And we are now the new majority in the marketplace. We are.
We're going from the old economy that did not value us and our wants and our needs and behaviors in any way shape or form. But in the next 20 years, companies are going to be running around making products that we want, that meet our needs. Because we need these to meet our needs so we can behave in the ways we want to behavior. You create the independence we want to create and that's going to be sought out by these companies of if you don't believe me, let's wait 20 years and see how things pan out. Because I guarantee that's what's to come.
A healthy new economy is one in which companies, organizations, AUCD centers, all across the nation, you will allow people to create value. Christine, being one example of that, working at AUCD under Andy, she just created for all of you today. She got up and chose to use sign language in her introduction. And, in fact, she can speak very well. But she chose something different to provide the value of experience and attention to language. It's not about deafness, right?
She and I really are hearing loss and our experience may be very, very different from one another. But that truly doesn't matter. But what does matter is that we both are fluent in two languages. American Sign Language and English. And that's our shared experience between the two of us. And, so, she demonstrates that value of a visual language by using it here. You may not see that used very often here at AUCD, and I know many of you want to see it used often, and that's part of the reason why I'm here as well and Andy says that. But that's part of the commitment that's demonstrated in this room by the invitation.
The new economy will can young people different questions. Actually it will ask all of us this question. What value do you bring to today's world? What ideas do you have today? It's not about uniformity and standardization anymore. It's about how you can make a difference in the day-to-day work that you're doing. In fact, literature and research actually reveals that we need to have a breaking of the chain of that uniformity and standardization. Universities are well-designed and built in such a way that they create this standardization.
Universities likes to create systems of uniformity that are very consistent and very standard, and very fair in the way they go about functioning. But that's not the system of the future. The future actually, veers away from that uniformity. So we're challenged to create jobs that are creative, and will create the products that we need today.
I actually saw a great article by the new iPhone, and it's telling me why I should buy it, and why it's worth $1,000 price tag. And it's fascinating with some of the marketing materials. Truly fascinating and amazing. But it's that kind of innovation that will really shift the focus to real people and the application of these product to people and what we're doing. And it's key to creating access of opportunities for people with disabilities in the future.
Last thing, and this ties into higher education and to all of us in this room especially. It's that learning and hiring education will no longer be the monopoly where universities and colleges really hold the key to providing that knowledge and new learning. We have to, instead, respond and create opportunities for learning when the learning and learners are ready and the best place for that learning will happen in those respective areas.
We look to the desires of the learners and those particular points of their lives and we provide the learning that's adaptive to those needs. And speaking of colleges and universities, and higher education these days, where are we and where have we come from? Looking back to our history, how many of you come from land-grant universities? How many of your universities are land-grant? Okay. So substantial number of you.
I just want to remind you just for a moment about the history of land-grant universities back in 1862, the Morrell act was signed by President Lincoln and two years after that, Abraham Lincoln signed the charter for Gallaudet at 1864. That was by no accident those two occurred so closely together. If you think of our political leadership at that time, there was a true understanding that they wanted things, if they wanted things to go well, education could not only belong to the privileged few. They understood and they knew that we had to democracy our knowledge and I think the best success in the world how it relates to our learning in our country and this is why America has become so dominant because the investment in our Congress that's been made in high education. And it goes back to 1862 in the passage of the Morrell Act.
So that Act was in place. Provided funding for centers and universities all over the country. With the idea that now universities and education would be affordable and accessible to those who are in the farm raising their farms and raising their children and wherever you lived in the United States, you the option and possibility of having an education. Two years later after the passage of that Act, the notion was understood that there were deaf schools throughout the United States. In fact, this year marks the 200th anniversary of deaf education here in the United States. Deaf education through visual learning here in America.
So it's been 200 years that we've been doing this education of Deaf children through visual language. And about 50 years after the residential schools were founded here in the United States, they were noticing many Deaf people were graduating ready to go go on to the next level of education but there was no place to go. So with that, the establishment of Gallaudet University came to be. And it's the first and only time in the history of the world that a university was sanctioned by a government to provide access to deaf learners through sign language and through English.
153 years later, the sad story is that we still continue to be the only one in the world. And as President of Gallaudet, I want to make sure that we can make an impact for visual learners throughout the world, not only here in America, but throughout the world.
So if we look to the history, and I'm just doing a QuickTime check here with Mary. Okay. So if we look to the history of higher education and where we came from, with very noble purposeful beginning looking to the impact, which of course was very successful at that time and then over the span of 150 years, where we've come.
What crept into this system was this notion of competition. Competition actually generated an awful a lot of great ideas, it created momentum and higher education unlike any other period of time in American history. Perhaps forever in the world in fact. We saw spurge of research that was spurred on by competition at that time. And very typical fashion, as we know humans to be, when this appears, there's that gold standard that gets set. Set by colleges and universities like Harvard and Cornell and other Ivy League institutions.
And what happened was is that the competition started to emulate in these gold institutions. And with that emulation comes uniformity. See where I'm going with this? We're going back to the uniformity, and standardization, and devaluing of people and of knowledge and individual perception, and creates further then stagnation.
Increased cost also comes as a result of that process. And that leads to us where we are today. Well, I guess that's where we were, I should say, we would have been over the last 5 years and where we have been, every college President has been paying attention to this issue. Every C.E.O., every Executive Director and government agency has been concerned about thinking how we can come back to this idea of innovation. How can we institute the notion of creativity and in our institutions because that's what will drive the higher education in the future. It's innovation that will lead to sustainability for our future of education.
Because we'll be preparing students to have the skills and the knowledge they need in order to thrive in a very complex world. Research as many of you know has become much more integrated and much more focused on the complex problems we want to solve. It's not research just for the sake of research any longer. And I want to share something with you. I know it's a little bit of political and academic but I want to mention it regardless. We know research and it's a process of mechanism in higher education, and, in fact, mechanism that really is really excluding the rest of the nation.
And in this misses out on so much. Their relationship of the people that have and allows them to get research published. And we get a great concern in communities of disability, because we can help them think outside of the box as research, but they don't recognize the value that we can contribute. So the shift that needs to happen is how can we get this mechanism of uniformity and privilege access to shift? How can we have it democratized with people of education in disability. Because when that happens, this will follow. Problem-solving and all will explode in extraordinary ways.
So I'd like to share with you couple of parallels here. You might find interesting. And I didn't put Gallaudet within the college and universities in the first tier of this diagram here.
We have the typical colleges and universities throughout the United States and throughout the world depicted in the upper level of this diagram. The universities within which you function have your centers for translation as well. AUCD, destination services.
And many of the universities and colleges here in the United States focus an awful lot on inclusion. This idea of inclusion and how we can bring everyone here to learn together in this similar place.
So there's two prongs that result from this approach. One is access. And we all know that's key. Right? You know what accommodations people need and what kind of note taking people can provide and what needs to be in place for people to succeed in college.
Second prong of this is focused attention given to research and innovation. And, you know, we talk a lot about Universal design many of your centers, your leaders are leading thinkers about Universal design and education. And it's related to policy and impact through the center and this approach.
So we have a history that parallels yours and Gallaudet. And I can share my perspective on this. It may be right. It might be wrong. But it's just for the sake of discussion that I offer this notion. Gallaudet University just like all of you thought about research and teaching, we're about policy and impact as well. But one thing that is interesting about Gallaudet is that we graduate students who go on to become leaders in our community and around the world and we remain connected to one another very often.
And I have to tell you, just one small, it might seem a ridiculous example. But I was at a homecoming event at Gallaudet couple of weeks ago, and every one of the classes celebrating their anniversary years from the class of 1970 through 1980 and 1990. All those classes knew the records for each of their class activities that they had achieved in their years in college. I mean what reunion brings people where they're also competing within their classes across decades who held certain records. And they haven't gone to college together in these respective decades. You are kidding me. We can solve this dispute about the statistics and get our data right, but it really spans decades of people who remain connected. And even those who have never attended Gallaudet during the same period of time, think feel this connection. And I don't think you see this in other colleges or unites. But here's the distinction. Here's what makes it different.
Here's the difference that may explain why you all have struggled so much as we get the Deaf community engaged in the work that you're doing of your institutions have an expectation that we, as Deaf people, come in and accommodate, or receive accommodations to your language, the English language, which is the dominant language within your institutions.
You have that well-established dominant paradigm. American Sign Language is not the dominant language. So if you have one person who's deaf entering that system, such as myself and all my entire career, I was always the one Deaf person in law school where I was working, but when I left disability services, I found myself I was only the person Deaf person serving. As the healthcare executive, I was the only person. As a non-profit, I was the only one. So I was constantly trying to fit in with the world and always trying to figure out what was happening within that sphere.
The world doesn't have to be curious about ASL. The world doesn't have to be curious about visual learning. The world doesn't have to be curious about the fact or wonder why it is all of you and most of you who are driving here, I guess I have to attest to Gallaudet and this actually works. If you are driving and another car pulls besides you at a light, and you look over and you wave to the person next to you, if that person is hearing, they almost never see you and wave back. Unless they happen to be looking in your direction. No matter how much you wave at them, you are not focused. But if you pull along a Deaf person wave, and you'll immediately get their attention and wave hello. The research shows that from birth, with visual cues, I want to share that parents who are learning design, the few signs they're picking up gestures in order to connect with their deaf babies, those babies will actually have brains developed with visual capacity unlike other babies who don't have at a visual access. And those first year, if that child does not have visual access or stimulus, their brain will no longer thrive. We have better peripheral vision, better capacity in those ways, we see things differently because of our brains. Our brains are biologically equivalent at birth, and as we acquire a visual language, we see a different stimulation and thrive within our brains.
So if we can go back to the previous slide. Just pointing out here that the divide, we have access and at Gallaudet, we're trying hard to figure out access for people who are non-signers. We want to create opportunities for access for learning and visualization for people who don't sign. Because we have many people who don't sign. Just like you, have you students who sign and you want them to accommodate to a language that's different. And you have a minority of language in our majority and is just the opposite. And, so, it calls upon us to persist.
And when I say "persist" I mean persist in the generation of research, innovation, and ideas, and designs that are grounded in the experience of visual people and those who use the visual language. And that's what we're about at Gallaudet. And our struggling fit the broader world, the dominant world that uses spoken English, very often what we have to do is we have to work hard to preserve this space for the secondary work that needs to happen. That fight to preserve our language and culture makes many people frustrated with us.
Because if you're not align with what we're doing, we just don't have time. You know, we can fight for access to publication and it's your world of higher education, but at the same time we have to fight to preserve what we have and what we know to be true in our minority explaining culture. And that's an incredible exhausting burden.
And our faculty and our staff, our students get up every single day and do it over, and over, and over again, fight over and over again as they have for 150 years for these rights. And it's just remarkable and there's no place I'm prouder to be right now than Gallaudet University.
I don't have to tell about you the state of higher education for people with disabilities. I'm sure you're well aware. But here's what I do want you to know and want to think about it. It's really not about what happens at the point of entry for someone. Many of us understand that it's early childhood where the focus needs to happen. From birth to the first 3 years regardless of that child's experience. At birth, what's most important and how it happens there is the best predictor of their success in college years later. No one in this room can afford only to be looking at the lifespan, a period of time that focuses on college education. Because what happens in those years is well-informed by what happens in those early years. Making a difference in those early years will make a significant difference in what happens and in the daily area of higher education.
So this brings me to the idea of adaptive leadership and I don't know how many of you are familiar with the adaptive leadership. If you were, then I won't spend much time. This approach and adaptive leadership model.
Adaptive leadership basically helps you think about the way you work and how you can work moving forward. You know, it's human nature, it's purely human nature when a problem surfaces, we jump quickly to find a solution. That's the emotion we experience. We are conditioned and well-trained to respond to problems in this way. To settle the problem, to solve it immediately as quickly as possible. But we also know that we move, when we move too quickly, we often miss the opportunity to just struggle and grapple in that space of ambiguity.
And what high fete calls this zone of remain and I'll come back to the next one.
I don't know if you can see the gray area in the upper center of that slide. I used this at an APA convention, and I talked to a group of psychologist. But just in summary, the gray area, you see that when an issue arises, there's a certain amount of stress that's created. And there's the X-axis and the y-axis. And the X represents express and Y expresses length of time. You see the peak period? The stress may be that you come across a child who's been born deaf. Guess what happens? Insurance and if you look at the doctor's tool bag, very often, they have to give this child resources such as hearing aid, auditory based tools, they are just abundant in nature. There's an abundance of auditory based tools and resources.
And if a child is born with spina bifida, they have all kinds of tools available. Medical intervention, wheelchair and surgery and all those toolkit they have as practitioners. But we know from our individual experiences, it's the family that's key in this area. It's how the family can adapt and accommodate a child who is different than they are in terms of how they interact and communicate with the child. It's the family that's accommodating and that's coming into the child's life. And, so, the zone of discomfort is where we find the most effective parents stay for the longest period of time. Because there they manage the ambiguity and the tension and experience that comes with it, asking questions, continuing to explore along the way, holding that stress and tension until finally they come across the answer and they move that zone of discomfort then. And then the adaptive fix is enduring within that zone of discomfort as long as possible. If you move too quickly to solve that problem and get out of that technical fix, that problem resurface and you go through that cycle of seeing that zone and cycle into that zone of discomfort stress come and go. But if we stay that in zone along enough, we see it will peak for a period of time, and the solution that comes is a solution that will allow some endurance. And I never have heard the term so much used as often as the word "solution." Because we never want to talk about solutions. Instead of the note of counter measure is used. When you're actively seeking a solution, you're going to create a certain consequence. But when you have a technical fix, it will immediately solve the problem faster. And you will struggle constantly. But when you get to an adaptive fix, there's much more of a smooth transition where the problem is realized and the solution then comes along. And I'm apologizing to the interpreter. This is the most horrible thing I could do to the interpreter coming with new material unprepared.
So those of you who are more cognitively oriented here in the audience, I want to talk about adaptive leadership. But I want to move to the notion of what gets in the way of strong problem-solving approaches. And creativity. The strong clear approaches to how we can solve problems that we face together. And that's the work that we do everyday.
What's needed is our own self-awareness. Of our own cognitive biases that exist. And let me just give you an example. I'm sure the largest percentage of you are auditory learners, or you're spoken language users. And for you to shift to using a sign language feels awkward. It feels strange. It may be embarrassing. A cumbersome thinking I can't be myself because I'm trying to communicate in this different language. It takes hard work. It takes a lot of learning. And our brains are very efficient. The brain just wants to find the easy way out. And, so, you will tend to begin speaking and signing a little bit, then you'll revert mostly back to spoken language because that's predominant language. It's not easy to shift to ASL. It's to resist that shift. So how is it for people to sit in a wheelchair to get from one point to the neck? I'm sure they prefer to walk. The brain is going to tell you unconsciously there's an easier way to do this. The path we know is the past of least resistance. The cognitive bias really comes around four different areas. There's social memory decision-making. The belief based biases. I don't have time to go through each biases, but I could encourage to explore this for yourself. Personal exploration. Because your work and your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, cannot thrive, cannot succeed unless you do your own interspeculative work. And really examine what are the biases and ways you hold?
Right? How do you become aware of these unconscious ways of being that you have? And when you become aware, then the hard work begins. It's then, with that self-awareness, shifting your behaviors. Because once you become aware of your cognitive biases, and let me just give you an example, a simple example of cognitive bias. When you see a group of African-American males in their 20s, coming down the street towards you, if you're a white woman, or a white man, you're going to look at that group and you're going to have an impulse to cross the street, right? It's just an impulse. That's one of those unconscious behaviors that comes from this bias. But when you become aware of your behavior and that impulse to cross the street, and you pause for a moment, and you take a look before you may be cross the street. But if you see that group and you see them laughing and having a good time, then you realize there's no threat here. There is no threat. You know, the lesson I had in this one, I was young 20 years ago and I was with my spouse. And there were two of us. Females walking down the street. And clearly, a couple, and driving by us there was a car full of teenagers. White teenagers with shotguns pointed right at us. They thought it was funny. They thought it was funny to threaten to shoot us. I mean, imagine you know, who's a threat to me? I'm telling you right now, it's not the young African-American males and they're not going to hold the shotgun to shoot us. But it was these white young teenagers who did. So, again, that bias and shift to awareness, if then shifts to awareness of our own awareness and changes our world views about who really are our threats.
And for my case, who is the threat to myself and my spouse?
I had an African-American police officer come to my house and I said, you know, this is the first time that I want to carry a gun. And they said to me, you know what? You have to carry a shotgun these days to have the impact you want in protecting your safety and the times we live in. Here was an African-American man encouraging me to take a path of peace opposed to the path that I was considering. So we all have work to do related to racism, sexism, Audism, ableism, and the like.
We all have an extensive amount of work. Belief based discrimination and the list goes on. Political discrimination. So I love this cartoon. Just to add a little bit of humor to this presentation. So did you read my paper on confirmation biases. And one scientist says, right, it already proved what I already knew. [Laughter]
So how many times has that happened in academia? More times than I want to admit, let me tell that you.
So I've been talking a lot lately about ways of thinking related to our experiences of people with disabilities. And those of you involved in the lives and committed to the promotion of people with disabilities to make a greater and better world for everyone. Since the passage of A.D.A. since the 1990s, that law created the rights for accommodations.
And very specifically technical approaches in order to ensure people had access, right? So we followed that. We would litigate with the A.D.A. behind us, unlike any other Civil Rights law in this country. This law was litigated in the courts probably more than any other Civil Rights law. Litigating the definition of disability. Some ridiculous decisions came down and some great decisions came down the pipe but not whole a lot of consistency. And we got smart. It's not just about accommodations. It's not all that we want. We want access. It's about attitude. It's about information. It's physical and social access. Right? We all got smart and we adapted as we should do, we adapted.
And then we came to realize that we're getting more of what we want. We're getting more of our needs. And we're moving up in the world. But the language I believe we need to use, the language that's truly welcoming that creates a sense of belonging for everyone is the language that poses the question. What does it take to thrive? We know that when we shift things for people with disabilities, like curb cuts back in 1973, some of you were around back then. Some weren't. The fight around the country to get curb cuts put in in cities and counties all over the place. People were screaming for curb cuts. You know, and people were wondering who need curb cuts. We never saw them before and that's the point. You've never seen them. Because there's never been curb cuts. But guess what happens? We all know and I know personally being a mother of two boys, they both are skateboarders. And I skateboard. And I was able to skateboard pretty good until 43. I still keep up with them. But my skateboards, my oldest love is the long Board. And my youngest is getting into that as well. But they like to take risks. Curb cuts are not for moms and strollers and cyclists. They're for long borders. Today kids like to skateboard and coast. They don't have to worry about getting over the curb or doing be a kind of tricks to do that. They like that long sustained skateboarding that curb cuts afford them. So it's allowed everyone to thrive as a result of our having curb cuts.
And that's pretty incredible, right? And that's an example of kind of thing we need to hold everyday in our work that we do, remembering the greater good that can be realized. Thriving is also about learning. It's about learning how people learn and responding in different ways to the way people learn. So, I have some things that Gallaudet accomplished. I have about 2 minutes if you don't mind of my material remaining here that I would like to cover before I end.
Gallaudet has been around for 150 years and I like to tell you about what we're doing because it gives a deeper tie between AUCD and Gallaudet and everyone around the country. We are the first university in the world and the only one that provides access to education through sign language. We were the first to discover that sign language was a bona fide language. Did you know that people told researchers, one being Bill Stokoe, they told him to stop promoting sign language because we were embarrassed he was researching sign language. We just believed we had gestures, languages used by animals. That's because we have been told by the systems around us. It took a hearing English professor who almost knew no sign language to recognize that what you're doing is a true language and Deaf people at Gallaudet, you know, think often or hear people think there's no place for hearing people at Gallaudet. But that's not the case.
The one thing about Bill Stokoe he was committed to research and embodied what you knee to create a path of discovers that led to 120 different sign language being recognized all over the world. And I don't know if you know this, but there are over 300, some say over 400 over the world that continue to be discovered. And I mean, that's incredible to think of that many languages just now being discovered.
We're doing communication engineering. We call that program the telecommunication access program. And I came into the group, and I said, oh, no, no, no. We need to patent. And I told we need to patent for this real-time texting. And we've been texting long before the TTY and sending those signals across the line and those shrunk and become smaller. But we've been doing this texting thing for 60 years. It's new to you, but not new to us. We've been communication engineers forever just providing access to our community. That's what we call this. Not what we formerly called it. We've also been making discovers by babies and their brains and access to early language and want importance of that. And how people discriminate against language. It's people who do this discrimination and not the brain. Whether a child is born deaf, hard-of-hearing or the brain is just looking for patterns they can recognize as language. Whether that language comes visually or auditoria doesn't matter. It's language that they're getting. So 3 suggestions. I am out of time. But I have 3 suggestions for how we can work together for AUCD and Gallaudet. And you see couple of them here on the slide.
The power of what is in this room right now as it relates to learning and how people learn is understanding that it is dynamic that we come together. There is untapped potential. There's a mind of untapped potential of knowledge and experience of how people learn. And each of the different learners who exist in our worlds. I mean, imagine what would happen if we could get technology, artificial intelligence, that could find different ways for us to be able to generate pathways of learning that would be all-inclusive for everyone's individual learning experiences? I mean think about that. What could happen in this room could be unmatched anywhere in the world if we were to pull together that level of understanding.
I've already talked about the synergy. If we can come together to solve complex problems. I won't repeat it here. But we have different silos that we work within. The silos of knowledge that needs to be brought together to address these complex problems and solve them together.
Now, many of you work with developmental delayed children and their families. And you know, in the birth through 12 arena. So I just want to acknowledge that is significant. And for many of us, it's this work that we're doing that is focused on higher education. But we have to, as I've mentioned earlier, find ways to look to the problems in higher education, understand how those problems are actually generated, the Genesis of those problems happened years ago in the early years of the students and create new pathways of learning along that way. New ways that we teach our children in the future so these problems are changed and altered. Can you imagine if we can come together and work together? In small thoughtful experiment where through time and time again, maybe 1 out of 10 may thrive. I bet 3 out of 10 would thrive if we pull our minds and energy. We can be innovative and experimental and I've actually talked with Andy a little bit about how we might be able at Gallaudet, you know, we are one small University. We have 1700 students that we serve. 185 to 187 faculty and look how big this room is? You know, our faculty and staff with benefit greatly from partnerships that can be formed with systematic designs that would allow us not just to have these one off work where we kind of pick off our faculty to work singularly with you one of you. But we do this systematically. We push Gallaudet to be more thoughtful and strategic in the way we approach our work together. The way that came up was, you know, Congress recognized, if Congress were to recognize you see as a center and fund our backing as a center. And Congress would be interested in that in my year and year-and-a-half in my working with Congress and working with you in that capacity of and each person develop a way being in the world. Where personal experience differ with different abilities and different identities. We see it holds key ways of creating knowledge in the future.
And helping others realize that they cannot afford to leave us out. The world cannot afford to leave us out. We're in at Gallaudet. And I want to thank you for your attention here today.
Thank you, President Cordano, for that extraordinary keynote. Which I think you gave us a lot to think about. You know that I support having more UCEDD, as long as the money come from the exist UCEDD. [Laughter] We'll work together to create more money.
So, I think we asked people to write down questions. It's not clear to me who's collecting the questions. So if you can pass them to the central aisle, people will materialize and collect them. We have very little time for questions, but as we're collecting the written questions, I'm going to lead off with a quick question for Dr. Cordano. And I'm worried that your response to the question will take up the remainder of our time. So you have 60 seconds to respond.
BOBBI CORDANO: I'll work on that.
My question is, there were a lot of autistic children who also experience deafness or hearing loss. And just any word of advice for the folks and our audience who specialize in serving autistic children, what should they be thinking about around the Deafness and here loss and the intersections?
BOBBI CORDANO: So I'm going to take a 50,000 view perspective in my response here to relate to this issue. Let's start somewhere else. Could you imagine if every baby, when they were born were exposed to sign language and spoken language? Every baby from the get-go? How many babies you know that used sign language? With your grandchildren and children. The movement is already happening. So this idea that every baby would be exposed to both languages enhances that child later. If if they should be diagnosed later on with autism, this will enhance their communication. And they will thrive if they can get that exposure to a visual language.
Another question is what resources do you recommended for teachers and professors to be able to provide education to those with disabilities that's adaptive to lesson determining style? For example, are there websites or books or podcasts or journals that would be good? And I'll add some of those might be produced at Gallaudet. So this is a chance to promote anything you're pushing out into the world.
BOBBI CORDANO: Sure, right now it's really important for you who are teachers or involved with teachers to get on the bandwagon and learn about digital learning, and adaptive learning. You know, that's key. We, right now, have a major push at Gallaudet with all our faculties. We begin this work with faculty and our Vice Chair of our faculty is here today. Caroline and her mom and her uncle is here in this audience and she's been part of this effort as it relates to this leadership. This is about creating a future of digital tools that will meet the learner's need, where the learner is at. So the faculty role is more of coaching and fostering learning. So this is where I really think, if we were to have the trajectory into the future, teaching and teachers will be really looking to acquiring things that will make this approach work and ensure that this is the approach that will have the most impact with our knowledge and we can see that of course given the knowledge in the room.
So there's another question. I was just trying to get somebody to bring me the card. That would be great. Thanks!
So I think -- thank you.
So I think this may be the last question that we have time for. But I'm going to type these up and send them to you, Dr. Cordano and in your spare time, if you want to answer all the other questions we would appreciate it. I heard this one from Senator Harkin. And the question is we have a substantial shortage of ASL interpreters for our needs. I assume this is coming from somebody from a campus. How can we reconcile the community's need to advance our institution's recruitment effort? So if people want to have more folks who are deaf and who use ASL as students, faculty staff, and they're in a geography like Iowa, where there may not be the interpreters that are qualified to provide that, what is the best approach to take using the adaptive leadership style that you talked about?
BOBBI CORDANO: So 3 things. If the students are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing and they're struggling at your university, you should consider sending them to Gallaudet. [Laughter] 17 different universities here in the DC area. I mean, why not? Right? Why not? Direct learning from a faculty who uses the language. You know?
You know, if you have an interpreter sitting here, you lose 30 to 60% of the information by the student actually gets that message from the professor. Do you realize that's how much is lost? Human brain cannot absorb all the information being said. It's filtered by the interpreter. We're talking 30 to 40% is communicated by the best interpreters. Second thing is don't compete. Cooperate with Gallaudet and cooperate with the Deaf community. We prefer corporation over competition and my hope would be we would be able to provide direct communication and direct online teaching so you can offer some of these courses to your students online if they want to stay home and locally, they can access the education online. And another point is if you have a student maybe just for couple of years to come to Gallaudet and build their accomplishment and build the base knowledge, then they come back your university once they have that base and with that, let's not talk about building up interpreters. Let's talk about building up deaf faculty and staff who sign themselves. Where are they? Right?
[Applause] Exactly.
You know when the K-12 setting back in the 1800, early 1900, 43% of the teachers in the Deaf schools were deaf themselves. Now, it's under 12%. Under 12% of the teachers in schools who are deaf. Your educational programs for deaf education really should have a pipeline of deaf teachers. You know, deaf students taking these classes in your programs, so look at figure out why they're not there. And that's the work you have cut out for you. When it comes to interpreters, we are looking at many options for increasing the resources. And the skill building for interpreters throughout the country.
You know, interpreters are important. I very much respect their work and I understand the complexity of what they do. There's a lot that can be offered in terms of training for professional development in their work at your universities and colleges.
So, we're out of time. Please join me once again in thanking Bobbi Cordano.
BOBBI CORDANO: Thank you! Thank you so much! Thank you, Andy. And I would like to invite all of to take a look at Gallaudet, come and visit, come see our visual language, visual learning lab. It's called VL2. And come visit the visual language visual learning lab. And that's where the most repeat research on cognitive neuroscience is happening.
We also have emotion light lab as well. But we would like to come visit. Please come visit and you can check out the website for more information.
President President Cordano for the insightful and engaging discussion.
We sincerely appreciate your comments. And your forward-thinking ideas about transforming Higher Ed in the new economy.
At this time, I'd like to invite everyone upstairs to our concurrent and ask you to enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you.

Posted on November 6, 2017

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