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George Hagerty & Shelly Chandler Drs. George Hagerty, President of Beacon College, and Shelly Chandler, Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs, will be presenting at the 4th International Conference on Disability & Rehabilitation In Saudi Arabia this week. Both were invited through the Prince Salman Center for Disability Research, and the prince is even expected to attend some sessions. Beacon College is one of only two American colleges to have representatives as presenters for this conference.
Both Dr. Hagerty and Dr. Chandler will be presenting on Monday, October 20th. The audience is expected to range from influential professionals such as educators, researchers, and doctors to parents of children with disabilities. This will provide an exceptional opportunity to interact with people from many different professional backgrounds and perspectives and also different countries and cultures.
In a session entitled “Lighting the Way to Learning for Students with Learning Disabilities,” Dr. Chandler will be providing an overview of the Beacon College model, which through the exceptional graduation and employment rates, has proven to be successful over the College’s 25 year history. Dr. Chandler will highlight the unique features of the model, such as the emphasis on small class sizes with multimodal methods of teaching, authentic assessment, and a human element of working with each individual student and his/her own needs; and the inclusion of Learning Specialists as the cornerstone of the program.
About her upcoming experience, Dr. Chandler says, “Given the male dominated nature of Saudi Arabia, it’s a rare opportunity for a woman to be able to travel to this region and be respected as a teacher. I am really excited and grateful for this chance, and I am also looking forward to immersing myself in this culture; I think it will be really interesting to get an inside look into it.”
In his two-hour session “Establishing Functional Special Education Policies and Guidelines,” Dr. Hagerty will be providing a historical narrative of the evolution of American federal and state regulations from the 1970s to the present, along with a review of challenges faced in implementing these changes. With his involvement in the U.S. Department of Education at its inception, Dr. Hagerty is uniquely qualified to speak about the challenges and progress made in the field of special education in America.
The second part of the session will be a workshop format for participants to consider what issues are faced in education now. Knowing that a variety of countries will be represented and expecting that the cultural differences in education policy and role will make consensus as to the most pressing educational needs difficult, Dr. Hagerty plans to stress ideas and issues that should be considered, both those practical and theoretical in nature.
In thinking about the upcoming conference, Dr. Hagerty says, “I relish this opportunity to participate in an international forum professionally but, more importantly, to extend the reach and reputation of Beacon College to a larger global audience. Those of us who represent the American education system when we travel abroad must respect the fact that we have one of the best education systems in the world but that we learn much from other systems and cultures about how we can improve the delivery of education and services to deserving students.
~ Gretchen Dreimiller