As preparation for final exams hits college campuses, students across the country are gearing up for strenuous blocks of studying and reading and are tapping into study groups, learning tools and devices to give themselves an edge.
For students with visual impairments, however, traditional learning environments can be challenging. In 2015, The National Federation of the Blind estimated that less than 15% of individuals who are blind or visually impaired received a bachelor’s degree in higher education. Wichita-based Envision is making strides to improve that statistic.
Envision, which provides employment opportunities, programs and services to help people who are blind or visually impaired, is helping students tackle this extra layer of complexity with the acquisition of the College Success Program (CSP).
“Envision’s acquisition of the College Success Program is a strong complement to the goals of our Workforce Innovation Center as we orient the next generation of students with vision loss toward a successful and accessible future,” said Karyn Page, Envision’s vice president of innovation.
The program was created by Princeton-based Learning Ally and is based on three key research insights.
First and foremost, visually impaired students must come to school ready to direct their own learning. Second, kids are at danger of becoming socially alienated and socially isolated from their peers in the classroom.
Third, students who take ownership of their education and embrace assistive technology have a higher chance of succeeding and keeping up with their sighted peers. The Lavelle Fund for the Blind makes this program feasible.
“We’re excited to see how the College Success Program grows with Envision,” said Mary Alexander, former national program director at Learning Ally, and now with Envision as the CSP senior director. “Envision’s specialty employment programs and services will truly help elevate this program and provide extended resources for students who are blind or visually impaired.”
The program, which was created to aid students in managing their support networks, is a resource both within and outside the classroom. The comprehensive approach makes use of CSP Mentors, who are fresh graduates, as well as other blindness experts.
Envision's Workforce Innovation Center helps teach persons who are blind or visually impaired meaningful job skills that can lead to full-time employment by providing career assistance and resources from the start. A successful college experience is well-known as a necessary step toward employment.
Members of the CSP can also access on-demand resources such as specialist articles, webinars, and a peer and mentor community. The curriculum was created with the greatest accessibility standards in mind, ensuring that students of all abilities may use the program's contents.
The CSP acquisition is a part of Envision’s growth efforts, which also include its expansion to Dallas, Texas, and the additions of David Stupay as the executive director of Envision Dallas, Noreen Carrocci, PhD, as the new senior vice president for Envision’s Foundation and Mission Services, and Karyn Page as Envision’s vice president of innovation.