Education Coffee Chat

Yesterday I had a great chat with fellow educator, Sherita Love. I met Sherita at Venture Cafe a couple of weeks ago where she put together a panel of other talented educators. This panel spoke about the education inequalities and in the area and what they were doing to examine and affect the problem.

The panel only was able to chat shortly because the audience felt they needed a forum to speak. We need to have roundtables here in St. Louis to talk about education and the awesome programs working to impact education. Sherita is making sure more forums for conversations are open, but people interested in chatting about education need to attend. The best collaborations and ideas can come out of the most unexpected places.

At our coffee chat, Sherita and I talked about some of the needs in the St. Louis area. We talked about assumptions, college readiness (& awareness), education diversity, parent advocacy, transition planning, volunteering, etc. We also talked about cool stuff happening around the St. Louis area to affect education. One such cool thing is the organization Sherita co-founded with another great educator: GLAMM. This is just one of the many cool projects and programs happening around the area. See how you can get involved!

There will be plenty of upcoming conversations about education happening in St. Louis. I’ll post about them here, but would love to see you there! Education is everyone’s right and everyone’s responsibility. Think about how you can make a change in someone’s education. It may be small to you, but huge to them.

My dissertation defense: Experiences of College Students with Disabilities

My dissertation is titled An Exploration of the Lived Experiences of College Students with Disabilities. Some of my friends and colleagues attended to hear the great research. Now you get to watch it and share it with your friends and colleagues! The SlideShare is below as well.

The Grey

Monday night I was assisting in the intervention skills class. This course is aimed at preparing student affairs professionals to support students should they have certain concerns or needs. Our topics this semester range from depression to Autism to identity.

This week’s topic was sexual assault. This is never an easy subject for anyone. With 1 in 4 college women being sexually assaulted, we need to break the silence.

Claudia Charles, Director of Counseling and Wellness at Fontbonne University, spoke to the class about sexual assault and supporting students who may have experienced such an event. She spoke about counseling students who were assaulters and how being present with the student is helpful in keeping biases in check. She also went over general information, including statistics, sexual assault facts, and emotions victims may be experiencing.

There is so much grey in the experience of sexual assault. No, not every victim will say rape even though it was rape. No, not every victim will fight their assaulter. No, not every victim will want to speak out. No, not every victim will come to the acceptance of their sexual assault.

This brings the conversation back to the thought that we need to support those who do come forward about sexual assault. We need to encourage them to seek counseling and hopefully they will report the crime to the police. We need to strongly encourage victims to seek medical attention for their assault.  This is integral in ensuring they are physically ok and collecting any possible evidence should the victim wish to prosecute in the future.

One question I had, as I have never had the experience of accompanying anyone to the emergency room for sexual assault, is what does this experience look like for a person?

Would in the case of people on their parents’ insurance plan result in an explanation of benefits (EOB) mailed home? This could be an issue in instances where the person does not wish to have parents notified. Victims can process the emergency room visit without using insurance, and the visit might be able to be covered by a victim’s grant.

I marvel at how some find the courage to relive their assault in order to seek medical attention, counseling, or to prosecute the assaulter. They are strong and I am proud of those people. Be proud of those people too. Show your support by speaking up about sexual assault. You could be the push someone needs to break the silence.

Read on:

Crime Victim Compensation information

Video about emergency room experience

ER Care for Sexual Assault Victims


Let’s Talk about Sexual Assault

Lady Gaga reacts to sexual assault on college campuses. It’s an epidemic that we’re ignoring. It’s savage. Diminishing. Accepted. Haunting. Common. Isolating.

One in 5 female and 1 in sixteen male college students will be sexually assaulted this year. Think about this: smaller colleges have class sizes of about 15 students. So that means in each classroom you walk past on campus, at least 3 students in that room will be sexually assaulted this year.

Eight out of 10 people know their assaulter. I did.

Sexual assault is something that will stay with you always. Over a decade later, I can still close my eyes and remember every detail.

Sixty-three percent of sexual assault crimes are not reported to the police.

No one asks to be sexually assaulted. Ever.

Help someone you know break the silence. Make sure you listen.

For more information and resources:

RAINN Rape, Abuse & Insest National Network

Sept 21 Washington Post article, “What a massive sexual assault survey found at 27 top U.S. universities”

What Senator McCaskill and others are doing with the Campus Accountability and Safety Act

ACPA Experience

Whew! I’m home now from the 2014 ACPA Convention in Indianapolis and I’m exhausted. The past 4 days were packed with learning, making new connections, and catching up with old friends. What a great time we all had collaborating and sharing our progress and research on topics. I was fortunate enough to share my dissertation research with the ACPA community. I was overwhelmed by the attendance in my session and very appreciative of those choosing to spend time in my session. Overall we had a positive conversation about making students with disabilities feel more welcome on our campuses.

Inside Higher Ed ran an article on the session, and while I don’t agree with the hook they used:


it is good to get the information out and more people in on the conversation.

In the session I asked fellow student affairs folks to consider some action items to tackle when they got to their home campus. I am invigorated by what the people plan to do!

Also, at the closing session today, I received some very poignant words from Brené Brown:

If you are not in the arena and also getting your ass kicked, I am not open to your feedback.

If someone else is in the game with you, listen and appreciate what they have to say, good and bad. If they’re not contributing to the knowledge at large, challenge them to step up to contribute, but ultimately appreciate the risk you took in sharing knowledge and dismiss their feedback.

I encourage you all to get out there, research, tackle those complex situations and always keep Brené’s wise words in minds.

View my presentation from the ACPA Convention below or download ACPA 2014 Presentation Jackie Koerner in pdf.

The Big Day

I’m terribly excited about my presentation in about an hour. I am not nervous at all – only very excited to share this information I have found with others in hopes they will be able to change the outcome for students with disabilities on their respective campuses. I cannot wait for the whole dissertation to be finished so I can share it with the whole world! Well, the part of the world willing to read it.

Hello ACPA

Hello all from ACPA! I have neglected my site for the most part due to dissertation (well, except when snapping pics of the cats while procrastinating on said dissertation). I’m just going to recap some of the energy from the first day:

Good discussion about being Flawsome.
Take it in stride and own up to your mistakes. It’s better in the end, and frankly people like you better if you’re ok with being human.

Met lots of fun people at CelebrACPA.
Music was a bit loud for networking, but we worked it out. 🙂 excited to be more involved with my interest areas and MoCPA.

Safe Spaces or Zones for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
These spaces are devoid of harsh environmental stimuli (fluorescent lighting, loud noises, etc.) and complete with a staff member trained on how to assist students who might need them if they are over stimulated or just overwhelmed by something on campus. Great retreat spaces for students to process the experience they just had.

Masculinity and Disability
Great discussion not only about masculinity and disability but about many things: being human, accepting of others and their mistakes, appreciating people for moving in a different path than we would choose. Finally, discussing the common practice of “removing” people with disability from gender.

Now, I’m off to a coffee and to check out my room for my presentation tomorrow! If you’re here, come to Marriott Indiana G at 10:30 April 1. Students with Disabilities Persisting Through Higher Education: Their Perspective.

Focus on Education

Last week I read this Op-Ed piece Arne Duncan wrote for the Washington Post.  This morning during my commute, I was delighted to hear the upcoming Diane Rehm Show would focus on education discussion for the first hour of the program, and the guest list included Arne Duncan.  The topics included early start of high school, ranking of colleges and their rising cost, early childhood education, and education law.

My comments concerning the discussion are swayed by my firm beliefs regarding a right to education for all and education can benefit all people.

Early Start/Late Start High School
Research has shown starting later gives way to better minds, but where do activities, homework and after school jobs fit into a high school student’s life?  Perhaps start later, and offer sports earlier.  Jump start minds with some zero hour sports!  This is a time to mesh research about exercise and education.  Also, the bus debate will always make staggering the start and release times of schools necessary as long as we make busses the priority.  I think everyone would benefit from school starting no earlier than 8:30 or 9 am.  Being functional at 7 am is a feat for many of us – young, teen and adult.

College Cost and Ranking
The U.S. News and World Report College Rankings are a little swayed.  All of the information depends on how the colleges report it.  What is that joke about violent criminals and white bread? Statistics can be manufactured to show what is meant to show.  For argument’s sake, questions asked to the colleges are potentially interpreted differently by the individuals answering the questions.

The quote about community colleges having a low graduation rate frustrated me for several reasons.  First, some people go to community college with intentions of taking a few classes, but not completing a degree.  Second, some people attend community college with the intent of transferring to another college to complete their degree.  Finally, some people attend community college to test the water to see if they like college.  If not, that is not a fault of their own or the community college.  We should not be focused on production of graduates, but on providing a service to the community served.

Cost is a very passionate topic of mine.  I feel strongly that college is a right and all people should be able to go to college if they so choose.  Some people do fine without higher education, but even if their career does not require a higher degree, the student development in college can lead to a well rounded individual in society.  There should not be a person willing to attend where cost is the prohibiting factor.  No, perhaps not everyone could attend a private school, where costs are also outrageous, but attend some form of higher education regardless of economic class.

Early Childhood Education
Research has shown access to early childhood education can impact the success of students.  A point during the show  focused on assessment of teachers who are teaching students with and without early childhood education, and how students without early childhood education could negatively impact their evaluations.  Perhaps we need to move into a system that looks at growth of a student educationally over the year, instead of the whole population reaching certain standardized test goals.

Perhaps also focus government financial support for children receiving daycare assistance on facilities that provide a meaningful early childhood curriculum.

Education Law and Standardized Testing
At curriculum night for Kari’s school, one of the teachers mentioned the standardized tests were changed this year and the curriculum would be changing slightly to address that change. I remember filling in bubbles after bubbles on standardized tests when I was little.  This portion of the school year was dreadfully dull and I imagine so for other children.  There has to be another answer besides a standardized test philosophy.

Will we as a society figure this out? I hope so.

The Difference Between Telling and Imparting

Ever been in a classroom where you just cannot keep your eyes open?  We all have. Mine was American history my sophomore year of undergrad (Spring 2002).  No matter how much sleep I got or how fast I chugged that Coke, I couldn’t stay focused.  Two things about this struck me: first, I love history and school.  I feel lost without school and I am always eager to learn.  Second, other students were crashing too.  Eventually, the huge lecture class dwindled to fifteen alternating attendees, until test day, when the auditorium would fill up again.

Why was this?  Were we all just poor students?  We weren’t engaged.  The instructor would walk up to the middle of the stage, pull his textbook out of his bag, and proceed to read aloud the chapters we were to read for this class session.

There was only one class where I was strangely awake.  He was asking questions, and we were answering, discussing, and, low and behold, learning.

Engage them.  Discuss.  Activities.  Scenarios.  Something!