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July 26, 2012

SUCCESS Program Provides College Experience for Students with Intellectual Disabilities; Program Is First of its Kind in Maryland

Chelsea Williams
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Andrea Thomas Harrison
Maryland Department of Disabilities

Today, as part of Maryland’s 22nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebration, Governor Martin O’Malley announced the launch of the SUCCESS program, Maryland’s first four-year post-secondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities. A partnership between the Maryland Department of Disabilities and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the SUCCESS program will enable Marylanders with intellectual disabilities to develop their independence, critical thinking, problem-solving and employment skills in a university setting.

“Maryland continues to lead the way in quality public education. As we celebrate the 22nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we continue to demonstrate our strong commitment to ensuring that all Marylanders can enjoy the freedoms of independence, equal access, choice and inclusion with dignity and respect,” said Governor O’Malley. “The SUCCESS program exemplifies these most valuable beliefs and represents an outstanding opportunity to support young people with intellectual disabilities as they expand their horizons and accomplish their goals beyond secondary education.”

Freeman Hrabowski, president of UMBC, joined Governor O’Malley in making the announcement at the annual ADA celebration. "At UMBC we strive for innovation and creativity in our approach to teaching and learning. This program will provide opportunities for SUCCESS participants and degree-seeking UMBC students to gain new skills that will benefit them as they enter the workforce and continue with their lives," he said.

A four-year non-credit college initiative, the SUCCESS program is unique in that it gives participants the opportunity to experience college life alongside UMBC’s degree-seeking students – interacting with their peers through a wide array of inclusive, educational, social and recreational campus-based activities. As part of the program, SUCCESS participants will take a first year seminar class with degree-seeking students; initiate and take the lead on a service learning project with support from degree-seeking students through UMBC’s service-learning program; complete an internship with an on-campus department; take a course on independent living; and participate in the many opportunities available as part of campus life. UMBC faculty members are also working on designing courses that will allow students and SUCCESS participants to continue to learn and increase their skills.

The SUCCESS program will be housed in the Shriver Center at UMBC. Named for Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics, the Shriver Center promotes the integration of civic engagement, teaching, learning, and discovery on campus, regionally, and nationally. “We want to fully integrate SUCCESS participants into all aspects of collegiate life,” said Michele Wolff, director of UMBC’s Shriver Center. “The SUCCESS program is a natural outgrowth of the Shriver and Kennedy family values.”

The first SUCCESS students will arrive on the UMBC campus in Fall 2012. Students will be chosen on the basis of applications that included resumes, transcripts, letters of reference, an essay on “Why I want to go to college” and in-person interviews.

Founded in 1966, UMBC is increasingly recognized as one of the nation's most innovative research universities with a commitment to top-tier scholarship, cutting-edge research, and civic engagement. An Honors University, UMBC is a mid-sized, public institution that attracts high-achieving students to its undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts, sciences, and engineering. UMBC is considered a national leader in attracting outstanding students from all backgrounds and helping them succeed academically. The university currently enrolls 13,199 students, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 150 countries.

For the third year in a row, UMBC has been named the number one "Up-and-Coming" national university by the U.S. News & World Report America's Best Colleges Guide, and appears on a list of the top national universities "where the faculty has an unusual commitment to undergraduate teaching" (a list that includes such schools as Princeton, Brown, Yale, and Stanford Universities). By way of instruction, research, and service activities, UMBC remains dedicated to its mission of offering talented students a strong, academic foundation that will prepare them for graduate and professional study, entry into the workforce, and community service and leadership.

Posted by chelseah at July 26, 2012 4:54 PM