Students with disabilities can be integrated into university culture and prepare themselves for career success with a partnership at Kent State’s Trumbull campus. 

The campus is home to Siffrin Academy this fall, following the lead of the Stark campus that welcomed the organization in 2019. Siffrin will have access to a classroom and an office specifically for their students and instructors. 

“Siffrin Academy is an organization that is dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities integrate to society and have a full range of opportunities and experiences,” said Daniel Palmer, interim dean at Trumbull campus.

The organization at Trumbull will be run very similarly to the Kent location, Palmer said. 

Trumbull is simply providing a facility for Siffrin that provides its students with the opportunity for greater social interaction within a campus setting. The goal is to get both groups of students to interact with each other more. 

High-functioning adult students with all levels of developmental disabilities are welcomed to the academy for education.

Students can vary in age anywhere from 18-32, Palmer said. The Trumbull location plans to start with 8-10 students for its first year, but Palmer hopes for the numbers to grow as the partnership evolves. 

Along with regular classwork, students who qualify will also participate in educational trips, community volunteerism and Kent State Trumbull classes, according to Siffrin.

Both the hands-on and standard classwork are designed to prepare them with the educational skills needed to transition into future careers.

Students will have access to the Trumbull library, café and other resources to ensure interaction with other students as much as possible, Palmer said. 

Providing the organization with a campus location allows students with disabilities graduating from high school and/or on the path to employment to be provided with a place to succeed educationally and socially. 

The goals of Siffrin and Kent State Trumbull align well, making for a great partnership, Palmer said.

“Trumbull is an open-access campus,” Palmer said, “and we encourage work with the community.”

Brad Vincent, chief executive officer for Siffrin, expects a lot of good things to come from the partnership, according to the official announcement made on Trumbull’s website

“This has been on Siffrin’s bucket list for a long time,” Vincent said. “At Siffrin we try to break down barriers. Social, financial, physical, etc. Trumbull is a part of this process as well.”

Siffrin has agreed to follow the Flashes Safe Seven procedures practiced on campus this year to ensure safe interaction.

Jessica Cobb cover regionals/teaching. Contact her at jcobb14@kent.edu.

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