Inclusive post-secondary attitude at MHC
Supporting students to fulfill their dreams of living the college experience is both a privilege and passion for Karen Neuman.
With over 20 years of experience in the education system, Neuman has committed her career to working with students who are at-risk or have development disabilities. She started at Medicine Hat College (MHC) five years ago and represents Inclusion Alberta on campus, a non-profit organization that provides advocacy and support for children and adults living with developmental disabilities across Alberta.
“MHC opens the door to a broad scope of learners,” explains the Inclusive PostSecondary Education coordinator. “This initiative demonstrates one more way MHC reaches diverse learners who look towards being contributing members of our college community and to the community of Medicine Hat after completion of their studies.”
Four students are enrolled at MHC this year in a variety of programs including criminal justice, general studies, environmental science, and occupational therapy/physical therapy assistant. Faculty and administration have embraced the concept and students feel supported in their studies.
The students audit the courses and Neuman, together with educational facilitator Tanya Keeler, assist the students academically by managing their workload and helping adapt course material to their learning style. Students may have past academic experiences where they have been separated or excluded from typical learning environments so to have them be part of the college culture, instructional inclusion and routine is critical to their experience.
At the end of their studies, students receive a Certificate of Completion and walk across the stage at convocation with their peers. Neuman also connects students and graduates with work placements, provides advocacy for families within the community, and supports colleagues from other provincial post-secondary initiatives with aspects of their work.
“Seeing a student attend convocation and cross the stage with their peers is a proud moment for me and a special part of my job. It’s an honour to share in the experience with the student and their family," says Neuman.