Not Better, Not Worse, Just Different
New Director of ILD Brings Learning Expertise that Benefits Those with Learning Differences
Federal law requires that all qualified students with disabilities receive services to ensure equal access to all college/university programs. However, students who learn differently often need additional assistance, such as support with the transition from high school to college, as well as continued reinforcement throughout their college career. Offering that added backing in order to ensure a successful college experience is the main impetus behind the Institute for Learning Differences (ILD) at Thomas More College.
Extending a helping hand for those who need it is what drives Amy Osborne, the Institute’s new Director, and is the foundation on which she has built her career. Focusing her livelihood on academically underprepared and at-risk students, Osborne comes to TMC with extensive experience in higher education. Her service includes designing and directing student success centers, coordinating faculty development, and heading student retention initiatives. In addition, Osborne has over 20 years of teaching experience in the areas of mathematics and psychology. At present she is pursuing her doctorate in psychology, focusing on cognition and instruction. She holds a Master of Science in mathematics with an emphasis in statistics from Eastern Kentucky University and a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and physics from Morehead State University.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the Thomas More community and appreciate the foresight of the TMC President David Armstrong, for his direction and leadership in promoting such a needed resource. The enthusiasm and support for the Institute for Learning Differences demonstrated by President Armstrong, the faculty, and staff was integral in my decision to come here,” says Osborne. She continues, “The student-centered environment in the small liberal arts college setting is in direct alignment with my focus on student success. Thomas More College is the place where I can make the greatest positive impact in the student’s life as they find their place in the world.”
The Institute for Learning Differences is part of the Thomas More College Success Center which was established through an act of immense generosity. In May of 2014, an anonymous benefactor made the largest donation in the history of the College. The $4 million gift, which the College has been challenged to match within four years, is principally focused on the creation of The Benedictine Endowed Thomas More College Success Center. This Center, with three main components, is designed to have significant impact on students’ academic success: retention, graduation and career placement. Aside from the ILD, the Success Center also includes the Dr. Anthony R. and Geraldine Zembrodt Institute for Academic Excellence (IAE) and the Institute for Career Development and Graduate School Planning (ICG).
Osborne, who was hired in August, has hit the ground running in designing and implementing the programs and services offered through the ILD. The Institute extends unique experiences for students who learn differently by utilizing research-based approaches and best practices. Taking a developmental approach to the whole student, the ILD offers customized support that focuses on both the academic and social development of the student. All services are coordinated by a Strategic Learning Specialist and can include academic skills development, self-advocacy coaching, and executive function support.
In addition to supporting students with learning differences, the Institute will serve as a resource for faculty, parents, and the tri-state community. Osborne plans to help faculty create positive and inclusive learning environments by assisting them in supporting all learners while maintaining academic rigor. Parents will be provided guidance in helping their child through the college experience. “When considering postsecondary options for students with a learning disability such as ADHD, dyslexia, Autism Spectrum Disorders or a language-based learning disability, additional support is needed, not only for the students, but also for the parents who will see their parenting role shift when their child enters college,” says Osborne. An on-going series of workshops that tackle these types of topics begins in November as the ILD takes on the role of clearinghouse for educators, psychologists, and counselors.
Coming in November 2016
Choosing a College; Considerations for the Student with Learning Differences
Thursday | November 10, 2016 | 6-8 p.m.
Steigerwald Hall | The Saints Center
Presented by: The Institute for Learning Differences
Who Should Attend
Specifically for parents and students with documented learning differences, educators, and guidance counselors; plan to attend this presentation of ideas and options to consider when researching postsecondary education options.
Please RSVP by visiting thomasmore.edu/ildrsvp. For questions or additional information, please contact Amy Osborne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-344-3582
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