About SOTA 2022

state of the art logo

The State of the Art Conference (SOTA) provides provides opportunities for colleges, universities, researchers, program staff, parents and self-advocates to learn about the current state of research and practice in the field of inclusive postsecondary/higher education, and to network with each other. Conference speakers include faculty and staff from postsecondary education initiatives, parents, self-advocates, and other experts—sharing effective practices and leading group discussions.

2022 Registration Rates

  • General Attendees: $450* (early bird rate of $400 until August 15)
  • Executive Committee, Presenters & Reviewers: $350
  • Students and Graduate Students for SOTA and the Student Leadership Conference: $50
    The Student Leadership Conference is for future and current college students and costs $50 for both days.
  • College Fair: Free for students and families, $50 for Exhibitors
    Registration for the Student Leadership Conference is not required to attend the college fair.

Registration scholarships are available for students and family members. Contact kgrifasi@syr.edu to request an application.

Conference Information

Interested in becoming a sponsor State of the Art or Student Leadership Conference? Contact conference manager Karly Grifasi at kgrifasi@syr.edu.

Travel and Hotels

The 2022 State of the Art Conference will be at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center in Syracuse, NY. The discounted room block is currently full, you may be able to search the hotel website for a room at the regular rate.

Additional hotels within walking distance to the conference:
Hotel Skylar ($$$) – 601 South Crouse Ave.
The Collegian Hotel & Suites ($$) – 1060 E. Genesee St.

Additional hotels within a 5 minute drive to the conference:
Jefferson Clinton Hotel ($) – 416 S. Clinton St.
The Parkview Hotel ($) – 713 E. Genesee St.


Conference Strands

Items listed under each themes are suggestion for proposals and possible topics of conference sessions, but are not meant to be a complete list. 



  • Effective inclusion strategies
  • Universal design for learning
  • Use of technology
  • Language and literacy
  • Academic support strategies
  • Faculty development
  • Measuring satisfactory academic progress in all areas
  • Developing Individual Learning Plans for students taking catalogue courses
  • Study abroad
  • Virtual learning

Campus Life

  • Strategies and support for social inclusion
  • Supports in developing social competence
  • Peer mentors and social networking
  • Sports and recreation
  • Friendships and lasting relationships
  • Self-advocacy/self-disclosure/disability identity
  • Health and wellness
  • Residential life

Independent Living

  • Supporting the development of independent living skills in inclusive ways
  • Promoting self-determination and student involvement
  • Technology supports
  • Transportation access
  • Use of residence life in independent living skill development
  • Relationship development


  • Student internships/apprenticeships
  • Supports for employers and student employees
  • College to work transition/ Career planning
  • Service learning
  • Employment longevity
  • Developing portfolios and resumes
  • Job search/ job development
  • Collaboration with college career services, employment service agencies, VR,  and other adult agencies
  • Building relationships with the business community
  • WIOA and Pre-ETS

Program Development and Evaluation

  • Funding for students and programs and fiscal sustainability strategies
  • Person-centered planning
  • Recruitment
  • Strategies for initiating and expanding high quality inclusive programs
  • Program accreditation
  • Developing meaningful student credentials
  • Residential and housing options
  • Comprehensive Transition Programs – applying, financial aid access
  • Internal and external collaborative partnerships
  • Developing and funding supports for residence life/housing

Policy and Systems Change

  • Building state-wide and national coalitions
  • Developing federal and state policy and legislation to provide support and funding
  • Developing memorandums of understanding (MOUs) among agencies
  • The role of national associations/organizations
  • Systems change as relates to funding
  • Promotion of change within a university or college
  • Affecting positive attitude change at every level


  • Strategies for family engagement and communication
  • Supported decision making
  • Student leadership and disability advocacy
  • Circles of support
  • Family/ Self-advocate planning for transition after college
  • Supporting student relationships at college (dating, friends, etc.)
  • Understanding employment (job processes, ADA rights, etc.)
  • Student finances (meal plans, financing program/mentors, transportation)
  • Wellness (mental health, illness while at college, nutrition)
  • Application for IPSE

Research and Evaluation

  • Evidence-based practice
  • Participatory research involving IHE faculty, program staff, students and family members
  • Evaluation methods and results
  • Student progress and outcome measurements
  • Establishing standards of quality
  • Changes across the institution (institutional, administrative or organizational processes) as a result of the PSE program
  • Descriptions and empirical evidence related to changes for students without disabilities and/or faculty (attitudes, awareness, skill, and pedagogy)
  • Changes in relationships with community organizations, human services, and businesses

Transition to College

  • Strategies for preparing students for Inclusive PSE
  • Supporting parents during the transition
  • How parents can support preparation for college
  • IEP implementation in dual enrollment programs
  • Access to the general curriculum and universal design for learning
  • Professional development for general and special education staff, school counselors, administrators, etc.
  • Promoting self-determination and student involvement
  • Family support/family involvement

State of the Art Leadership Awards

Know someone who is making an impact in the field of inclusive higher education? Nominate them for a leadership award! Nominations are currently closed.

  • The George Jesien National Leadership Award: One who reflects significant national leadership through advocacy, technical assistance or research to further the field of inclusive higher education
  • Institute of Higher Education Leadership Award: Administrator, program director, faculty or staff member who demonstrates leadership and facilitates progress at an inclusive institution of higher education
  • The Laura Lee Leadership Award: A trailblazing self-advocate who currently attends or has graduated from a PSE program for persons with intellectual disability and whose advocacy significantly benefits individuals with disabilities – in their college, community, regionally or nationally

2022 Leadership Award Recipients

Madeleine Will

Lifetime Achievement Award

Madeleine Will



Beth Myers headshot

National Leadership Award

Beth Myers, Lawrence B. Taishoff Assistant Professor of Inclusive Education; Director, Taishoff Center


Margo Izzo headshot

Institute of Higher Education Leadership Award

Margaret “Margo” Izzo, Nisonger Center UCEDD, Professor Emeritus, Special Education & Psychology, The Ohio State University



Marina Martinez headshotLaura Lee Leadership Award

Marina Martinez



Executive Planning Committee

The members of our Executive Planning Committee oversee conference planning, agenda structure, keynote selection and leadership award application review.
  • Katie Ducett, Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education
  • Micah Fialka-Feldman, Outreach Coordinator of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
  • Grace L. Francis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Special Education at George Mason University
  • Karly Grifasi, Assistant Director of Operations and Communications, Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
  • Linn Jorgenson, Director of Disability Services at George Mason University
  • Christi Kasa, Ph.D., Director of the Office of Inclusive Services, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • Stephanie Smith Lee, Past Chair of the Think College Accreditation Workgroup, and Senior Policy Advisor, National Down Syndrome Congress
  • Dr. Linda Mason, Director of the Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities at George Mason University
  • Dr. Beth Myers, Executive Director of the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
  • Denise Rozell, Director of Policy Innovation at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities
  • Sara Jo Soldovieri, Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University
  • Cate Weir, Project Coordinator at the Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • K. Ryan Wennerlind, Director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders/Project F.O.C.U.S program at University of Nevada, Las Vegas