The On Campus program provides inclusive education opportunities for students with developmental disabilities at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. This ground-breaking initiative has been operating since January, 1987 and is the first inclusive education program of its kind in the world.
Initially the brainchild of parents fed up with the limiting and limited opportunities available to their children, On Campus was born of the dream that differently-abled students could learn and grow alongside registered students and flourish in the dynamic landscape of university life.
Students are assigned to an Educational Facilitator who will advocate, counsel, and assist them for the duration of their university career (four years in length). Beyond assistance in choosing classes and help with coursework, Educational Facilitators support students in finding their way around campus, accessing clubs, volunteer pursuits, physical fitness and recreational activities; as well as, connecting with classmates and volunteers, obtaining employment, and on-the-job support.
On Campus students set individualized goals and coursework is tailored to individual needs. Students complete projects and assignments, participate in labs, and write tests and exams where appropriate. Although On Campus students do not graduate with a degree, program graduates depart with lasting friendships and relationships, subject knowledge and invaluable life experience. Additionally, there is enhanced self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and self-awareness as they discover new interests. Furthermore, work experience and employment facilitate the expansion of meaningful community connections and personal networking opportunities. Overall the experiences foster a sense of accomplishment that can only come from the pursuit of bettering oneself.
Upon graduation, students have the opportunity to join our Alumni Employment Supports program for continued employment advocacy and on-the-job assistance (space permitting). Founded in 2000, Alumni Employment Supports now assists 28 graduates with a customized approach to individual success and inclusion in the workplace.
Both the On Campus and Alumni Employment Supports programs operate with funding from PDD (Persons with Developmental Disabilities) through the Government of Alberta, as well as through generous private and community donations and fundraising efforts.