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On Campus Transition Program

Goals and Philosophy

Our Goals

The OCT goal is to create independent lifelong learners who are connected to their community. Research has shown that young individuals are most influenced by their peers during their late teens and early twenties. To maximize the value of this learning, OCT trains and uses UNF students to help implement transition trainings within real-world scenarios. OCT goals are obtained through the following:

Academic Enhancement

While auditing a variety of UNF courses, students become fully immersed within the campus community. Through the guidance of their academic mentors (other UNF students within their courses,) the assistance of OCT staff, and the support of their UNF professors, students learn responsibility, time management, socialization, determination, perseverance, and self-discipline. Students further enhance their academics by utilizing same-age university peers for one-on-one and small group tutoring in reading, math, and budgeting. Students are also assisted in accessing university resources to pursue specialized interests such as: voice-lessons, musical instrument lessons, personal fitness training, etc.

Career Development

In addition to staff, OCT uses AmeriCorps work readiness mentors to provide career development and exploration, job readiness, job seeking, job coaching, and job retention training and support. Students participate in a variety of on-campus internships based upon individualized preferences, and are provided customized job development services. Students are assisted in finding employment on campus and near campus to meet their individual career goals.

University Life

To facilitate integration and inclusion OCT has developed a social mentoring program, pairing UNF students with OCT students. Social mentors are peers, recruited and selected from a variety of different majors and diverse backgrounds. Mentors and students develop genuine friendships and engage in a mutual transformational process. Mentors assist in the students’ integration within campus by socializing on campus, going to lunch together, attending athletic games, going to off-campus community events, theatrical performances, etc. Students are also encouraged to join and participate in UNF student organizations and clubs. For example, our students participate in such diverse groups as: African American Student Union, Intercultural Center, Women’s Center, Interfaith Center, American Sign Language Club, Anime Club, etc.

Fitness and Personal Growth

Students are required to engage in a daily fitness regimen of their selection on campus . They choose from a variety of activities including: water aerobics, yoga, dance lessons, gym, basketball, tennis, racquetball, and weight training at the fitness center. They are also provided with nutritional guidance from nutrition majors. Peer counseling (UNF students in training to become counselors) and personal growth/socialization training seminars are offered to students to facilitate personal growth. Students are also encouraged to participate in on-campus activities that focus upon general well-being, in keeping with the overall philosophy of holistic health through increased self-esteem, as well as maturity.

Independent Living/Community Life

The ultimate goal for students is to become independent, well-adjusted, integrated, and contributing members of society. Within the OCT, students learn safety and emergency response skills, and receive training in public transportation time management financial management, and instruction in how to access a variety of community resources. The program provides community inclusion activities as part of instructional learning.

Our Philosophy

The Arc Jacksonville On Campus Transition at UNF (OCT) is committed to the inclusion and integration of students with intellectual disabilities within the university and the community. Our focus is transitioning students into adulthood by providing opportunities for students to experientially learn how to become independent, engaged, well-adjusted, and contributing members of society. The program provides comprehensive services to give students a well-rounded college experience and to meet students' unique needs and desires. The program offers students the opportunity to self-direct and collaboratively create a Program of Study, a unique and customized plan for achievement, which focuses upon developing the following areas: academic enhancement, career development, university life, health/personal growth, and independent living/community life. Students are encouraged and empowered to act as self-advocates and to further enhance their self-determination through the implementation of their Program of Study.

The OCT views and respects their students as adults. Students are not limited by focusing on their "mental age." We firmly believe that if you treat an adult like an adult, they will behave like an adult. The opposite also remains true: if you treat an adult like a child, then they will behave as such.


  • Are viewed as college students and afforded every opportunity to have full integration.
  • Desire to be treated like their counterparts and to be included in the same academic, vocational, independent living, and social opportunities that others without disabilities engage in.
  • Have the freedom and the ability to make their own choices.
  • Enhance their decision-making skills; however, students must deal with natural consequences of the choices they make.
  • Learn optimally through their same-aged peers (matriculated college students).

Our staff:

  • Provide every opportunity to ensure that students reach their full potential.
  • Believe that each student is capable of becoming independent in the community with minimal supports
  • Believe true independence is not learned from a textbook, but is acquired and enhanced through actual experiences
  • Acknowledge that Intelligent Quotients (IQs) do not define a person and their worth
  • Believe that the potential of ours students is boundless
  • Follow our Standards of Ethical Conduct

Standards of Ethical Conduct:

  1. Our school values the worth and dignity of every person, the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence, acquisition of knowledge, and the nurture of democratic citizenship. Essential to the achievement of these standards are the freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal opportunity for all.
  2. Our primary concern is the student and the development of the student's potential. Employees will therefore strive for professional growth and will seek to exercise the best professional judgment and integrity.
  3. Concern for the student requires that our instructional personnel:
    1. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning and/or to the student's mental and/or physical health and/or safety.
    2. Shall not unreasonably restrain a student from independent action in pursuit of learning.
    3. Shall not unreasonably deny a student access to diverse points of view.
    4. Shall not intentionally suppress or distort subject matter relevant to a student's academic program.
    5. Shall not intentionally expose a student to unnecessary embarrassment or disparagement.
    6. Shall not intentionally violate or deny a student's legal rights.
    7. Shall not harass or discriminate against any student on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition, sexual orientation, or social and family background and shall make reasonable effort to assure that each student is protected from harassment or discrimination.
    8. Shall not exploit a relationship with a student for personal gain or advantage.
    9. Shall keep in confidence personally identifiable information obtained in the course of professional service, unless disclosure serves professional purposes or is required by law.
  4. Aware of the importance of maintaining the respect and confidence of colleagues, of students, of parents, and of the community, employees of our school must display the highest degree of ethical conduct. This commitment requires that our employees:
    1. Shall maintain honesty in all professional dealings.
    2. Shall not on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, marital status, handicapping condition if otherwise qualified, or social and family background deny to a colleague professional benefits or advantages or participation in any professional organization.
    3. Shall not interfere with a colleague's exercise of political or civil rights and responsibilities.
    4. Shall not engage in harassment or discriminatory conduct which unreasonably interferes with an individual's performance of professional or work responsibilities or with the orderly processes of education or which creates a hostile, intimidating, abusive, offensive, or oppressive environment; and, further, shall make reasonable effort to assure that each individual is protected from such harassment or discrimination. e. Shall not make malicious or intentionally false statements about a colleague.

Training Requirement All instructional personnel and administrators are required as a condition of employment to complete training on these standards of ethical conduct.

Reporting Misconduct by Instructional Personnel and Administrators All employees and administrators have an obligation to report misconduct by instructional personnel and school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student.Examples of misconduct include obscene language, drug and alcohol use, disparaging comments, prejudice or bigotry, sexual innuendo, cheating or testing violations, physical aggression, and accepting or offering favors. Reports of misconduct of employees should be made to Leigh Belmont ( or 904-620-3890. Reports of misconduct committed by administrators should be made to Betty Smith ( or 904-355-0155) . Legally sufficient allegations of misconduct by Florida certified educators will be reported to the Office of Professional Practices Services. Policies and procedures for reporting misconduct by instructional personnel or school administrators which affects the health, safety, or welfare of a student are posted on the wall next to the staff workroom.

Reporting Child Abuse, Abandonment or Neglect All employees and agents have an affirmative duty to report all actual or suspected cases of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect. Call 1-800-96-ABUSE or report online at:

Signs of Physical Abuse The child may have unexplained bruises, welts, cuts, or other injuries; broken bones; or burns. A child experiencing physical abuse may seem withdrawn or depressed, seem afraid to go home or may run away, shy away from physical contact, be aggressive, or wear inappropriate clothing to hide injuries.

Signs of Sexual Abuse The child may have torn, stained or bloody underwear, trouble walking or sitting, pain or itching in genital area, or a sexually transmitted disease. A child experiencing sexual abuse may have unusual knowledge of sex or act seductively, fear a particular person, seem withdrawn or depressed, gain or lose weight suddenly, shy away from physical contact, or run away from home.

Signs of Neglect The child may have unattended medical needs, little or no supervision at home, poor hygiene, or appear underweight. A child experiencing neglect may be frequently tired or hungry, steal food, or appear overly needy for adult attention.

Patterns of Abuse: Serious abuse usually involves a combination of factors. While a single sign may not be significant, a pattern of physical or behavioral signs is a serious indicator and should be reported.

Liability Protections Any person, official, or institution participating in good faith in any act authorized or required by law, or reporting in good faith any instance of child abuse, abandonment, or neglect to the department or any law enforcement agency, shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability which might otherwise result by reason of such action. (F.S. 39.203)

An employer who discloses information about a former or current employee to a prospective employer of the former or current employee upon request of the prospective employer or of the former or current employee is immune from civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences unless it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that the information disclosed by the former or current employer was knowingly false or violated any civil right of the former or current employee protected under F.S. Chapter 760. (F.S. 768.095)