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Student Accessibility Center
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The USoar Program at UNF

What is USoar?

The University of North Florida College of Education and Human Services proudly introduces USoar, an inclusive postsecondary education program designed for UNF students with intellectual disabilities (ID). Students enrolled in USoar will participate in campus life and a wide variety of activities and events with the goal of fostering inclusive learning and sustained employment.

With a generous $1.5 million three-and-a-half-year grant from the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities (FCSUA), USoar is dedicated to offering comprehensive support and enriching opportunities to a cohort of up to 20 students across each 3- year cycle.

USoar Contact Information

For inquiries and further information regarding the USoar program at UNF, please email usoarprogram@unf.edu 

 

As a pillar of community and inclusion in northeast Florida, we are excited to pioneer an inclusive program that targets to support a unique population with growing needs in our Jacksonville community.
- Dr. Debbie Reed and Dr. Tara Frazier, grant principal investigators.

What We Do

Our Mission

The mission of USoar is to empower students with intellectual disabilities, fostering their academic, social, and professional growth in an inclusive and supportive environment.

To accomplish this, USoar provides comprehensive and inclusive employment and independence education, training, and experiences to students with intellectual disabilities at the UNF. USoar focuses on five primary areas of need:

  • Academic Enrichment
  • Campus and Community Engagement
  • Career Development and Employment
  • Independent Living
  • Self-Advocacy and Self-Determination

The USoar program embeds student facing resources in all facets of college life. Helping students accomplish their career goals, while creating authentic and well-rounded exposure to extracurricular events, content-specific workshops and seminars, and internships designed to foster growth and the development of targeted skills based on students’ individual programs of study. While enrollment and participation in USoar is voluntary, students are expected to adhere to program requirements and expectations to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) to qualify for and remain eligible for FCSUA scholarship funding. For more detailed information on what USoar can (and cannot) do, see Functions of USoar.

The USoar Community

The USoar Community is comprised of individuals from across the UNF community. To create an experience that is inclusive, all USoar activities will be focused on establishing strong connections between our students and the greater UNF student, staff, and faculty body. These connections function as the starting point for relationships across Northeast Florida.

USoar Social Events

Students enrolled in USoar will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of social events hosted by the USoar staff. Social events are geared toward enhancing peer relationships on and around the UNF campus. Example events may include, park and picnic outings, beach and movie trips, and game sessions. USoar social events are connected to programming goals and have links to areas such as self-advocacy, financial literacy, and organization.

USoar does NOT provide individual funding for students to attend events or purchase food. While the program does not routinely offer transportation, there are instances where coordinated efforts are made by USoar staff to align travel for specific events. Such instances will be clearly outlined in the event advertisement. For events such as going to the movies, meal outings and park trips, students are responsible for any costs to participate and finding transportation.

Jacksonville Connections

USoar is always looking for community and agency partners to come alongside us and support the program’s mission. Those interested in building a professional relationship with USoar will soon be able to submit a Swoop Troop interest form. By joining the Swoop Troop, you are investing in the success and advancement of USoar students through professional collaborations that aid their journey to employment and independent living.

Functions of USoar

What can USoar do?
USoar is able to... USoar is NOT able to... UNF Resource
Meet with prospective students and their families upon scheduling an appointment or during office hours. Meet with prospective students and families without prior appointments or times outside of scheduled office hours.

Student Accessibility Center (SAC)(904) 620-2769

USoar: (904) 620-3015

Email USoar at USoarprogram@unf.edu

Support students in their journey to becoming self-directed and determined, and career ready. Provide 1-on-1 in-class support or direct behavioral services.

USoar does not provide direct behavioral services. However, there are organizations outside of UNF that provide direct behavioral services. Please check with your insurance provider, as some services may be covered by insurance.

Provide 1-on-1 mentoring times each week (1-hour meeting sessions). Provide 24/7 crisis or non-crisis management or support.

Counseling Center hotline: (904) 620-2602 option #2

Campus Police non-emergency: (904) 620-2800

Coordinate with various academic supports on campus, including Welcome Center for general student orientation to UNF, Academic Advising for an individualized plan. Provide supports such as tutoring or advising. Facilitate or conduct meetings without the student.

First-Year Advising

UNF Tours/The Welcome Center (904) 620-1183

Peer Assisted Tutoring in Housing (PATH): Osprey Fountains Lobby 2nd Floor

SASS Tutoring Schedule

ACCESS Academy

Coordinate events and information with students via closed mediums of communication accessible only with granted access. USoar will primarily communicate with students via Canvas & their myWings email. Give out student or parent personal contact information. Students and parents are responsible for their own contact information and may choose to disclose that information at their own discretion. USoar Student Canvas page: Students will be added to the Canvas page as they are accepted into USoar. Students will be sent an invitation to join the course on Canvas, which must be accepted to gain access to the page.
Help students access academic accommodations using Clockwork and collaborate with professors regarding course modifications. Provide academic accommodations (such as note-taking, tutoring, scheduling quizzes/exams, or arrange for quizzes/exams between the SAC and the professor).

Student Accessibility Center (SAC): (904) 620-2769

First-Year Advising

Peer Assisted Tutoring in Housing (PATH): Osprey Fountains Lobby 2nd Floor

SASS Tutoring Schedule

ACCESS Academy

Upon student request, THRIVE Director or Coordinator can be present for advising sessions if their schedules allow. Give UNF campus tours, college orientation sessions, or other general information sessions about UNF, academic advising, or class registration. UNF Tours/The Welcome Center: (904) 620-1183
Assist students with identifying resources on campus for students with disabilities. Schedule meetings or attend registration meetings without the student. Request or confirm SAC accommodations for students.

Student Accessibility Center (SAC): (904) 620-2769

Students can access their SAC accommodations through Clockwork, which can be accessed via myWings.

Provide students with information about campus resources such as the Student Wellness Center or Counseling Center. Counsel students or make appointments at the Counseling Center for them, prepare fitness/health plans for students.

Counseling Center: (904) 620-2820

Student Wellness Center

Assist students in making connections with potential employers and UNF Career Services, identifying internships, professional certifications, and practice in various work-related skills. Obtain employment or negotiate employee specific details on behalf of the student.

Career Services: (904) 620-2995

 

Provide students with information about the UNF Student Health Center. Administer medication or managed medication, schedule appointments, or order medication refills.

Student Health Services (SHS): call (904) 620-2900 for medical needs or questions.

Provide students and their families contact during normal business hours (8:00AM - 5:00PM). Provide 24/7 availability for communication. USoar staff is available during normal business hours (8:00AM - 5:00PM).

Student Accessibility Center (SAC)(904) 620-2769

USoar: (904) 620-3015

Email USoar at USoarprogram@unf.edu

Encourage students to stay in touch with parents and support personnel regarding progress toward competencies, program objectives, and general well-being. Provide information about student progress toward competencies, program objectives, and general well-being without proper documentation and student consent. The student should be the facilitator of all communication regarding their involvement with USoar, USoar sponsored events and activities, and course performance.
Discuss the optional housing component, the USoar Living Learning Community (LLC). Make housing arrangements for students. USoar cannot guarantee a room in the USoar LLC or guarantee USoar LLC availability. All Housing-related deadlines are dictated by the UNF Housing office.

UNF Housing Office: (904) 620-4663

 

Recommend utilizing Vocational Rehabilitation services. Assist with, and provide information related to Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services Register or enroll students with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR).

There are many different offices for VR which differ in structure. General VR information can be found at the Florida Department of Education Vocational Rehab website.

 

Preparing for Career Development

Career exploration is the process of researching, evaluating, and learning about modern work opportunities and how students can pursue the careers of their choice. Students are typically coached and supported through a series of steps involving Research, Evaluation, Discussion and Decision Making.

It is important that students individualized their career exploration journey. Quality time should be spent examining each step in their process to ensure their decisions remain aligned with their values and goals, utilize their strengths, and achieve employment satisfaction that enriches their lives. This satisfaction extends across areas such as sustainment and viability of their profession, salary and benefits the life of their career and transferability of acquired skills from one position or organization to another.

How can students prepare now for career development?

Planning for a successful career begins with an open conversation. Students are encouraged to speak with family members, educators, and trusted adults about their interests and goals related to employment and independent living. USoar supports having such conversations early and often.

Students and their families are advised to discuss the time commitments, location, financial obligations, and outcomes associated with post-secondary education programs to ensure they are a good fit with their personal and professional goals.

  • Planning and Time Management
    • Start using digital and physical planners to organize what needs to be done each week, when things are being done, and other important appointments or events
    • Practice setting alarms and reminders. Instead of relying on parents or guardians to wake up in the morning, practice setting your own alarms to wake up independently
    • Practice checking emails at least 1-2 times every day
  • Study Skills and Taking Notes
    • Practice developing study skills and strategies
    • Write notes on important information during class
    • Complete all readings and review materials before class
    • Organize all your notes to make them easy to find
    • Practice breaking down large or difficult assignments or projects into smaller, more manageable parts
  • Stress Management
    • Find things that you enjoy doing
    • Practice communicating when things become too overwhelming
    • Practice making time to relax and do something to take care of yourself
    • Practice taking breaks to re-energize and refresh
  • Laundry
    • Wash and dry laundry without assistance of others
    • Fold and put away your own laundry
  • Cooking
    • Learn some easy-to-prepare recipes to make your own meals
    • Know how to use ovens and stoves
    • Practice food safety (expiration dates, how to store common foods, etc.)
  • Cleaning
    • Keep your personal living space clean!
    • Take out the trash, clean any messes you notice or create, keep your room and working space tidy, do laundry, wash dishes
  • Exercise/Sleep
    • Practice going for walks/runs while tracking your progress
    • Join a club or sport that you enjoy
    • Setting alarms and reminders to wind down each night without depending on electronics
    • Practice appropriate/healthy digital use

Applying to USoar

USoar is currently accepting applications for the 2024 - 2025 academic year!

How to Apply

Registration with the SAC does NOT guarantee admission to USoar or on-campus housing.

The USoar application and selection process:

  1. Students must submit the USoar Student Interest/Preapplication.
  2. Students meeting initial criteria will be selected to proceed to the full Student Application Packet. Students who do not meet initial criteria will be referred to other agencies for guidance.
  3. Students must successfully complete a Student/Family Interview and associated inventories.
  4. Students must register with the SAC (students must disclose their diagnosis of ID during their SAC registration).
  5. Students will submit a UNF non-degree seeking student application and submit applicable fees.
  6. Students will be cleared to register for courses and begin participating in USoar and other campus related events as a USoar/UNF student.
Upon acceptance into USoar, the student must complete required inventories and the USoar Baseline Survey prior to their first official week within the program. The inventories allow the USoar staff to identify personal and professional goals and aid in the initiation of the career exploration and development process. The USoar Baseline Survey allows USoar staff to determine the student's current levels of functioning as well as their perceived strengths and weaknesses. This allows USoar staff to make informed mentor assignments that best fit the needs of the individual student.