VCU School of Education hosts visit from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities

The Partnership for People with Disabilities, a center affiliated with the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education, will host a visit from representatives of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. The partnership is one of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities across the country supported by AUCD and is an important part of the School of Education’s Department of Special Education and Disability Policy.

“Today we welcome the executive director of AUCD, Andy Imparato, and members of his staff to VCU. This visit provides an opportunity to highlight the great work of the faculty and staff of the partnership,” said Colleen Thoma, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Special Education and Disability Policy in the School of Education. “We are really proud of the partnership’s work, as its training, technical assistance and research projects are well-aligned with VCU’s commitment to community engagement and provide a way for our department faculty to be linked to both the Virginia disability policy and advocacy world, as well as the larger national AUCD network.”

AUCD is a membership organization that supports a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs through: leadership on major social problems affecting all people living with developmental or other disabilities or special health needs; advocacy with Congress and executive branch agencies that fund and regulate programs used by people with disabilities; networking and partnering with other national organizations to advance the network's national agendas and much more.

The Partnership for People with Disabilities was founded in 1985 under the leadership of Howard Garner, Ph.D., and today is home to more than 30 federal and state programs, staffed by more than 100 professionals, family members, people with disabilities and university students supporting individuals with disabilities and their families. The partnership maintains an interdisciplinary approach to all of its activities, which allows it to explore a wide spectrum of professional services and community interests as it seeks to expand opportunities to individuals with disabilities.

“The AUCD staff visiting, some of whom have never seen a UCEDD in operation, will be observing what we do firsthand and we are honored to have the opportunity to showcase our work to our longtime supporters,” said Donna L. Gilles, Ed. D., executive director of the Partnership for People with Disabilities.

About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see

Colleen Thoma, Ph.D.
Colleen Thoma, Ph.D.