VCU launches new program during National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Professionals can register for online modules

The Virginia Commonwealth University Office of Continuing and Professional Education has announced the launch of a new noncredit online certificate program designed to prepare direct support professionals with the necessary training to work with students with disabilities. The program will benefit disability support services providers, those who work with them and teaching faculty.

The Disability Support Services in Higher Education program helps professionals increase their knowledge on the impact of a disability on functional limitations and academic performance, which will assist them in helping individuals transition from high school or military service to higher education and ultimately prepare students for entry into the workforce.

“This course provides an opportunity for new DSS staff to learn the essential job skills needed to perform in their role, and serves as a refresher for seasoned DSS professionals,” said Amy Miller, director for the Division of Academic Success in the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences at VCU. Miller will serve as the program’s online instructor.

The DSS in Higher Education program comprises five online modules created by the Division for Academic Success and AHEAD, the premier professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary education. Training includes an overview of disability laws, disability supports and accommodations, the documentation process, assistive technology, technical standards, and how these are connected to provide academic accommodations to students in the post-secondary setting.

All five modules must be completed for the certificate, but individuals may take modules individually. Participants working toward the certificate are encouraged to take Module 1 first; the remaining modules may be taken in any order. Those registering can save $50 by purchasing a bundle, which includes all modules.

For more information on the DSS in Higher Education program, visit or call the VCU OCPE at 804-828-1322.

About VCU and VCU Health

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 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit and