By Jordan Salas
KTSW News Contributor
San Marcos-Texas State University is set to launch a new program called Bobcat RISE, designed to provide an inclusive post-secondary education experience to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program will debut in the fall of 2023.
RISE stands for resilience, independence, self-determination, and empowerment, and embodies the values that are carried throughout the program’s design. The program’s director, Dr. Tamara Shetron says students will take 15 college courses with their peer group as a part of the program. The only difference is the Bobcat RISE students will be graded on a pass/fail basis.
“Additionally, every semester there will be a course that’s just for the Bobcat RISE students,” Shetron said. “These courses will focus on things like career skills, career exploration, social and sexual healthy relationships, how to be a college student, and financial literacy.”
Graduate speech pathology student Katie Hartwell stresses the importance of Bobcat RISE and inclusive education programs.
“As someone who’s pursuing a degree in speech pathology and working with individuals with disabilities, it is so important to be able to give that population resources to succeed and to be set up for success in their life,” Hartwell said.
Bobcat RISE also provides opportunities for its students to explore different careers in the San Marcos community. The program aims to equip them with the skills and knowledge to pursue employment following their eighth semester in an area of interest. Participants in Bobcat RISE earn a certificate in academic and community studies in their concentration of choice, rather than a degree.
The program will admit its first five students in the fall of 2023 and plans to expand cohort sizes as the program grows.
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