Honors in Action

Phi Theta Kappa members create PSAs to raise disability awareness

Members of the Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Omicron Beta chapter at Inver Hills Community College recently completed an Honors in Action project that helps make something often invisible—the challenges faced by students with disabilities—more visible on campus and across Minnesota. The PTK students created four public service announcement (PSA) videos with the ultimate goal to give students with disabilities greater potential to achieve academic success.

Based on research the eight-member PTK team completed to discover what circumstances impede or advance the academic progress of students with disabilities, the Honors in Action project reports that major negative factors include availability and knowledge gaps regarding support resources as well as stereotypes that stigmatize the disabled. Based on their research findings, the PTK students collaborated with students and faculty living with disabilities to find out more about their academic struggles and life challenges.

Tom Reis, Kayla Rose, Nicolette, Josh, Cheryl at HIA presentation

Tom Reis, Kayla Rose, Nicolette Keehr, Josh Price, Cheryl Koehnen  at HIA presentation

The PTK team conducted a local attitude assessment survey and used the survey results to create four PSA videos and a disability awareness handout. Shared with faculty, staff and students on campus, and distributed throughout Minnesota, the educational resources were part of a public awareness campaign to promote disability support services on campus while enhancing overall disability awareness and demystifying common stereotypes. The PSAs feature the life stories of four volunteers, a PTK officer, a PTK member, an Inver Hills student and an Inver Hills faculty member, each representing a different type of disability: cognitive, emotional, psychological or physical.¹

PTK Disability Awareness PSAs

Kayla Rose, PTK vice president of publicity and a student in the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) program, took a lead role on the Honors in Action project. “The following videos are brought to you by the Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Omicron Beta chapter at Inver Hills Community College,” Kayla said. “The purpose of our HIA project is to promote the acceptance and success of students with disabilities at the college. In doing so, we hope to reduce the stigma and raise awareness about disabilities. A special thank you to Nicolette Keehr, Josh Price, Tom Reis, human services faculty, and Cheryl Koehnen, PTK vice president of scholarship, for sharing their stories.”

Disability Services at Inver Hills

The Disability Services Office is dedicated to providing access to our diverse student body. We recognize disability as a social identity that is a vital element of our campus community. Furthermore, we are committed to providing equal access and opportunity to all qualified students with disabilities.

The Disability Services Office supports students with documented disabilities by making sure they:

  • Have equal access to educational programs and college courses
  • Can obtain materials and publications in alternate formats
  • Can utilize academic support and other services
  • Can fully participate in college sponsored events and activities
To learn more, contact:

Anne Swanberg
Disability Services Advisor
651-450-8399
Office: College Center 211
Fax: 651-450-3677 Attn: Anne Swanberg
TTY/TDD: MN Relay Services 800-627-3529

HIA presentation

The Phi Theta Kappa Honors in Action team recently presented the results of their project to more than 100 Inver Hills faculty members and administrators. Many attendees noted that the 45-minute presentation helped them better appreciate the academic struggles confronted by students with disabilities. The PSAs have been broadcast daily on campus via closed-circuit TV.

PTK HIA team presenting to Inver Hills faculty and administrators

PTK Honors in Action  presentation

The PTK students hope they can continue their efforts to promote the acceptance and success of students with disabilities at the college through additional presentations at disability conferences and by sharing the links to the PSAs with many diverse audiences. They are looking at the possibility of adding closed-captioning to the PSA videos.

To learn more about Phi Theta Kappa at Inver Hills, contact:

Vicky Knickerbocker
Sociology, Humanities and Human Services Faculty
651-450-3745

To learn more about the Honors in Action PSA project, contact:

Inver Hills Phi Theta Kappa

All four PTK PSAs can be found on YouTube.

¹ A special thank you to Vicky Knickerbocker, sociology, humanities and human services faculty, for providing the substance of this post via her article, “Making the Invisible More Visible.”

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