Assistant Professor of Practice Stephanie MacFarland is the TASH 2019 Recipient of the June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award. TASH, an international leader in disability advocacy, fights for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs — those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect, and institutionalization.
Recognized internationally for her passion and action in pursuing inclusive education for people with significant disabilities, she is the director of our teacher preparation program in severe and multiple disabilities. MacFarland wrote and was awarded a five-year federal grant to develop a fully inclusive postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities to attend the University of Arizona. Project FOCUS (Focusing Opportunities with Community and University Support) is a pioneering post-high school option for students ages 18-22 who have intellectual disabilities and are enrolled in schools in Pima County. The program provides access to the university's academic offerings and campus life in order to increase students’ self-determination and employability.
The award is especially meaningful to MacFarland as Downing was a close friend and mentor. MacFarland studied under Downing here at the college for her doctorate, and she describes Downing as one of the most influential people in her life and career. Sadly, Downing passed away in 2011.
Watch this touching nomination video from Assistant Professor of Practice Phyllis Brodsky, now with the UA Office of Instruction and Assessment.