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University of Victoria recognizes STEPS Forward students at convocation

The University of Victoria Senate, at its meeting late this afternoon, approved a recommendation that students with developmental disabilities enrolled in UVic courses through a partnership with the BC Initiative for Inclusive Post-secondary Education (STEPS Forward) be recognized at the university’s convocation ceremonies, starting this June.

This pathway to recognition not only honours the achievement of the students but also demonstrates the university’s strong commitment to being a welcoming, diverse and inclusive learning community.

Since 2004, UVic and STEPS Forward have partnered to provide inclusive post-secondary education opportunities for students with developmental disabilities on the university campus.

UVic will issue a certificate of completion to students enrolled through the BC Initiative for Inclusive Post-secondary Education who have completed a minimum of four years of study and 12 courses, as part of their immersion in academic units and coursework at UVic. They will participate in the convocation ceremony for the faculty in which they have taken most of their courses.

In response to a request through STEPS Forward from student Nathan Bodie, the two organizations worked together for several months to create this pathway to recognition in the university’s convocation ceremonies.

UVic’s Convocation Committee strongly recommended adoption of the proposal submitted by STEPS Forward to the university’s Senate, which, under the provincial University Act has responsibility for all matters related to convocation.

Work on the proposal was well underway when Bodie’s story generated an outpouring of community support through social media, letters and news media in the last 10 days, in part generated by the misapprehension that he might not get the opportunity to convocate this spring.

“We are so pleased to work with STEPS Forward to create this opportunity for recognition and to join Nathan and his family in celebrating his accomplishments,” says Dr. Grace Wong Sneddon, Adviser to the Provost on Diversity at UVic. “STEPS Forward is an important partnership that we are proud to continue to support.”

“We are thrilled that Nathan and students supported through the BC Initiative for Inclusive Post-secondary Education at UVic will now be awarded their hard-earned certificates of completion at convocation. Convocation ceremonies celebrate not only the achievements of individual students, but also the shared experience and support from family, friends, and the whole campus community that all students need in order to be successful,” says Joe Greenholtz, president, STEPS Forward.

With Senate approval of the request from STEPS Forward, UVic is now able to join the other BC universities who are offering the opportunity to participants to be recognized at convocation.

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Bruce Kilpatrick (Executive Director, University Communications + Marketing, University of Victoria) at 250-920-6413


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