In Spring 2020, the Academic Life Navigator Program began as a pilot program in Student Disability Services (SDS) in collaboration with the Department of Rehabilitation and Counselor Education in the College of Education.  Through a partnership with Dr. Erin Barnes from that department, one of their interns was placed in our office for the spring to work individually with students.  

The Academic Life Navigator (ALN) is a role and program within SDS that is intended to provide skills for students with disabilities pertinent to their academic careers. The ALN is meant to be a resource for those with ASD and ADHD to help empower them to achieve all that they can at the University of Iowa. 

During this pilot semester, 21 students worked with our intern.  A survey was completed at the end of the semester which garnered some positive quotes about the program:

  • ”My Academic Life Navigator did an awesome job. I’m happy this program is continuing because it has been very helpful for me.”
  • “My Academic Life Navigator did well in improving my work ethnic during the semester. I am grateful for that.”
  • “My Academic Life Navigator did a fantastic job. 10/10 would recommend.”

These positive comments are about our first Academic Life Navigator, Brody Stanford.  Brody shared these thoughts as he was finishing up his internship with us. 

“As the Academic Life Navigator, I’ve been given the opportunity to work with some great students in creating and reaching academic goals throughout this semester. I’m glad I was able to utilize all the tools I’ve acquired through my graduate career at the U of I and I plan on continuing my work in aiding individuals in their academic careers after my degree is complete and will be applying my experience gained in this program to helping students in my career moving forward. I’m glad to have had this experience and I hope that many more can benefit from this extremely useful program in the future with the help of Dr. Erin Barnes, Vickie Houser, and the next person to take the role of Academic Life Navigator. “

ALN will be continuing in Fall 2020. For more information, click here.