College of Charleston faculty and staff support the College’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in a variety of ways. One of those ways is through the College’s REACH Program.

Established in 2010, the REACH Program is a four-year, fully inclusive certificate program for students with mild intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Students in the REACH Program participate in all activities offered by the College, with individualized support from peer tutors, mentors, staff and faculty.

In the past 10 years, over 400 faculty and staff members have partnered with REACH, attending training and meeting individually with students in the REACH program throughout the semester. Their contributions to these students’ lives are recognized every year through the annual REACH Program Awards.

These awards celebrate individuals who have worked to increase the level of inclusive education and service for students with intellectual disabilities on campus, thereby supporting the College’s core value of creating and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community.

“Through their actions, these award recipients show that they value and respect the unique perspectives, backgrounds and experiences of the students in the REACH Program,” says Edie Cusack ’90, the program’s executive director.

In a celebration held in the Cistern Yard last month, the following faculty and staff received awards:

David Aurich and Edie Cusack

David Aurich, associate dean of students and recipient of the REACH Director’s Award, with REACH Director Edie Cusack.

David M. Aurich, Associate Dean of Students, Student Affairs
Edie Cusack’s Director’s Award
This award recognizes an individual whose work has increased awareness of inclusion in post-secondary education at the College of Charleston and in the community. 

“I am honored to receive the 2021 REACH Program Director’s Award and have the highest respect for the REACH Program, its staff and its students,” says Aurich. “I am very relationship driven and, over the past several years, have always been impressed with the deep relationships that REACH staff have with their students. Inclusion is not ‘just’ a word for the REACH Program; inclusion is at the very core of what they do.

“As we strive to make the College a more welcoming and inclusive place, we must always consider neurodiversity as diversity,” he continues. “I am, again, humbled to receive the Director’s Award and look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that the REACH Program and College of Charleston are so well known for.”

Taryn Sprankles and Edie Cusack

Taryn Sprankles (l), CRM administrator in the Office of Enrollment Planning and recipient of the REACH William Farrior III & Brian Porterfield Collaborators Award, with REACH Director Edie Cusack.

Taryn Sprankles, CRM Administrator and Analyst, Office of Enrollment Information
William Farrior III & Brian Porterfield Collaborators Award
This award recognizes an individual who has worked collaboratively with the REACH Program to uphold the values and ideals of an inclusive post-secondary education. 

“The program is really excited to present Tayrn Sprankles with this award,” says Claire Holm Ryan, administrative coordinator for REACH. “She has gone above and beyond to answer all of our questions and to make the admissions process seamless. Her work might seem behind-the-scenes in the IT/tech side of campus, but she is essential to the overall success of our program and the institution.”

Edie Cusack and Andrew Alwine

REACH Director Edie Cusack with Classics Chair Andrew Alwine, who received the 2021 REACH Professor Recognition Award.

Andrew Alwine, Chair and Associate Professor of Classics
Professor Recognition Award
This award recognizes an individual who has upheld the values of the REACH Program by implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) practices while providing students with an inclusive post-secondary education.

“Being involved in REACH has been one of the most rewarding and meaningful things I’ve done since joining the College of Charleston faculty about 10 years ago,” says Alwine. “The impact that the program has on these students’ lives is obvious, and in the year that I have participated I have certainly seen the fruits of the good work that Edie and her team are doing.”