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.

Over the years, more than 400 faculty and staff members have partnered with REACH, attending trainings 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 services 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.

Congratulations and a huge thank you to the following faculty and staff who received awards for the last academic year:

Edie Cusack and Adam Jordan

Adam Jordan (r) receives the Edie Cusack’s Director’s Award from REACH Program Director Edie Cusack

Adam Jordan, Department of Teacher Education
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 and humbled to be recognized for the Edie Cusack Director’s Award, and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to work with someone as innovative and tenacious as Edie,” says Jordan, associate chair of the Department of Teacher Education, and associate professor and program director of the special education program. “Truth be told, this award belongs to my students in the bachelor’s program in special education, because it is their sustained commitment to inclusivity and equity that makes my receiving this award possible. Our campus is better when we embrace the reality that diversity of all sorts makes us all better. I appreciate the brilliant individuals in the REACH Program who help me to be better every day.”

Edie Cusack and Jennifer Cavalli

Edie Cusack (l) with REACH Collaborators Award recipient, Jennifer Cavalli

Jennifer Cavalli and Brooke Permenter ’06, Honors College
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. 

Brooke Permenter

Brooke Permenter, Honors College

Even as we weathered the worst of the pandemic, the partnership between the REACH and the Honors Engaged programs remained strong and stable for our connected students,” says Permenter, director of student engagement and faculty fellow in the Honors College. “Each year, the students show us that they all seek two things in common in their pursuit of higher education: community and belonging. Collaborating with REACH is a great way to foster both for students across our programs.

“It is a privilege to partner with the REACH Program. It is one of our most successful partnerships with regard to our goal of sustained community engagement,” agrees Cavalli, associate director of student engagement and Honors faculty fellow. “Our students who serve as mentors consistently remain with REACH long after their first year and, more often than not, cite the experience as one of the most fulfilling and memorable of their time at the College. This is a testament to the strength of the leadership and students in the REACH Program.”

Jeremy Clement

Jeremy Clement, Hospitality and Tourism Management

Jeremy Clement, Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Professor of the Year 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.

“I am really honored to have received this award,” says Clement, senior instructor and internship coordinator in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management and director of the Schottland Scholars Program. “Our CofC REACH Program is an incredible team of passionate professionals working to integrate an important group into our community. My REACH students are often some of the most engaged in the classroom and several have even gone on to successful jobs in our local industry. It’s really been my pleasure to work with these students over the years. I’m happy to be able to support the College’s effort to integrate all kinds of students into our classrooms and our community.”