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Partners Next Steps Vanderbilt at Peabody College of Education and Human Development in Nashville, Tennessee. Peabody, Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee, Education, Human Development, next steps

Special Education Department at Peabody College at Vanderbilt
Ranked as the #1 Special Education Program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for more than a decade, our department has long been a leader both in research and practice. Our department ranks first in scholarly production and is a leader in equipping special educators to deliver high-quality educational experiences for students with disabilities.

The mission of the Department of Special Education is to improve the lives of children and youth with disabilities through (a) the preparation of exceptionally competent teachers and researchers, (b) conducting research that informs and improves educational programs and behavioral interventions, and (c) leadership in professional associations and advocacy for persons with disabilities. We are committed to equipping students with diverse backgrounds and experiences to provide exceptional services and supports to people with disabilities and their families.

Vanderbilt University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD)
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities provides innovative leadership in education, research and services to people with disabilities, the community, and families. They promote the independence, self-determination, productivity, integration, and inclusion of individuals with developmental disabilities and provide supports for families.

TN Inclusive Higher Education (IHE) Alliance
The Tennessee Inclusive Higher Education Alliance was formed in May 2007 to increase awareness about the need for postsecondary opportunities in Tennessee, to gather information about postsecondary programs in other states, and to develop a pilot program on a Tennessee college campus.

The first program in Tennessee, Next Steps at Vanderbilt, began in January 2010. The second program, University of Tennessee FUTURE, began in August 2011. Additional programs are currently housed at Lipscomb University (IDEAL), Union University (EDGE), the University of Memphis (TigerLIFE), East Tennessee State University (ACCESS ETSU), Dyersburg State Community College (Eagle Access), and Tennessee State University (TigerEDGE).

The Alliance continues to work for the development of more programs on campuses across Tennessee and meets quarterly. The Alliance is comprised of representatives from state and local agencies, self-advocates, and family members, representatives from colleges and universities in Tennessee, and business owners. For information on Alliance meetings, contact

To learn more about the Alliance and to connect with one of Tennessee's eight programs, visit the Tennessee Inclusive Higher Education Alliance Website at: .

 You can also find out more information about the alliance in this flyer or this video.

Next Steps Advisory Council
The Next Steps Advisory Council provides guidance and effort in the development and sustainability of Next Steps at Vanderbilt. Through quarterly meetings and action steps throughout the year, the members share their expertise and talents.

2021-2022 Advisory Council members:

  • Margaret Burd
  • Erik Carter
  • Tammy Day
  • Catherine Duggan
  • Elena Graves
  • Carrie Guiden
  • Heidi Haines
  • Clisby Hall
  • Morel Harvey
  • Megan Heim
  • Jen Holt
  • Sarah Hunt
  • John Lewis
  • Anne Martin
  • Elise McMillan
  • Sam Moran
  • Adrienne Nordman
  • Anne Thompson
  • Mary Layne Van Cleave


Next Steps Steering Committee
Next Steps has enjoyed and benefited from the support of Vanderbilt Administration from the Chancellor’s and Provost’s Offices on down. Top level administrators have provided guidance in the development of Next Steps, always beginning with the advice, “This is how things are done for ALL students on our campus.”

2021-2022 Next Steps Steering Committee:

Sharon Shields, Associate Dean of Professional Education

GL Black, Assistant Provost and Deputy Dean of Students

Cathy Weisbrodt, Associate Director of Career Center, Science Careers and Health Professions Advising

Belinda Otukolo Saltiban, Associate Vice Chancellor, Equity Diversity and Inclusion

Erik Carter, Prof. of Special Education, Faculty Advisor

Elise McMillan, J. D., co-director of Vanderbilt’s University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, one of the founders of Next Steps

Tammy Day, Director of Next Steps at Vanderbilt

Lauren Bethune-Dix, Assistant Director and Academic Director, Next Steps at Vanderbilt

Jenny Gustafson, Director of Residential Initiatives for Next Steps