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2015 Golisano Foundation Move to Include Award

Martha Mock

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Martha has been dedicated to increasing college options for students with intellectual disabilities.

Dr. Martha Mock is Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Innovative Transition at the U of R.

Martha’s move to Rochester in 2006 from Wisconsin was perfect for the Foundation and the community. 

We had just published our findings and recommendations for improving transition services for students with IDD as they graduate high school and prepare for the adult world.

We needed a leader in educational transition; a leader who knew how to mobilize community resources, school districts, State Ed, adult service organizations, students and families to work together – not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination.

We found our leader in Dr. Martha Mock, who has worked tirelessly to create college options for students with IDD and develop best practices at local colleges.

The 4 college partners in the TPSID initiative – Keuka College, MCC, Roberts Wesleyan and UR – have provided enriched experience and certificate programs to hundreds of students with IDD over the past 5 years.

We thank them for their commitment and continued participation.

In addition to these 4 programs, another 18 colleges in the western NY region have programs for students with IDD.

Congratulations, Martha, on your award!

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Martha Mock, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester’s Warner Graduate School of Education and the Director of the Institute for Innovative Transition. For more than 25 years, Dr. Mock has worked with and been a tireless advocate for people with disabilities and their families in educational and community-based settings. She has worked to bring additional resources to our region and state to increase college options for people with intellectual disabilities and awareness of postsecondary options to families and students in New York.

She currently leads the federally-funded Western New York Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) initiative that provides a consortium of partnering colleges/universities, schools, and adult agencies with technical assistance and training that has enabled them to create or expand high-quality, inclusive model comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities. Over the past five years, almost 200 students have participated in a meaningful college experience at four local higher education institutions, including Keuka College, Monroe Community College, Roberts Wesleyan College, and the University of Rochester, as part of the Western New York TPSID initiative.

The Institute for Innovative Transition was founded in 2008, through a partnership with the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation and the University of Rochester. Under Dr. Mock’s leadership, the Institute has secured grants, totaling over $7 million, focusing on youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities from federal, state, and private foundation funders. Some funders include the U.S. Department of Education, NYS Developmental Disability Planning Council, and the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation. Dr. Mock has roots as an educator and researcher with expertise and special interests in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, transition, employment, inclusive higher education, person-centered planning, and systems change. She was the recipient of the Marc Gold Innovative Practices in Transition Award from the Division on Career Development and Transition in 2012 and the EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

 A former special education teacher, Dr. Mock holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is on the Board of Directors at CP Rochester and resides in Brighton with her husband Dr. Jeffrey Choppin and their 10-year-old daughter, Delilah.

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About the Award
An Award that challenges its very name

Samuel Beckett, the novelist and poet observed, “Words are all we have.” If that is true then we need to be mindful of those we use.

The disability field is fond of the word “include,” believing it refers to society embracing and celebrating value in human diversity.  The reality is that the word is derived from the Latin word meaning “to shut in, enclose.” It can mean to “make room for,” “take into account,” “work in,” “accommodate,” and “admit.” All of which, does not describe the Golisano Foundation’s Move to Include Award.

This Award is not given to individuals and organizations that strive to “fit people in,” and “make room” for people with intellectual disabilities. The Award is not intended to honor the movement to include people despite their disabilities; and certainly not because of their disabilities

The Golisano Move to Include Award was designed to demonstrate that inclusion should never be an afterthought, a “make room” effort or a “do over” effort in social justice. The Award points out that in our society there are individuals and organizations that understand that inclusion, true inclusion is not something that is created through a mission statement, a tagline or a bumper sticker. The Move to Include Award celebrates the “movement” - the arduous and tenacious movement  -  that strives to embrace people, not as an afterthought, and equally important to move the psyche of individuals, systems, communities and societies that will one day eliminate the need to offer awards noteworthy for succeeding in “allowing people; people with novelties” to be welcomed into the fold.

We do not learn anything by simply “including,” “allowing,“ or “permitting” others to live and work alongside of us. We do not profit or grow by “accepting,” or even “welcoming” people with disabilities.

We, as a neighborhood, community and society learn, grow and profit by “believing” in the sanctity, value and merit of “together.” The essence of “together” transcends “inclusion.”  The Golisano Award belongs to those who believe that being together, not by mandate, statute or fiat; is the only way we can benefit from the joys, challenges and perspectives that “believing in being together” can be promoted and realized.

The Golisano Move to Include Award is given to those who both “believe” and “act” in the purest realm of the essence of “move to include.” It is given in the hope that the understanding of “include” can be elevated, promoted, ingrained and demonstrated at the highest levels of human behavior.

Award narrative written by Rick Rader, MD, Co-Founder, American Association of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry