Initiated in the early 1990's, Project Excel continues a tradition of individual attention to students with learning disabilities (LD) that is reflective of the university mission. The small and caring environment enhances the possibility for student success. There are no additional fess for this program.
Project Excel is a program for individuals attending Kean University with documented learning disabilities or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) as their primary disability. A learning disability is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders occur in persons of average to very superior intelligence. Even though a learning disability may exist concomitantly with other handicapping conditions (e.g. sensory impairment) or environmental influence (e.g. cultural or language difficulties), it is not the direct result of those conditions or influences.
The primary goal of Project Excel is to foster success through increased self-reliance during and beyond college years. Strategy instruction and academic support in a small, closely-knit environment where students, faculty, and staff work together foster discovery of individual learning strengths and weaknesses. The goal of our program is to have students move out of the structured support environment towards self-direction and greater acceptance of responsibility for managing lifetime learning as their confidence increases and they embrace more successes.
Project Excel is unique in the level of services available to the qualified student by professional staff of learning specialists, called Mentors. All mentors have a minimum of a Master's Degree in a related field of study; however, all have post-Master's training. Dr. Marie Segal, a professor at Kean University in the Department of Special Education, a licensed psychologist and Director of the Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant Graduate Program, is the designer of Project Excel and has been the Director of the program since its inception. The Project Excel faculty has the greatest impact on enabling students to enjoy academic success by providing academic support and content-based learning strategies instruction in a one-to-one situation.
After Project Excel students have made their needs known, our mentors assist in arranging the appropriate reasonable accommodations for students on an individual basis. Students must accept certain responsibilities for their education throughout the semester. These responsibilities are outlined in a unique document called the College Education Plan (CEP) which is designed collaboratively between the student and their Mentor.
Project Excel students, like non-Project Excel students, are provided with academic advising through their academic department of study. Project Excel mentors assist their students in determining how many credit hours to take and in considering their best options in selecting a major. Some Project Excel students may be advised to reconsider their intention of pursuing an academic major that requires a special licensing or certification requirements or proficiency on basic skills tests. Some learning problems significantly affect basic skill proficiency (required by the NJ State Department of Education for selection into teacher certification programs), therefore, teacher certification is limited to those students with disabilities who meet such standards.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 suggest that it is discriminatory to restrict
Diagnostic assessments are available at the Institute of Child Study for a nominal fee. Reasonable accommodations, such as additional time for tests or coursework, are available through evaluation with a Mentor. Many other services are available on an individual need basis.
Project Excel does not provide remedial or developmental instruction. Specialized tutoring in all content areas including science, psychology, education and business are offered through the Learning Assistance Program on campus. Through Project Excel, students can find "trained" tutors to assist with their academic studies.
Project Excel students are eligible for a minimum of one session per week of individual contact time with support staff, preferential registration for each semester, referral to campus services for tutoring, training for learning strategies, assistance with student advocacy with faculty, and peer mentoring. Academic, career, personal advisement/counseling are available at our offices or students will be referred to other services on campus. Our Mentors will develop a College Education Plan (CEP) that includes all reasonable accommodations required to enjoy success at the college level.
Learning Specialists carefully direct selection of students for admission to Project Excel. Students with specific learning disabilities comprise the largest number of students served. However, students with ADD/ADHD are also eligible for support in Project Excel.
All applicants must submit the following materials to Project Excel:
All students receiving services through Project Excel are required to make a commitment to work responsibly and attend classes, tutoring, workshops, and mentoring sessions.
Institute of Child Study