University of Calgary
June 5, 2017
Class of 2018: Inclusive education program delivers authentic university experience
Like other University of Calgary students, Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (IPSE) program students Brett Garth and Ryan McEachern will graduate with more than an education — but also the many campus experiences and new friends they gained along the way.
On June 6, Garth and McEachern will cross the convocation stage with their graduating peers and be awarded certificates of completion from the IPSE program. Since 1992, the IPSE program has created an authentic university experience for students with developmental disabilities.
Each year, students in the program attend classes, join clubs and take part in campus life. Garth and McEachern spent their time engaged in learning, making friends and gaining valuable skills they’ll use throughout their lives.
Garth, above, earned his certificate of completion from the IPSE program while studying in the Faculty of Arts’ Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. He studied a variety of subjects within his discipline. “My favourite was anthropology,” he says.
Garth also enjoyed World and Climate, Geology, and Canadian Folklore, which he took with his favourite professor, Kevin Anderson in the Department of History.
Garth describes the University of Calgary as “the greatest school.” He enjoys participating in the university experience. “I love going to class and being on campus,” he says.
For students who are coming to university or thinking about joining an IPSE program, Garth believes hard work is important for success. “It’s important to have good teachers and listen to the professors so you can learn,” he explains.
Garth also knows that building strong relationships is an important part of the university experience. One of the things he enjoyed most about his time at UCalgary was doing coursework with his friends and his educational facilitator.
After graduation, Garth plans to continue to work at the Den busing tables and is looking for a job working in a movie theatre.
Over the last five years, McEachern studied in the Faculty of Arts to earn his certificate of completion from the IPSE program. Like many students, McEachern worked while he was in school, providing ticketing and concession services for the Dinos. He enjoyed working and made many friends doing so.
McEachern knew he wanted to attend the University of Calgary, especially after he received an IPSE program booklet at his high school. There were too many great classes to choose one favourite, but McEachern’s interest in camping sparked a passion for archaeology. He enjoyed learning about different types of pre-modern tools, from arrowheads and hammers, to how people used to make clothes and pots.
McEachern is enthusiastic about the opportunities he had through the IPSE program. “IPSE helps us a lot, [my] reading and writing is getting better. It’s good to be in IPSE; I liked having their help,” he says.
He advises incoming UCalgary students to get out of their comfort zone and meet new people. “I would tell new students to try to figure things out on your own, but you can always ask anyone around you for help. The students [here] are really helpful,” says McEachern.
After graduation, McEachern plans to look for a job. “I’m applying to a few places. I like working outdoors with cool equipment like camping gear. I want to work at a camping store,” he says.