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North Carolina Inclusion Summit

Inclusion Summit attendees


June 26, 2023 - 8:00am to 3:00pm
June 27, 2023 - 8:00am to 12:00 noon.

Hosted by Western Carolina University at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in Cullowhee, NC.


Conference Proposal Form: Proposals will be accepted until April 15, 2023
Applicants will be notified by email, of their acceptance status, by May 1st, 2023. 

A special conference rate is available at the nearby Sylva Comfort Inn. Reserve Now.
Additional local hotels can be found at

Registration Cost:
$100 general
$75 for Students, Parents & Pre-K Teachers


Marilyn Friend

Marilyn Friend, Ph.D. Professor Emerita, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Marilyn Friend has spent her career as a U.S. general education and special education teacher (in Virginia and Indiana), researcher, professor, administrator, teacher educator (in Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, and North Carolina), and staff developer. Dr. Friend is the Past President of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success and other outcomes of children and youth with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.

She is a Fulbright scholar and has consulted with school professionals nationally and internationally (more than 3500 presentations and projects in the United States (48 states), Canada, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia) as they collaborate to (a) educate diverse groups of students, assisting them to create classroom partnerships through co-teaching, (b) form productive and efficient work teams, and (c) foster inclusive practices for students with disabilities. 

She is the author or co-author of three widely used college textbooks on special education topics; two books on co-teaching; a variety of co-teaching materials for teachers and administrators; more than 70 articles and chapters about collaboration, inclusion, and co-teaching.  Her books have been translated into Danish, Mandarin, Italian, Portuguese, French, and Japanese. 

Dr. Friend’s contributions were recognized when she was the 2016 recipient of the Teacher Education Division (CEC)/Pearson Excellence in Special Education Teacher Education Award.  She was also named a 2019 recipient of the Indiana University School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award, the 2021 recipient of the Division of the Arts in Special Education (CEC) Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2022 the first recipient of the Academy for Co-Teaching and Collaboration (St. Cloud State University) Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pamela Mims photo

Dr. Pamela Mims, Professor and Associate Dean of Research and Grants, East Tennessee State University

Equitable Access to the General Curriculum for Students with Extensive Support Needs w/ Dr. Pamela Mims
In the current educational environment in which there is a more purposeful focus on equity and inclusion, we must consider disability within the construct of diversity. Decisions based on the least dangerous assumption (LDA) provide outstanding results. This philosophy has been the foundation of research and practice on access to the general curriculum for students with extensive support needs. As a result, studies have repeatedly yielded data showing students with extensive support needs can make gains in a variety of areas including grade aligned content, social engagement, and quality of life. This keynote will discuss current research and realities for students with extensive support needs regarding equitable access to the general curriculum. Findings and implications for practice will be shared from recent high-quality empirical research in English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Math. Moreover, the presentation will highlight how the following components can be embedded in content area instruction to enact LDA: (a) proactively utilizing universal design to provide students access without compromising rigor, (b) implementing evidence and research-based practices with consistent data capture and to facilitate decision making, and (c) meaningful standards-based instruction.

Dr. Pamela Mims is a Professor and the Associate Dean of Resarch and Grants for the Special Education Program at East Tennessee State Univeristy.  She received a Bachlor of Science in Special Education at East Carolina Univeristy, a Master of Arts Education in Special Edication at Western Carolina University, and her Doctoral degree in Special Education from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dr. Mims will be speaking on Building an Inclusive Society on day two of the conference.  







We welcome Individuals with disabilities and their families • Community members • Researchers • Graduate students • Advocates • Administrators • Community-based service providers • Employers • and all others who participate in inclusive practices across the lifespan

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