SC State's Lunch and Learn Training Sessions Deemed Highly Valuable

Monday, September 27, 2010

A month into its existence for the fall 2010 academic semester, SC State’s Lunch and Learn Training Sessions are proving to be favorable among faculty, staff and administrators.

An initiative of the Disability Enhancement Program (DEP), the Lunch and Learn training sessions are designed to increase the awareness and support of faculty, staff and administrators, to the academic needs of students with disabilities.  The DEP program assists with the development, training and technical assistance of students, along with providing valuable and resourceful teaching methods to enhance student achievement.

“The lunch and learn training sessions have been well presented and enlightened me in some areas pertaining to disabilities,” noted Barry Frishberg, professor of health sciences.  “I have changed my teaching methods in some regard for students who may have learning disabilities and are hesitant to share that information with me.”

As advised during the training sessions, it is important for students to identify physical and non-physical disabilities in order to receive adequate assistance. Because this is not always reality due to a student’s fear or other notions, faculty and staff members are trained to be able to identify many of the warning signs. 

Susie Dupree, resident manager for Williams Hall, an all female housing facility, says the trainings prepare her and her staff to assist students with disabilities.  “I have a lot of athletes participating in various sports that reside in Williams Hall, particularly freshmen.  The trainings help me relate to my resident assistants, knowing what to look for in helping identify and assisting a person with a disability,” says Dupree.

The subject of Attention Deficit Hypertension Disorder (ADHD) will be discussed during the month’s last lunch and learn training session, which will be held on Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 at noon in the Dr. Barbara A. Vaughan Recital Hall, located on the campus of SC State University.  The training will be conducted by Dr. Karen Pettus, director of Disability services at the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia.

Prior to her current role at USC, Pettus served as the director of the Counseling Center, Career Center and Disability Resource Center at Midlands Technical College for three years.  She also served as co-director of the CarolinaLIFE program, which provides a collegiate experience for students with intellectual disabilities.  Additionally, Pettus served as a sign language interpreter for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn. and UT Chattanooga in Chattanooga, Tenn. For more than 11 years, Pettus was a special education teacher, working with students in grades K-12.

Pettus’ research interests are in career development for individuals with disabilities, and the relationship between students and parents and its impact on student achievement.  She is the principal investigator for two grants involving students with disabilities.

Pettus obtained her bachelor’s degree in special education with an emphasis in deaf education.  She obtained her master’s degree in adult education and her Ph.D. in educational psychology from USC. Pettus is a member of the Association of Higher Education and Disability, SUCCEEDS (SC affiliate of AHEAD), Council for Exceptional Children and American College and Personnel Association. She is married to Jim Pettus and has two children, Michael and Jennifer. 

For more information and to register for the Lunch and Learn training session, log onto or contact the Office of Professional Development at (803) 536-7104.