Kennesaw State’s Inclusive Academy adds new programs

KENNESAW, Ga. | Nov 11, 2019

Offerings include Microsoft Office, Customer Service and Culinary Foundations

Students in Kennesaw State’s Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth now have the opportunity to earn additional certifications in Customer Service and Professionalism, Culinary Foundations, and Microsoft Office, that could open doors to future career paths when they graduate.

The new certificate-track programs began this semester, and all 42 students in the Academy are participating.

Academy Executive Director Neil Duchac said the programs offer important life and job skills that can help students become more work-ready when they leave KSU.

“Take our Culinary Foundations certificate, for example,” Duchac said. “We have two specific goals. One is to increase our students’ ability to cook for themselves, and the other is to have them gain an interest in working in the food business.”

Students learn the protocol of working in a fast-paced professional kitchen from an executive chef in KSU’s College of Professional Education. They also learn the demands such a position requires.

“The chef is excellent in pointing out safety issues and protocols for them to safely work in the kitchen,” said Duchac, who also serves as an assistant professor of human services.

All first-year Academy students enrolled in the Customer Service and Professionalism track will receive certificates at the end of the fall and spring semesters. The course includes a blended learning format with online modules, instructor-led classes and live-skill practice sessions.

After completing the first semester’s requirements for certification, students continue with that course in a more advanced format the following semester. They can also choose to enroll in either the Culinary Foundations or Microsoft Office certificate programs to earn additional certifications.

These certificates are in addition to the Academy’s two certificate programs, each two years in length, designed to provide an inclusive post-secondary opportunity to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Students can receive one certificate from the Academic, Social, Career Enrichment (ASCE) foundational program and, later, one advanced certificate from the Leadership and Career Development (LCD) program. The ASCE program is a Comprehensive Transition Program.

The Academy’s ASCE program offers a fully inclusive college experience to students with different intellectual or developmental abilities who do not meet the university requirements for admission as degree-seeking students. They audit two classes per semester and, at the completion of the two-year program, are awarded certificates during the university’s Spring Commencement ceremonies.

“Our newest certifications are part of what we call our ‘2 plus 2’ program,” Duchac said, “because our students can take one of the new programs in the first two years and get their KSU certificate. If they do well, they can apply and get another KSU certificate.”

Created through a partnership with KSU’s College of Professional Education, the three new certificate programs are designed to teach valuable workplace skills that can help Academy graduates become workplace ready.

The Academy, which operates within the WellStar College of Health and Human Services, anticipates offering a fourth certificate program in the near future.

“Our goal is to add another track,” said Duchac, “so that in each of the four years, students could choose to  pursue a different track.”

– Robert S. Godlewski

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit