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Research presented at the 2020 Georgia Educational Research Association Conference, virtual conference.

Inclusive excellence has risen to the forefront as a strategic pillar of many higher education improvement plans or mission statements. The embodiment of inclusion in the college setting can be seen in the growth of inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities on college campuses across the state over the past decade. Georgia currently has nine IPSE programs and is in working on adding several more over the next few years. The challenges of including students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in university settings can be great, but with the help of natural supports such as peer mentors, students in these programs become fully immersed in college life – including academics, social and athletic events, workplaces, and their peers. This presentation will discuss some of the experiences of peer mentors, IPSE students, and professors involved in an IPSE program at one university. Results include the benefits of this experience, not only to IPSE students, but to the peer mentors and professors themselves. Future implications regarding developing a high-quality peer mentor program to support inclusive excellence will be discussed.

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Georgia Educational Research Association Conference