IDEAL is focused on the development of media literacy, storytelling and media production skills to develop each participating student’s communication skills and media-maker "voice" — an empowering identity for anyone in our media-saturated culture, especially for individuals with intellectual disabilities whose stories are often overlooked or conveyed by others. As students progress through the program, they create a digital "exit portfolio" that highlights each participant’s best project outcomes, skills and products. This digital portfolio allows students to show, rather than tell, future employers about skills developed during their time in the IDEAL program.
IDEAL students take classes with other Georgia State University students and receive work related experience through internships. Our students get to participate in all aspects of university life, such as club memberships, athletic events, arts events, and multicultural events. Our program helps build students’ connections on campus through peer mentors, faculty, and staff. Check out some Recent Happenings at IDEAL
The IDEAL program provides a two-year course of study where the students audit courses offered by GSU colleges and academic departments, complete work-study and internship experiences, and participate in a variety of extracurricular activities on campus. Students audit two courses per semester for five semesters (including 1 summer). Students audit courses from a core curriculum track (six courses) that focuses on technology use, digital/media literacy, communication skills, success in the college environment, self-determination, and career development. Students will also audit an additional four elective courses to build knowledge and skills in their selected area of focus. The IDEAL program currently offers four areas of focus: Film, Art, Music, and Theater. Both core and elective courses are part of the general undergraduate curriculum, participating in the classes alongside their peers with and without disabilities.
During the spring and summer semester of their second year in the program, each IDEAL student will take a capstone experience that will include two components:
- Participation in an internship in a local business or arts organization related to his or her identified career goals. The internship will provide an opportunity for on-going experiences and mentoring/coaching in an aspirational work context.
- Development of a digital exit portfolio of his or her work.
Students also participate in a weekly (non-credit) IDEAL program seminar which will focus on a variety of topics including:
- Identifying learning strategies and supports
- Career development and job-related “soft skills”
- Awareness of and involvement with existing campus activities, organizations, and resources
- Development and promotion of self-determination and self-advocacy skills
- Relationships and Dating
- Transportation and Mobility Training
Each semester, IDEAL staff aids students by utilizing the Students Transitioning to Adult Roles (STAR) Person-Centered Planning (PCP) model to facilitate goal setting and monitor progress across five domains: Career Development & Employment, Academic Enrichment, Campus & Community Engagement, Independent Living, and Self-Determination.
Upon completion of the IDEAL program, students will receive a GSU Certificate of Career Readiness.
- Academic Enrichment: To advance students’ academic knowledge skills, facilitating lifelong learning specifically in the areas of film, television, media, and digital expression.
- Career Development and Gainful Employment: To bolster students’ work experience and career development, preparing them to seek, obtain, and secure employment, having gained job readiness skills, knowledge of work etiquette, and skills specific to their focus of study.
- Independent Living: To prepare students for responsible decision making and to develop essential skills for students to live independently in a setting or context of their choosing.
- Self-determination: To support students’ emotional and social growth, leading to meaningful relationships, greater self-knowledge, advocacy, and confidence beyond college life. To help students build effective interpersonal and intrapersonal communication techniques for success in college, career, and life.
- Campus & Community Engagement: To establish and expand students’ relationships with the broader Georgia State University community, alumni, through engaging in coursework and extracurricular activities on campus.
Tuition and Fees model the current GSU tuition structure for the term – this is subject to change
Academic Tuition: $1,746.00 (in-state) for 6 credit hours
GSU Student Fees: $1,064.00 (required for My ID and access to auxiliary student services)
Program Fee: $4,500 per semester (administrative expenses)
Approximate total: $7,311.00
GSU does offer payment plans. Please click here for more information on payment plans.
Costs do not include books, materials, or other course required expenses.
We are searching for individuals to serve as Peer Mentors and Peer Supports for our IDEAL students. These individuals work with IDEAL students to help them achieve academic success, develop a social network and establish healthy and independent lifestyles. We offer paid and volunteer positions. Apply to be a Peer Mentor HERE!
- Supports students in undergraduate classes as an academic coach
- Connects students with campus organizations of interest
- Assists students in navigating college life
- Serves as a liaison for students' various supports, academic mentors, etc.
Time Commitment: 5 hours per week