Cutting Edge Program
The Cutting Edge Program at Edgewood College was piloted in 2007. It was the first program at a four-year college in Wisconsin to offer a fully inclusive college experience for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since its inception, the program has continued to grow and offers individualized wrap-around services to support students in academics, student housing, social experiences, and practicums/internships. We currently support 24 students per academic year. Our program has since expanded to include two additional programs: Pre-College and Alumni Program. As part of Edgewood College’s Dominican tradition, students learn the values of justice, compassion, truth, community, and partnership. Through these values, students are given the opportunity to experience civic engagement both on campus and in the Madison community.
The Cutting Edge Open House is held twice a year. Once in the fall and once in the spring. The Open House is a great opportunity for prospective families to learn about the program, meet current students and families, and meet our staff.
Virtual Cutting Edge Spring Open House
Friday, March 12, 2021
|Program Overview with Cutting Edge Staff|
|Cutting Edge Student Panel|
|Cutting Edge Parent Panel|
With the Cutting Edge Program
Our alumni are employed 3 times higher compared to national average rates for people with disabilities.
Approximately 85% of our students are employed upon graduation.
80% of those employed upon graduation are living independently.
Our students are 3 times more likely to have paid employment.
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Entrance into the Cutting Edge Program require that the student:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have an intellectual or developmental disability
- Have the desire to go to college
Applications should include the following:
- Application Fee (paid Online)
- Recent Photo
- Official Transcripts
- At least one letter of reference (Not a Family Member)
- One-page essay - "Why I Want to Go to College"
- Current IEP or Re-Evaluation
- *Parent Survey
- *Two Teacher Survey’s
The Cutting Edge Program recognizes that there are different pathways through college and provides an individually designed plan for each student. Students and their families meet with Cutting Edge staff at least twice per year to develop their Individualized College Plan, which includes the benchmarks to reach their overall goal.
There are two paths for students to choose. Both paths support them in becoming independent and contributing members of their community.
Pathway 1: Non-Degree (2-4 years)
This non-degree certificate is customizable for each student. With this certificate, students typically have the freedom and flexibility to choose the classes they take and whether they will take that class for credit or audit.
After completion of their Individualized College Plan, students receive a customizable Cutting Edge certificate that further develops their strengths and talents, therefore making them more marketable in the workplace. With this certificate, former students have created their own businesses and/or worked in the community in a variety of settings.
There are two non-degree Career Certificates recognized by Edgewood College: the Paraprofessional Educator Certificate and the 21st Century Skills for Employment Certificate. Students following this pathway must take courses in those areas for credit, but are able to take other courses for credit or audit.
Students who are earning the Paraprofessional Educator Certificate complete practicums, and later work in the school setting. Students who are earning the 21st Century Skills for Employment participate in internships, and later work in the business setting.
Pathway 2: Degree-Seeking (4-6 years)
Inclusive Academic Courses
Cutting Edge students have access to the same courses as undergraduate students. Courses that students are enrolled in are chosen based on individual student goals and input from family and Cutting Edge staff. The student’s team then develops an Individualized College Plan that specifies a series of courses to meet the needs of their chosen pathway.
These courses could include, but are not limited to: Art, Communications, Music, English, Math, Science, History, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Foreign Language, and Theater
Cutting Edge Courses
New Cutting Edge students take courses that assist in the transition to college, specifically addressing social aspects of college. These courses include:
- ED 091 Safety in the Community
Students learn about personal safety, navigation in the community, self-advocacy, self-defense in uncomfortable situations, and emergency response.
- ED 092 Interpersonal Relationships
Students learn about support systems, appropriate social proximity, navigation of social situations, relationship building, & exploration of their role in our diverse world.
- ED 90 Skills for Success/ED 112 College Success
Students work on reading, writing, and study skills using specific strategies and assistive technology.
- ED 093 Cutting Edge Internship - Section A (Fall)
- Internship Development - Section B (Spring)
- Internship Application: While taking this course, students participate in an on or off campus paid internship. Students develop their professional skills through writing a resume and cover letter, creating a portfolio, and practicing interview skills.
Support for All Pathways
Course Coaches, Job Coaches, Community Engagement Mentors, Health & Wellness Mentors, Volunteer Peer Mentors, Independent Living Mentors, and Cutting Edge staff supports in areas of academic, professional, social, and emotional development.
Cutting Edge offers support in three distinct areas. Through academic advisors, our staff, and peer mentors, each student will receive the support they need throughout their college experience.
Undergraduate students who are trained & compensated by the Cutting Edge Program to support Cutting Edge students inside & outside of the classroom with their academic courses.
Undergraduate students who are trained & compensated by the Cutting Edge Program to support Cutting Edge students on & off campus in their internship experiences.
Community Engagement Mentors:
Undergraduate students who are trained & paid by the Cutting Edge Program to encourage students to participate in on-campus activities & events in the community. They also ensure that students have plans for the weekend that are safe & appropriate.
Health & Wellness Mentors:
Undergraduate students who support Cutting Edge students in maintaining their health & well-being, as well as oversee the use of equipment in the Fitness Center.
Volunteer Peer Mentors:
Undergraduate & graduate students who commit to spend at least one hour per week with a Cutting Edge student promoting appropriate & healthy social skills.
Independent Living Mentors:
Undergraduate student who are trained & compensated by the Cutting Edge Program to promote independence in safe & supported environments. These mentors help students with time management skills, roommate relationships, daily living (laundry, hygiene, cooking), emotional support, & self-advocacy skills. They also encourage appropriate social interactions with fellow residents.
Students participate in practicums and internships in order to build skills that lead to employment. Each semester, students participate in paid internships on campus that are paired with coursework.
Each internship is designed around the individual’s career goals. Some students even choose to start their own business while in college. As students near the completion of their career goals, they are engaged in community employment off campus. During their final year, the Cutting Edge Program coordinates a transition team that assists the student in obtaining integrated employment that is meaningful and fulfilling.