The term "Community of Practice" (CoP) is used to describe a group of practitioners who share common concerns and interact regularly to improve their services and other practices. Members of a CoP identify problems in their field, propose changes, plan activities, share resources, and discuss topics of mutual interest.
At Missouri Southern State University a CoP was created to promote collaboration and information-sharing between programs in order to better support students with disabilities on campus. This CoP includes staff from the Disabled Student Services Office, Project STAY (a TRIO program), Student Support, and Career Services. Through meetings and online communication, CoP members share resources, brainstorm solutions to problems, collaborate on student orientation projects, provide each other with professional support and advice, coordinate services to minimize duplication, and discuss issues of mutual concern.
The CoP at Missouri Southern State University is a promising practice in helping staff members and their respective offices work as a community to effectively serve students with disabilities campus-wide.
More ideas on how staff and administrators at postsecondary institutions can collaborate to create facilities, services, and information resources that are welcoming and accessible to all students, including those with disabilities, can be found in the Student Services Conference Room.