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APH Executive in Residence

The Executive in Residence (EIR) program was originally designed to sponsor a vision professional or university professor on-site for up to six months. In practice, the time spent in residence has typically ranged from six weeks to three months. To work, the program must be flexible to meet the specific requirements of the EIR. In one instance, the time was spread over a year. In another, the EIR came back the following year to complete projects.

Three APH Executives in Residence pose together at Annual Meeting 2009: Kay Ferrell, Phil Hatlen, and Jane Erin.

The ABC Braille Study report was presented at the 2007 APH Annual Meeting. The presenters included past and a future Executive in Residence: Jane Erin (EIR 2010/2011), Cay Holbrook (EIR 2006), as well as Anne Corn (TN), Sharon Sacks (CA), and Diane Wormsley (EIR 2015).

From time to time, since 2005, the program has also been called "Expert in Residence" and "Scholar in Residence," but is generally known as the "Executive in Residence" program. Of the four EIRs to date, three are university professors who participated while on sabbatical, and one is a former university professor who retired as a residential school superintendent.

By being in residence, the executives have access to APH facilities, resources, and staff. In turn, APH staff have a unique opportunity to interact with and learn from seasoned professionals.

In 2005, we excitedly announced that our first EIR would be Dr. Cay Holbrook of the University of British Columbia. Thanks to a well-earned sabbatical, Cay was able to join us from September through November of 2006 during which time she primarily assisted with Department of Research projects. Among her many areas of interest were developing a research matrix – matching research topic needs of APH with possible field solutions, providing forums with department staff to discuss research techniques,participating in one on one meetings with staff members throughout the company, working on product development, and looking at "tried and true" products with new eyes…for expanded use.

These kinds of projects have become staples of the EIR role.

Our EIRs have also served in a counseling and consultative role to APH administrators and, on several occasions, have assisted APH with projects and partnerships with the federal government and other agencies and organizations.

These pages will share the evolution of the Executive in Residence program primarily from the perspectives of the participants: