History of BRSS

The Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)/Beckwith Residential Support Services (BRSS) began a partnership with University Housing during fall semester 2010 with the opening of Timothy J. Nugent Hall. BRSS provides support for first floor residents of Nugent Hall with physical disabilities who require assistance in the performance of basic activities of daily living.

2 students talking

Previously, Beckwith served as a stand-alone residence hall that opened its doors in 1981 under DRES serving students with severe physical disabilities. Over the years, the program has expanded and refined its support to best meet the changing needs of each cohort group that begins its journey at the University of Illinois with support from Beckwith staff and programs.

It has long been realized that many students with severe disabilities are often ill-prepared at the time of high school graduation to successfully adjust to the rigorous Illinois academic environment, while concurrently acquiring the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to live independently (including hiring, training, scheduling, and managing personal attendants without assistance).

On the first floor of Nugent Hall, students needing assistance in the performance of activities of daily living are afforded the opportunity to participate in educational opportunities to improve their knowledge and skills in independent living, and are empowered by the responsibility which they share with the Beckwith Administrative Team for hiring, training, scheduling, managing, and evaluating Beckwith’s personal assistant staff.

Nugent with a student speaking into microphone

John Burton, a third-year resident was privileged to not only contribute in the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Nugent Hall, and Ikenberry Commons in October 2010, but he was also invited to speak to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. If you’re interested, you can read his speech.

In addition to the physical design elements of individual student rooms, all residents of Nugent Hall have access to the newly built dining hall that includes seven food stations and can accommodate up to 1,200 people at time. Finally, there is a new cardio equipment room with accessible exercise equipment within the workout space.

Transitional Disability Management Plan (TDMP) is developed between the Visiting Disability Advisor, resident, and others identified by the student for involvement in the TDMP process. The purpose of the TDMP is to improve each student’s management of his/her disability-related needs as it impacts all facets of their life.

Detailed information can be found in the Beckwith Residential Support Services Program Brochure which can be viewed as a pdf. Additionally, a helpful resource for a student transition can be the Student Transition Skill Checklist which is available as a pdf or text. In April, 2007 we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Beckwith Hall. To honor Dr. Timothy J. Nugent’s vision, and people associated with Beckwith Hall, including residents and staff; as well as reflect on past milestones and achievements we created the Celebration of Success-The Beckwith Experience – Memories of the Past and Present which can be viewed as a pdf or text.

Check out our annual newsletters for personal stories of residents, staff and families about Beckwith services and life at Nugent Hall. Recent media coverage of Nugent Hall and Beckwith Residential Support Services can be found in the Chicago TribuneThe Chronicle of Higher EducationWCIA-Channel 3 and UI 7 News.