Carleton University Launches New Minor in Disability Studies
Latest in Strong Line of Initiatives and Programs Dedicated to Accessibility
Ottawa - This fall, Carleton University launched a minor in Disability Studies. The multifaceted and interdisciplinary Disability Studies minor provides a broader understanding of the experience of countless people living with, or who are affected by, any form of disability; be it learning, physical, mental or otherwise. “The study of disability is an internationally emerging field of study in academia. Though it’s still relatively new, most people are beginning to realize the importance of investigating life with disability on a deeper level including the personal, social, political, economic and cultural issues relating to disability; and I think this fits well the culture at Carleton. People with disabilities are part of our communities, our history, our culture and our society. They always have been and always will be. Disability is not a sickness, and more likely than not, everyone has experienced it personally in one form or another, ” said Roy Hanes, professor in the School of Social Work.
Housed in the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, this innovative minor is the result of the hard work and collaboration of many faculty members, students and staff across all fields of study at Carleton. “Disability studies are not just for people with disabilities - it is for everyone. It encourages us not only to identify barriers to inclusion in our world, but also, opportunities for building solutions. Social change is hard work, though - it requires an understanding of history, of various approaches and how to bring people together,” said Nathan Hauch, graduate student in the School of Public Policy and Administration.
• Coursework in the minor will explore the historical, cultural, economic, physical and social aspects of disability within a totally inclusive environment.
• Students will also receive first-hand information, as a number of local people with disabilities will deliver guest talks to discuss their views and experiences.
• The minor strives to guide students to further educational opportunities in disability studies, including hands-on, community-based research, volunteer work and placements, which could lead to work with local, national and global institutions that address the needs of people who live with disability.
• Students from a wide range of disciplines played a key role in the implementation of the minor by providing input and research. As a result, they were able to propose a model for Disability Studies and a Carleton University web site on the History of the wheelchair.
• Reception for Disability Studies 1001 has been wonderful, it filled on the first day, and based on sheer demand, a second section had to be opened for the winter term.
• According to a 2010 United Nations Report, disabled persons make up the world’s largest minority, at around 15 per cent. An estimated one billion people live with a disability, while approximately 54 per cent are directly affected by the disability of someone close to them.