AccessSTEM Capacity-Building Institute (CBI)


[Students working on laptops.]

The AccessSTEM Capacity-Building Institute (CBI) took place January 10-12, 2007, in Seattle. Its overall purpose was to explore ways to increase the participation of people with disabilities in all STEM projects and, ultimately, in careers.

Participants in this two-and-one-half day event included leaders of NSF projects that promote the participation of women, racial/ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Hosted by the University of Washington, the AccessSTEM CBI provided a forum for comparing recruitment and access challenges, sharing successful practices, developing collaborations, and otherwise increasing the capacity of all NSF-funded projects to serve individuals with disabilities.

The ultimate goal of the AccessSTEM CBI was to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities, particularly those who are also members of other underrepresented groups, in STEM fields. Speakers and panelists were also CBI participants; many have disabilities and/or are women or racial/ethnic minorities. Broad issue areas discussed included

In this CBI

Participants discussed barriers encountered by individuals with disabilities (e.g., access to science labs, field trips, technology, information resources), how to eliminate or reduce these barriers, successful strategies for recruiting and retaining individuals with disabilities into STEM fields, how projects that support other underrepresented groups can work with projects that support individuals with disabilities to maximize outcomes, and how all STEM programs can be made more inclusive of individuals with disabilities by applying universal design principles. Successful strategies discussed extend from K-12 through college and employment within two categories:

[Lyla and a CBI Particpant.]

Four specific questions were addressed by CBI participants:

  1. How are STEM access issues for people with disabilities the same as those for other underrepresented groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, women)? How are they different?
  2. In what ways do making STEM activities accessible to students with disabilities benefit other students?
  3. What can STEM projects do to increase the participation of students with disabilities?
  4. How can projects best measure the outcomes and impacts of their interventions to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities, women, and people with disabilities in STEM?

Presentations and panels at the CBI were followed by small group interactions regarding the topics presented. Group representatives reported to all participants and notes were incorporated into the proceedings. In addition to CBI participants, and other NSF project directors, the results of these efforts are shared through the AccessSTEM Knowledge Base at http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/kb.html.

The agenda for the CBI is printed on the next few pages and includes web addresses for the event handouts. CBI Agenda

Tuesday

7:00-9:00 p.m.
Evening Social and Time to Get Acquainted

Wednesday

8:00-8:50 a.m.
Buffet Breakfast, Networking
9:00-9:50
Welcome
Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, University of Washington
Introductions
Students with disabilities share STEM access perspectives in video Working Together: Science Teachers and Students with Disabilities.
(Online video and handouts: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Video/wt_sci.html)
9:50-10:30
Pursuit of a STEM Career: A Personal Story
Dr. Imke Durre, Scientist, National Climatic Data Center
10:30-10:45
Break
10:45-11:15
Broadening Participation in STEM
Dr. Mark Leddy, National Science Foundation
11:15-11:55
Access Barriers, Solutions—Accommodations and Universal Design
Teachers and students share ideas for assuring access to STEM courses for students with disabilities in video The Winning Equation: Access + Attitude = Success in Math and Science.
(Online video and handouts: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Video/winequ.html)
11:55 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Introduction to Small-Group Discussion Format
12:00-1:30
Lunch and Working Group Discussions
Question 1: How are STEM access issues for people with disabilities the same as those for other underrepresented groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, women)? How are they different?
1:30-1:50
Working Group Reports:
Question 1: Each group shares one way STEM access issues for people with disabilities are (1) the same as and (2) different from those for other underrepresented groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, women). Note: See pp. 11-12 for findings of this working group.
1:50-2:45
Discover Accommodation and Universal Design Strategies for a Hands-on Science Activity
Valerie Sundby, Lyla Crawford, Project Coordinators, AccessSTEM
Activity: Educators share universal design instructional strategies in video Universal Design of Instruction: Definition, Principles, and Examples.
(Online video and handouts: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Video/ea_udi.html)
2:45-3:00
Break
3:00-3:50
Critical Junctures Panel
Projects to increase participation of people with disabilities in STEM share experiences and insights.
3:50-4:30
Working Group Discussions
Question 2: In what ways does making STEM activities accessible to students with disabilities benefit other students?
4:30-4:50
Working Group Reports
Question 2: Each group shares one way making STEM activities accessible to students with disabilities benefits other students. Note: See pp. 14-15 for findings of this working group.
4:50-5:00
Preview of Tonight's Activity and Tomorrow's Agenda, Daily Feedback
5:00 p.m.
Adjourn
6:30-8:30
Dinner, Network and Discuss Future Collaborations
Meet Dr. Paul Miller, Professor of Law and Director, UW Disability Studies

Thursday

8:00-8:50 a.m.
Buffet Breakfast, Networking, Discussion
9:00
Overview of Agenda
9:10-10:25
Panel
Projects that increase the participation of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM share lessons learned in broadening participation in STEM. How can those lessons be applied to increase the participation of people with disabilities in STEM?
10:25-10:40
Break
10:40 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Experiences of Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities share transition strategies in video Taking Charge II: Stories of Success and Self-Determination.
(Online video and handouts: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Video/charge_2.html)

Panel
People with disabilities who are also racial/ethnic minorities or women share their stories. With what communities do they identify? What promotes and what inhibits the pursuit of STEM courses and careers?

12:00-1:30
Lunch and Working Group Discussions
Question 3: What can STEM projects do to increase the participation of students with disabilities?
1:30-1:50
Working Group Reports
Question 3: Each group shares two things STEM projects can do to increase the participation of people who have disabilities. Note: See pp. 16-17 for findings of this working group.
1:50-2:30
Information Technology Access Barriers and Solutions: Assistive Technology and Universal Design
Students demonstrate assistive technology in video Computer Access: In Our Own Words.
(Online video and handouts: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Video/comp_acc.html)
Accessible Web Design
Terry Thompson, Technology Specialist, AccessSTEM
(Online video and handouts: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Video/www.html, http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Technology/web_admin.html)
2:30-3:05
Science Lab Access Barriers and Solutions: Accommodations and Universal Design
Dr. Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Southern Maine
(Online video and handouts: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Video/ea_sci_sensory.html)
3:05-3:15
STEM students with sensory impairments and educators share experiences in video Equal Access: Science and Students with Sensory Impairments (Online handout: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/equal_access_sci.html)
3:15-4:00
Break
4:00-4:30
Working Group Discussions
Question 4: How can projects best measure the outcomes and impacts of their interventions to increase the participation of underrepresented minorities, women, and people with disabilities in STEM?
4:30-4:55
Working Group Reports
Question 4: Each group shares one way to measure the increase of minorities, women, and people with disabilities in STEM. Note: see p. 18 for findings of this working group.
4:55-5:00
Preview of Tomorrow's Agenda, Daily Feedback
5:00 p.m.
Adjourn
5:00-onward
Dinner on Your Own
Explore Seattle cuisine.

Friday

8:00-8:50 a.m.
Buffet Breakfast, Networking, Discussion
9:00-10:00
Making Your Project Accessible to Participants with Disabilities: A Checklist
Activity: Begin personal plan for implementation.
In Equal Access: Universal Design of Your Project, cross out items that do not apply and put implementation date for others.
(Online handout: http://www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Programs/design.html)

Discussion
How can the checklist be adapted for use in NSF STEM projects?

10:15-10:30
Break
10:30-11:45
Communication within Communities of Practice (CoP) AccessSTEM Minigrants
For members of CoPs to increase participation of people with disabilities in STEM; format of proposal distributed on CoP lists.Up to $4,000 for AT; conference fees; refreshments, room rental, travel/honorarium costs for speakers, panelists at local/regional Capacity-Building Institute or presentation. Recipients must report outcomes of projects.

Discussion
What can we do as a group to promote access to STEM for people with disabilities?

  • Publish proceedings?
  • Create a publication to help other projects make their activities and resources accessible?
  • Publish an article in the Review of Disability Studies and/or other journals?
  • Deliver a presentation or poster at NSF's Joint Annual Meeting (JAM) and/or other meetings?
11:45
CBI Evaluation
Lunch and further discussion

Have a safe trip home!

Visit the AccessSTEM website, including a Knowledge Base of Q&As, case studies, and promising practices, at http://www.washington.edu/doit/Stem/.