AccessSTEM Capacity-Building Institute (CBI)
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
- K-12 education,
- recruitment/transition to higher education,
- retention in higher education,
- graduate school enrollment and retention, and
In this CBI
- experts in all topic areas were in the audience and others "visited" the CBI via video.
- all participants were actively engaged.
- participants didn't just present predetermined professional development; participants requested and offered content as the meeting evolved.
- "handouts" were online.
- participants explored ways to "build capacity" to reach the goal of the Institute, within their projects or organizations and beyond.
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:
- the delivery of direct services to students with disabilities, and
- the creation of more accessible learning and work environments to assure long-term impact.
Four specific questions were addressed by CBI participants:
- 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?
- In what ways do making STEM activities accessible to students with disabilities benefit other students?
- What can STEM projects do to increase the participation of students with disabilities?
- 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
Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler, University of Washington
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)
Dr. Imke Durre, Scientist, National Climatic Data Center
Dr. Mark Leddy, National Science Foundation
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)
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?
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.
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)
Projects to increase participation of people with disabilities in STEM share experiences and insights.
Question 2: In what ways does making STEM activities accessible to students with disabilities benefit other students?
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.
Meet Dr. Paul Miller, Professor of Law and Director, UW Disability Studies
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?
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)
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?
Question 3: What can STEM projects do to increase the participation of students with disabilities?
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.
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)
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)
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?
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.
Explore Seattle cuisine.
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)
How can the checklist be adapted for use in NSF STEM projects?
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.
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?
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/.