About the CBI

A participant explains a point to the group.

The AccessERC CBI, Increasing the Participation of People with Disabilities in Engineering Research Centers, provided a forum for sharing interventions and strategies that promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in ERCs. Attendees came from ERCs across the United States. In total, over twenty-five participants were in attendance.

At the CBI participants shared expertise, practices, suggestions for future collaborations, and funding ideas. Broad issues discussed included

  • recruiting individuals with disabilities into significant roles;
  • understanding disability culture and the history of disability civil rights;
  • ensuring the accessibility of ERC websites, curriculum materials, online learning, video presentations, engineering labs, and other products;
  • promoting universal design and accessible IT;
  • providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities; and
  • exploring opportunities for collaboration.

In small working groups, participants responded to the following questions:

  • What strategies used to recruit other underrepresented groups at your ERC could be repurposed for use in recruiting people with disabilities?
  • How do the viewpoints of the student panelists and individuals in the documentary Fixed affect how you would communicate with, recruit, welcome, and/or work with people with disabilities in your ERC?
  • Where can we link to appropriate resources from our ERC website? What are other ways we can share information within our ERC, including partner institutions?   
  • How can we continue to work together to promote the participation of people with disabilities in ERCs? What activities could be conducted by Student Leadership Councils?

In this CBI

  • all participants contributed to its success;
  • experts in many related topic areas were in the audience; and
  • new concepts evolved from discussions.

The CBI was comprised of presentations, panel discussions, group discussions, videos, and hand-on activities. The agenda for the CBI and summaries of the presentations are provided on the following pages.