About the CBI

Scott Bellman chats with two participants over coffee.

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. More than twenty-five participants from ERCS across the United States were in attendance.

The CBI provided a forum in which to share expertise, practices, suggestions for future collaborations, and funding ideas. Broad issues discussed included the following:

  • 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
  • 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?
  • What can be done at our ERC to engage faculty and staff (e.g., web developers, curriculum & product developers, distance learning providers), about accessible IT?
  • Where can we link to appropriate resources from our ERC website?
  • In what ways can ERCs contribute to AccessERC products (e.g., website, Knowledge Base), activities, and initiatives?
  • How do the viewpoints of the student panelists and individuals in the documentary Fixed affect how you would communicate with, recruit, and/or work with people with disabilities in your ERC?

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, and group discussions. CBI participants shared their diverse perspectives and expertise. The agenda for the CBI and summaries of the presentations are provided on the following pages.