About the CBI

Image of educators and professionals at 2014 AccessSTEM CBI

The CBI for Promoting the Successful Participation of People with Disabilities in STEM took place in Seattle, Washington on February 25-28, 2014. The CBI provided a forum for sharing interventions that promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in STEM postsecondary programs and careers. Attendees included postsecondary faculty, disability service providers, individuals who have led or participated in projects funded by the NSF’s Research in Disabilities in Education (RDE) program, and representatives from key professional organizations. In total, over fifty participants from around the country were in attendance.

The CBI provided a forum to share expertise, practices, suggestions for future collaborations, and funding ideas. Speakers and panelists were also CBI participants. Many had disabilities and/or were practitioners with direct experience in serving students with disabilities. Broad issues discussed include

  • faculty and staff engagement in universal design;
  • transition supports;
  • technology access; and
  • the support of STEM students with disabilities through academic coaching, mentoring, internships, and other interventions.

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

  • What are examples of interventions that can promote participation and success of students with sensory impairments studying STEM?
  • What are specific academic coaching, mentoring, and other interventions that can be employed to support students with disabilities?
  • How can postsecondary faculty and other stakeholders promote the STEM success of students with disabilities using universal design and other strategies?
  • How can K-12 educators and other stakeholders employ universal design or other interventions to facilitate interest and success in STEM education for students with disabilities?
  • What kind of supports for K-12 to college, two-year to four-year, and military to civilian transitions might maximize the success of students with disabilities in STEM?
  • What technology or science equipment strategies have the potential to promote the success of students with disabilities?
  • Where do we go from here? How can we continue to work together after the CBI?

In this CBI

  • all participants contributed to its success;
  • experts in all topic areas were in the audience; and
  • new concepts evolved from discussion of presented material.

Project staff supported online and telephone communication pre- and post-CBI so that participants could engage in the planning of the event and follow-up activities. The CBI was comprised of individual presentations and group discussions. CBI participants shared perspectives, expertise, practices, and suggestions for future collaborations as well as funding opportunities; and heard about the experiences of STEM students with disabilities in a panel presentation. Featured speakers included AccessSTEM Principle Investigator (PI) and Director Sheryl Burgstahler and Mark Leddy, NSF Program Officer.

The agenda for the CBI and summaries of the presentations are provided on the following pages.