Discussion Summary

Several attendants consider the topic at hand.

What can we do to increase the representation of people with disabilities in INCLUDES projects? Why haven’t more INCLUDES projects considered disability?

  • People with disabilities are often seen as separate from other minorities. Alliances should take an intersectional approach to considering identity. Disability is often not included in the diversity conversation.
  • Disability data should be collected. NSF and other institutions can provide advice for collecting data on disability.
  • People often think there is stigma in disabilities and may not want to create organizations around disabilities because of this.
  • People feel like they don’t want to do more work for only 10-15% of the population or claim it is too hard to find participants for these projects.
  • People need people with disabilities on their teams. If people with disabilities aren’t included in leadership, then people with disabilities are more likely to be forgotten.
  • There is a lack of expertise in disability and accessibility in many research teams that could be addressed with more courses, training materials, and webinars on the subjects.
  • There needs to be more transparency in the proposal selection process. It would be helpful to know how many proposals addressed disability and how many awards were given to projects that address disability.
  • All current projects should be evaluated for how they work with different underrepresented groups and how accessible they are, and then tools should be given to make them more inclusive.
  • Grant reviewers often don’t understand the needs and cost allocations in relation to disability. Grant reviewers should receive a training on disability and there should be a checkbox about accessibility for the proposal selection rubric.
  • Projects should encourage self-identification and create a welcoming environment by saying they especially include women, minorities, and people with disabilities.
  • Many STEM programs find the physical requirements to be harder for people with disabilities and therefore exclude them on the basis of expectations (instead of thinking about accommodations or roles that people can take on in a project).
  • More resources should be offered to all projects on how to address disability-related issues.
  • There is a lot of stigma around disability, especially in STEM and education. People are less likely to self-identify, therefore leading projects to believe there aren’t enough people with disabilities interested.

What resources would be useful to the INCLUDES community in helping them (1) better address disability-related issues, (2) make activities more welcoming and accessible, and (3) develop collaborations that lead to future innovative projects and resources that are inclusive of individuals with disabilities?

  • Resources to help those that aren’t focused on disability, but should be considering disability in their own work. Include disability as a social justice issue, a STEM issue, a cultural issue, etc. Disability needs to be included in organizations that focus on all of these topics (e.g., Peggy Macintosh’s work that focuses around privilege).
  • More concrete statements of need that better describe how people with disabilities are excluded and underrepresented in STEM.
  • More resources that define jargon and theories and help introduce people into the STEM world who are from organizations that are about inclusion but not necessarily STEM focused.
  • More role models with disabilities and more profiles of people with disabilities who have been successful in STEM.
  • The Disabled List (www.disabledlist.org) will connect people with disabilities with design studios so people with disabilities can give their expertise to these studios.
  • Creating a resource or checklist for conference and presentation accessibility.
  • More lists of organizations that provide support and resources around accessibility and universal design, or a national center on disability that could provide support to all projects.
  • Sharing more on social media about disability and accessibility.
  • Better search functionality on NSF to see other broadening participation and INCLUDES projects.
  • Invite more people with disabilities and more people who can benefit from our expertise to our conferences or host more events where we invite others from the community to attend and learn more.
  • More internship support for students with disabilities.
  • Question how we are translating theory (such as Tinto’s Theory of Integration) into practice and how we can find more concrete linkages between research and practice.
  • Create annotated bibliography related to the participation of people with disabilities in STEM.
  • The INCLUDES Hub should share more resources by creating a database of organizations and facilitating networking between them.
  • More data needs to be collected and shared on disability, accessibility, how privilege affects non-minorities, etc. White papers could be written to share this information and data.
  • Use process-oriented projects to improve processes over individual outcomes.

What are barriers and possible solutions individuals with disabilities might encounter within INCLUDES or other STEM research, instruction, and projects?

  • Disability is a wide range of differences and needs compared to other groups included in broadening participation efforts.
  • Barriers can include physical needs such as transportation, buildings, and the environmental as well as stigma and attitudes around disability.
  • Cost and time can be seen as barriers in working with people with disabilities.
  • It is often societally acceptable to not make things accessible, and there is a lack of knowledge around why accessibility is important.
  • Research and STEM events need to be made welcoming to people with disabilities—it can be hard to be the first person to join, especially if they don’t feel welcome.
  • Traditional methods of teaching often exclude the broad spectrum of student ability.
  • Instructors are often have a specific mindset of what a student should look like.
  • There’s a perception that there are limited role models in STEM for people with disabilities.
  • Look at the Institute for Equitable Evaluation for best practices and encourage participatory design.

What are examples of collaborations that could be undertaken by stakeholder groups, specific conference participants, and/or other organizations that would support the project goal and objectives?

  • Currently funded projects should help fund initiatives and give expertise to others. For example, we can come give presentations or give stipends to students with disabilities to become more involved with their community or to hire someone to remediate documents.
  • We need to partner with industry and widen their lens on disability and how hiring more people with disabilities and focusing on accessibility can help their companies.
  • We can share more resources among broadening participation groups and use the INCLUDES Hub to disseminate those resources and partnerships.
  • DO-IT and similar organizations can share resources to begin addressing accessibility within the INCLUDES network.
  • Conferences should have an INCLUDES track that helps bring more people into the community about inclusion and accessibility.
  • More people in the disability community and with accessibility expertise should be peer reviewers for NSF grant panels and submit INCLUDES proposals.
  • All of these communities and people interested in accessibility should come and join the INCLUDES Hub and Community of Practice to help create a movement.
  • We need more funding to help focus the community and keep everyone engaged in the accessibility movement.
  • A disability-specific INCLUDES Alliance is one goal, but pushing for the meaningful and authentic inclusion of disabilities in other Alliances is just as important.
  • Stakeholders and partners should identify areas of need not commonly addressed in most projects, such as financial burden, parent engagement, student voice, etc.

What changes do you plan to make that will lead to the INCLUDES Network being more accessible and welcoming to individuals with disabilities as an individual? As a project? Or in collaboration with others?

  • Provide a list of resources available to individuals working with disabilities to conference attendees.
  • Give a presentation to program staff to increase awareness of existing tools and resources.
  • Partner with other attendees to identify opportunities to collaborate to expand resources available.
  • Make our project website, resources, application, and videos more accessible and ensure that our research captures available data on disability.
  • Have the INCLUDES Hub convene our community of practice and host more resources on accessibility.
  • Continue to collaborate with other teams to cross-pollinate ideas on accessible computing and education access in general.
  • Review the INCLUDES portfolio; engage relevant projects as targets for dissemination and knowledge translation of research findings pertaining to students with disabilities and accessibility.
  • Volunteer as a reviewer for NSF.
  • Act as a broker in putting experts in disabilities supports in contact with people who want to do more in their work but don’t have the tools or resources to do so.
  • Collaborate across campus to bring more knowledge of accessibility to faculty, and get more faculty involved in accessibility.
  • Add disability demographic questions to future surveys.
  • Create more effective channels of communications.