Kayla Brown, DO-IT Staff

We are excited to announce the Excellence, Diversity, and Inclusion: Individuals with Disabilities Engaging for Academic Success (IDEAS) project. The IDEAS project will be coordinated by the DO-IT Center at the University of Washington (UW). Funding for this project was won through UW’s Diversity and Inclusion Seed Grants program. These grants support projects for institutional transformation across the UW’s tri-campus community that align with the goals of the 2017-2021 UW Diversity Blueprint.

The DO-IT IDEAS project will create a peer‑mentoring cohort of students with disabilities from all three UW campuses. It will host monthly workshops, facilitate online activities, provide mentoring, and generate/disseminate ideas for faculty and staff about supporting and welcoming students with disabilities, realizing that many of these students also represent other underrepresented groups. The project will also engage UW stakeholders such as faculty and staff, the Career and Internships Center, Disability Resources for Students, student groups, and the D Center.

The monthly networking events will allow students to talk with each other about successes and struggles, as well as to share advice about disability-specific issues and resources on campus. Students in the cohort will be added to an electronic community where they can stay connected throughout the school year by asking questions, accessing resources, and sharing relevant information. IDEAS project staff will facilitate discussions within the community and promote networking and leadership events.

This project will help achieve the UW Diversity Blueprint through its engagement with students with disabilities, who are sometimes excluded from diversity initiatives. It will foster a welcoming environment to retain these students. The project will facilitate a tri-campus cohort of students to explore and share the diversity needs of students with disabilities at the UW. This will create an impact that extends to the entire campus community.