The Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), Maine’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD), in conjunction with faculty representatives from 14 academic departments at the University of Maine, offers a minor in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies (IDS). The Interdisciplinary Disability Studies curriculum provides students a means to explore disability within the larger context of diversity and to examine professional practice, scholarship and policy related to persons with disabilities.
Offered through the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, the Minor consists of 24 credits distributed among elective courses in three categories: social change, diversity studies, and environmental context; and three core interdisciplinary courses taught by faculty with expertise in disability studies. Students declare this Minor in addition to their major field of study.
The components of the Minor are a common core of three DIS courses and electives in three categories of study.
Required Core DIS courses (9 credits):
- DIS 300: Disability: Interaction of Human Diversity and Global Environments (3 credits);
- DIS 400: Disability as Diversity I (3 credits);
- DIS 450: Disability: Population-Environment Diversity (3 credits)
Electives (15 credits):
The coursework provides students with an appreciation of the many factors that affect human diversity, and how their disciplines and disability studies can reciprocally inform one another.
Students throughout the university should consider enrolling in the Minor in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies. The purpose of the Minor is to examine disability as a critical element of human diversity and provide the theory and practice for fashioning universal access to our communities and resources for all people including those with disabilities.
Here are just a few examples of student interest from diverse disciplinary fields:
The Minor in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies is offered through the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies and administered through the University of Maine Office of Student Records.
The Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies is Maine’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD), a partnership of people bringing together the resources of the community and the university to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families. As agents for social change, we believe in self-determination and advocacy for people with disabilities, and we are committed to community inclusion, interdependence, and the recognition of each person’s ability to contribute to society.
The Center’s Interdisciplinary Disability Studies Academic Committee (IDSAC) is the governing board for the Minor in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies. The IDSAC includes faculty members from Art, Child Development/Family Relations, Communication Disorders, Elementary Education, Engineering, English, Human Development, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Music, Nursing, New Media, Public Administration, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology.
DIS 300: Disability: Interaction of Human Diversity and Global Environments
This course is designed to introduce the student to disability as an element of human diversity that has a significant reciprocal relationship with the environment. We begin by discussing prevalence and incidence of disability across the globe, examine the historical changes in concepts of disability over time, and then study disability as a human phenomenon which both emerges from and influences biological, economic, physical, social, political, spiritual, cultural, technological and virtual environments.
Satisfies the General Education requirements: Population & Environment, and Cultural Diversity & International Perspectives
DIS 400—Disability as Diversity I
This course examines disability history, theory and current thinking in the field of disability studies. Through interdisciplinary interchange and experiential learning, students will explore the lived experience of people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan, examine and debate ethical dilemmas related to disability, and analyze implicit disability-related values reflected in diverse academic and professional fields. Students will apply their learning to their own disciplines.
Satisfies the General Education Ethics Requirement and General Education Cultural Diversity and International Perspectives Requirement
DIS 450: Disability: Population-Environment Diversity
Consistent with contemporary literature and research in the interdisciplinary field of disability studies, students will examine and analyze disability as an interactive disjuncture between the environment, the human body and population groups. Students will analyze how environments shape and are shaped by disability and will focus on realigning bodies, populations, and environments to advance full participation, reduce personal and environmental harm, and preserve just and safe environments. Included will be natural, virtual, service, economic, social, policy, and community environments across the globe.
Satisfies the General Education Population & Environment Requirement and General Education Ethics Requirement
DIS 470—Interdisciplinary Project in Disability Studies
The disability project provides the opportunity for students to apply knowledge about disability to the actualization of a disability-related project in the student’s area of interest. With guidance from the DIS 470 instructor and the student’s advisor, students may participate in ongoing projects or identify new disability-related areas for project activity. Students may take this course to complete the elective requirements for the Minor in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies or to work with guidance on a project of interest. The course provides the opportunity for collaboration across disciplines.
Credits: 1-6 (depending on requirements and/or interest)
Prerequisites: DIS 400 & 450, or by permission
DIS 480 Independent Project in Disability Studies
Individual work on a topic or problem selected by the student. Primarily for students in the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Disability Studies.
Prerequisite: DIS 400 or by permission of instructor
DIS 490 Selected Topics in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies
Faculty and students identify and work on selected topics and/or problems related to the area of disability. Focuses on related literature, research, services/supports and materials.
Students must earn a letter grade of “C” or above in all core courses in order to successfully graduate with a Minor in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies.