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Transcript of Panel of Your Peers - Faculty with Disabilities

San Diego State University, a panel of your peers:  What faculty with disabilities have to say about teaching students with disabilities. 

            MARI GUILLARMO:  Welcome, everybody, my name is Mary Guillermo.  I'm the coordinator from the inter work institute and the disability proper jeblingt for which we are here today this morning.
            The disability and diversity project for those of you who are not familiar with it, we have some materials on the side here along with some handouts that will provide you with some great information.  The disability and diversity project is funded by the department of education and when we wrote the proposal we found that we needed to find a bigger anchor, beyond students with disabilities knowledge creating a greater learning environment for all students, examining how diverse our student population is becoming.  We work with many partners in the higher education community.  And one of our partners who have been with us from the beginning is Mary Shojai, director of student disability services, and the panel that have been brought together today is actually arranged, we got together last year.  We tried to think of different ways that we can get people together, and really start discussing our learning environments beings and how it impacts students with disabilities in the greater student population.
            So with that I'd like to introduce Mary Shojai.  Ms. Thank
            MARY SHOJAI, thank you, marry, it's my privilege and honor to introduce our panelists today.  I know all of these fine folks and we thought it would be a wonderful experience for faculty members, tenure tract faculty members to share their experiences, of some of their life story, but also their experiences as students, and how that formed the way they teach all students, now that they're faculty members.
            I know all of these folks, some more, a little better than others.  But I would love to tell more of their stories to you.  These are award winners, these are community activists, s these are folks who give back to their xhunt tease, both academic and the disability community in various ways.  I'm going to let them tell their stories, but I would also advise you to get on their web sites and look at their accomplishments.  These are fabulous people.
            The first panelist is John R Johnson, associate provs sore in the department of special education at the San Diego State University.
            Nan Zhang-Hampton is associate professor in the department of administration rehabilitation and post secondary education at San Diego State University.  Lars Perner was at our IV C campus as an associate professor of marketing.  He has moved as of this fall, to the University of Southern California, and is a marketing professor, at the marshal school of business.  Clinical marketing.  You can explain that when you have your turn.
            And then we have Wendy Maruyama who is a professor of furniture design and woodwork beinging in the school of art design and history at San Diego State University.
            Our moderator today is Bobbie Atkins, who is professor emeritus from the department of administration re bill station and post secondary Ed.  That's always a mouthful.  But I got through it.  Bobbie Atkins has written and received many many Grants.  She is current principal of this investigator, for the diversity and disability Grant that is funding this get together today.  And I'll turn it over to you, Bobbie. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  That you you, Mary and Mary.
            I really want to share with you how delighted we are to have this distinguished panel with us today.  And to have you with us, because you make our work complete, because you take the message to your students, to your colleagues, to the folks that you deal with in the community, outside of the University.  So the broad impact that we can have is tremendous.  And these folks are going to tell you about who they are.  There are a number of questions that we have, and as a moderator, I will kind of give them the sign to move it a lodge a little bit if we need to.  But we want you to get a sense of who they are.
            And we recognize this as a very safe environment, so if they can share their tore stories in the way that they would like for us to get to know them.
            The first activity that we're going to be engaged in this morning, is to ask each of the panel members to tell us about themselves, to tell us their stories.  And we want everybody to understand that your accomplishments are a part of who all of us are.  And that we all have similar kind of stories but with our own uniqueness.  So, John, you're right here sxwid me beside me so we will start with you. 
            JOHN JOHNSON:  Thank you, Bobbie and thank you, you to the staff at inter work.  This is a wonderful opportunity.
            And thank you all for coming.  I don't know where to begin.  But relevant to the topic, I'll tell you a little bit about my experience as a post secondary student, and I will tell you that I entered post secondary education, my undergraduate program before the rehabiliation act was passed.  I'm dating myself but I won't tell you the date or year it was passed.  I also grew up during the Vietnam war so I don't recall a whole lot of my undergraduate program, because most of my students and faculty included were pretty much in an alterd state.
            I will, I won't go any further than just to say that.
            I did have a very good time.  As an undergraduate student. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  All right. 
            JOHN JOHNSON:  And I had, as a student with a disability, you had some very interesting experiences, first of all, I had very much the same experience of students that I work with here SDSU and that is this kind of conflict of whether or not to reveal wlonlt you have a disability.  I kind of grew up in that type of an environment, and went through regular education programs throughout my elementary and secondary education vlt so it wasn't a big deal.
            I will tell you one story and then maybe share with you where we were.  I was at a University where access was not very clear at the time.  And they had, I actually ended up taking a tenure tract position subsequent to the xlees of my doctoral at the same University.  And they had disabled parking spaces.  And the one side, where they had disabled parking spaces, there was a parking spot and which on the driver's side it was up against a curb, and the driver's side was up against the curb, and it was probably a 50 foot drop down a hill on that side.
            So, I pointed that out to the disability services and actually, there was a cartoon printed in the student newspaper with somebody in a wheelchair repelling up the hill, trying to get back into their car.
            See, I've been a bit of an activist in the community since then, and the administration was particularly, I think glad that I graduate ped and was out of the school.
            And so, that's kind of a little bit of my story.  I'm not sure how much further you want me to go.  My masters degree program in and my undergraduate program or graduate program are in special education.  So I work with students with disabilities on a consistent basis.  I think there's a, we have some major inroads that we need to make, one of the concerns that I have about, and I'll just end on this note, is just that, is that both special education, rehabilitation and even in the literature, research literature on post secondary education support people with disabilities, tend to focus on the individual student.  And from a diversity perspective, it's very interesting if you look at multi cultural education courses and you look alt courses rat courses this fem nis oor wom eens studies or native American studies.  The focus is not so much on the individual but the personal experiences and the lives of those individuals.
And my review of the literature indicates that while we focus much on inter venks, with respect to the intervention, with respect to the individual, we know very little about the lives of people with disabilities.  And that has not been adequately addressed, either in the literature, or often this the way we approach people with disabilities.  And we almost exclusively focus in, on individuals with disabilities from an individualistic perspective.  I think it almost comes out of, quite frankly out of a sosh can I don't political agenda of principal conservatism.  If you look at Evan Burke's work and somebody else's response to that work.  And you can almost trace the origins of the way we approach people with disabilities and embed everything within the individual, from that kind of socio political perspective.
            So, I'll leave it at that and just suggest that we, that, that's where I am. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Okay.  Great.  Nan? 
            NAN ZHANG-HAMPTON, okay.  First of all, I want to say, I'm very glad to be here, to share with you my experience, my journey from a person without disability to a person with disability, and to a University professor.
            When John was talking, and he was talking about his experience as undergraduate student, when I was an undergraduate student, I was in China and I went to medical school and a lot of dime I did not have a disability:  So the experience that people with disabilities experience, at that time, I had no idea.  I graduated from had medical school and started doing residency in a hospital.  Two months later, there was earthquake.  Huge one.  30 years ago.  And I was buried underneath for 12 hours.  And they duing me out did you go me out.  I my found myself have a spinal cord injury.  And that was incomplete.  And after several years, I was able to walk on crutches.
            And because of my disability, I was not allowed to continue working in the hospital.  They offered my a very good quote unquote offer.  They asked me to retire.  They pay me full salary for the rest of my life.  They have cover 100 percent of my medical care.  All those things.
            But I was worried, I was only 20 something.  I thought it was too early to retire.  That's how I got interested in rehab and disability issues.  Later on, I joined other people to establish organization for people with disabilities, and I started working in rehab field.  I came to the United States as an international student, I came here for my masters degree, in rehabilitation counseling.
            Before I came to this country, my major concern was transportation.  Because I was a challenge for my in China.  And at that time in China, people did not own a car.  The major transportation was bicycles.  And as a person with a disability, I could not ride bicycles, because you have to be able to stand up, and, you know, put your leg over the seat, I could not do that.
            So, my family had a friend who was a very good mechanic, so he helped me to make my bicycle into tricycle, and I could go around when I was in can China.  So I was worried about what I was going to do when I came to this country.  Then I contacted my professor.  And fortunately, the program that I applied was rehab counseling.  All the professors in that program understood the challenge of people with disabilities were facing.  And they said, okay.  That was post rehab act.  And so I was able to have that services, to have the kind of services.  They helped me get in touch with disability services, and made arrangements for me before I came to this country.  And I also mentioned about us going to live by myself and I need accessible apartment, so I could cook, all that stuff.  So they found an apartment on campus for graduate students, which had true accessible apartments and I was able to get one.
            Another question I was facing was money.  Because I did not have enough money.  At that time Chinese government only allowed a person who, who is going to leave China for graduate education, they only allow the person to purchase one hundred dollars.  And it was foreign currency short aj in that time.  That was in the '80s.  Now they have lots of reserves.  And I said, I don't have enough money and I got this scholarship program.  And it was 500 60 dollars per month.  And the charge for the apartment was three60.  So I said, that's too high.  Could you find roommate for me so I could share the expenses.  And my professor helped me to get one.
            So when I came to this country, I went to the program invest in West Virginia University.  And later on-u people asked me, why did you go there, that probably was the most something person in the United States.  And I said the reason was very simple.  Because they pay for scholarship for me.  And so I could work 20 hours, I could have money to pay for books and pay for my apartment costs.
            Although, I had the services, but I still had a problem getting around campus.  This is the University bus pick, pick me up, and only went to a certain areas.  So for some areas, I had to find a ride, and at that time I did not know how to drive.  I did not own car.  I had to live on a budget and prepare how to spend the money, and every month.  And fortunately, I had very strong group, which is Chinese student organization, and they helped me, they took me to buy groceries, and to buy whatever I needed during that period of time.  So I owe them a lot for where I am now.
            I will stop here. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Okay.  Thanks, Nan.  Lars? 
            LARS PERNER:  First of all, I should say, my college experience was somewhat different from John's because tal people don't do drugs.  We're naturally high.
            And now I think maybe the best way to introduce us to a bit of background story that struck me a few years ago, I hadn't thought much of it at the time.  I'm originally from Denmark, and I would frequently visit my grandparents in and my grandfather had a handy man who was working for him, fixing up problems and things like that.  And one day my grand mother told me he had a Danish name but I'll call him Bob.  You want to stay away from Bob, he's a sort of a strange guy.  And at that time, I had really no curiosity about it.  I took my grand mothers's word and stayed away.  But a few years ago I suddenly realized, maybe this is a guy who walks around and does not maintain good eye contact and talks to himself, and that's why, there's a saying that was I can attribute to Clarence Thomas, but for there but for the Grace of God go I.
And I was very fortunate to come from a privileged background and I went through college and grad yeah yacht school and Ph.D.  Program and it wasn't until I almost finished the Ph.D.  Program when I was diagnosed with a syndrome, which is a variation on autism.  Some people call it something autism.  But the boundary is very blurred.  Somebody says the important distinction is the spelling.
            But the bottom line is, that I would say I got by in very large part because I came from a very privileged background and I could do things at my own pace.
            One of the characteristics of that syndrome is that many of us tend to be pre occupied with special interest and they range from things like washing machines to other things.  So I'm actually one of the lucky ones that ultimately, I got a job where I get paid alt at least a little bit about my special interests.
            Now, you'll probably find a lot of people on the although tis many spectrum, and people not diagnosed and there are probably also some who are not as willing to talk about the situation even if they have been diagnosed.  I was fortunate enough being in the business school, that I could, so I could much more get away with disclosing what some other people wouldn't.
            But in any event, on a daily basis, I don't necessarily think of myself as disabled.  But there are a number of things that will come up in some of these experiences, and some issues about eye contact, and in terms of, nonverbal communication.  And many of these things, many people will experience to some extent.  And so, each symptom in and of itself is not necessarily, in my case all that stream.  But it's when you get to the combination of different things, for example, many people like me are directionly challenged.  But, you know, in my case it's a bit of an extreme.  I'm fortunate now I have a GP S system.  I can't believe how I got by without it in the old days.  But people would say, you can't miss it.  And I would say, you bet I can.
            And you know, the other thing is, I'm the typical absent mindd professor.  I'm a big believer in the theory that absent mind Edness is a trait of genius.  We give up some abilities some for others.  It's a point I'll talk about some of these later points.
            You know, so, some are math genius and some like me, math math particulars is a challenge and anything involving spatial and verbal problems, which in my case is not really an issue.
            Now, I also, of course I've been fortunate to be in academia that has a tolerance for eccentric people.  At USC, they're very, very general standards and are probably two people in the department, my department, who could reasonably said to be as close to normal, but neither of those people actual actually got tenure.
(computer crash; reboot; continuation.)

            NAN ZHANG-HAMPTON:  But for students without disabilities or faculty woylt disabilities.  Or with disabilities, with the invisible disabilities, and that is a, that's a challenge, because, you have to weigh the pros and cons.  In terms of employment, if you're faculty with invisible disability, then you have to weigh whether the environment would accept you.  And it's harder to tell at the beginning when you come for job interview.  And I think, the invisible disability is one issue and the invisible discrimination is another issue.  Although there are lawyers, there's rehab act, there's ADA.  However, the attitude Al problem is bigger than the physical, the physical hand ee cap or physical barrier on campus.  I think that's true for faculty with disabilities, and for students with disabilities.
            And I guess each individual has to make decisions, we all have to make very tough decisions, whether we need to disclose something.  Now, I think, also it depends a stage the person is.  If the person is for job interview or here and hired, they need to be able to do the job.  That's what I was thinking when you asked the question.
            Probably come back. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Yes, John? 
            JOHN JOHNSON:  Well, I've had some really interesting experiences, with this issue.  One, of course, being, growing up in the environment where my father was a director of medical research, and a medical scientist, so we had a very medical view of disability, and unfortunately, that has carried over into special education, contrary to popular opinion.  It continues.
            Even the definitions of disability and this gets into disclosure issue, I think it's important to understand why people with disabilities don't want to disclose, and disability is defined in all disciplines by what's wrong with you.  Not by what's right with you.  By deficit, by pathology.  And we continue to use those definitions, in special education, which is the field I'm in, and I know that those definitions continue to be used in in institution lizd by law.  And that's problematic.  Because when you think about how an individual then views themselves, we identify what's wrong with somebody, and then there's the issue that in prior to entering post secondary education, if the individual is eligible or the student is eligible for special education services, through part B of the individuals with disabilities education act, then it's the school's responsibility to identify the combination, accommodations support and services the student requires.

Once they exit that program, it's the student's responsibility.  To identify those accommodations and supports.
            So, that shift often does not occur within the student, and then when that shift is expected, the student says, oh, here I've been living in this society where these characteristics are considered, if you will, negative, socially Dee valued, why in the hell would I want to go disclose that to somebody?
            That doesn't even make sense.  Yet, in order to qualify for services, you have to make that disclosure.  So there's this Catch-22 often that you get involved.  Partly, in my opinion, that is the issue also can be traced back to the extent to which people with disabilities themselves begin to value the experience of being quote, disabled, unquote.
            And that has not yet entered into, if you will, the mentality of teachers.  One of the recommendations that's come out of the literature is we need to train teachers or we need to train students to become good self advocates and self determined.  Yet if you look at teacher preparation programs around the country, they only superficially address that, if at all.  And that includes in special education, rehabilitation preparation programs.
            The other problem with that is, you find very few teachers themselves, who demonstrate the very skills that they're trying to teach in the area of self determination and self advocacy.
            So, excuse me if I sound a little pessimistic about this whole process, but I think the problem is a little bit more complicated than just one person saying, I want to disclose or not disclose.  You've got to look at how the, a little bit at the origin of some of the, some of that perspective. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Good.  Lars or Wendy? 
            LARS PERNER:  Well, in my case, actually, the, before I got my first tenure track job, I went on like three three campus visits for job interviews, so one of the big issue is first impressions, how one comes about, especially the, in terms of eye contact and things like that.
            Now, in the academic advising job market, usually the first step for faculty is we have an annual conference, in the fall and preliminary, which is held now, and one thing it's try to maintain eye contact with people if you're sitting at a nice round table.  This is sort of make shift, which one has two chairs and can't get one of the interviewers and then you get another one and people are sitting around and it's very difficult to look at, look around, in that case sometimes some of the, the impression that then can be somewhat, less favorable, because I'm, you know beings because I have less eye contact
            Now, one time I went on a campus visit, and it just happened that, on that campus visit one of the faculty was somebody I had gone to the same MBA program with, so we had lunch after, the last day of the visit and he was telling me about how a lot of people, and certain people in the audience in my presentation had noticed I was stand offish and I had to look up in the dictionary what that word meant because I didn't actually know.
            But that started me thinking and I actually started to put a disclosure in my job application that I deliberately did not ask my mentors for advice because they might not have actually supported that idea, so I didn't want to put that position, for having to, when I decided I was going to do it anyway.  So it wasn't going to change my reaction.
            That's the approach that I I've taken, you know, in terms of those interviews beings I'm not sure if it made a difference in the perception people had but it took some of the tres off me when stress off me when I interviewed again.  It's viewed as fairly so many better and there's a printout in the chronicle of higher education that they talk about my experiences and certain other people's experiences.  Somebody who is for example, not as willing to disclose as strongly.  You know, when in business, especially in business you teach the students about how to make money and introduce, usually, they're a fairly greedy bunch and they're happy with that.  So I include a brief mention of this in my syllabus, this fact, one of the issues says you can get away with, but I'm also in the teaching business.  My life is about, it's an opportunity to teach people, you know, that people in the audience come in all shapes, and can come at the most unexpected places, and now that more and more people are becoming aware, there are a number of students undoubtedly who are not diagnosed yet and who would fit the profile and some of them have relatives and so in my case, that's been my choice, but it's been a lot easier than it would be for many other people who are much less, who don't have quite the same security that I would.

            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Good.  Anything to add, Wendy? 
            WENDY MARUYAMA:  Yes.  Before I forget, I have a little angst about my previous life, before becoming an academic.  I found, because of my disability, and having disclose or having to, people became aware of it, it was very difficult for me to find a part time job, when I was in school.  Nobody would hire me.  I wouldn't get a waitressing job, I couldn't get an office job.  I couldn't answer phones.  So that really made me realize that I had to succeed as an artist.  So, I have to add that.
            Secondly, I feel like my disability has not held me back as much as I thought.  In fact, I almost consider myself a poster child of affirmative action, being a woman, being disabled, being a minority.  It just seemed to work in my favor.  And I learned to take advantage of that.
            And with the visual arts, when you are being interviewed for the job, the first thing that they look at is your artwork.  And ultimately, that was my resume, and that was what people cared about the most.  And then when they did bring me in for the interview, perhaps they may have been a little surprised to see that a deaf person could have made all this work.  But then, it suddenly became apparent to them that that was not relevant in any way.  So I'm fortunate that in the art school environment, we're a little, there's a lechl of tolerance that you don't see in other academic areas.
            I may add another anecdote.  I think it's even harder to disclose your disability when you're dating.
            I mean, if you're dating people, you know, and you get a test tell somebody you've got this disability.  Fortunately, I don't have to worry about that anymore.  But, that was kind of an interesting issue as well.  It had nothing to do with academics and I'm sorry to throw that in.  But it was kind of, does kind of bring in, it made me aware of the broader perspective that Americans have about disability. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  I think it's highly relevant to the academic community.  Because our students don't just live on campus.  They operate rate in a larger environment.  And certainly, I feel that a part of our responsibility is to help prepare them to go out and to live in this larger community, so we want to know, not just about their academic success, but about their social and spiritual, et cetera success as well.  So I think it's highly relevant.  It also determines, you know, sometimes how happy they may be, or unhappy they may be, depending on their social personal situation.
            Thanks to each of you.
            I want to ask a question, if you can think of a situation where either a student or faculty member related to you from a disability perspective, rather than from your person perspective.  John? 
            JOHN JOHNSON:  Well, let me do a segue into this, into the response, and take off on comments that Wendy made.  One of the advantages of disclosing that you have a disability is that you, to some extent, identify yourself as a member of a community.  Initially.  You, and then when you actually connect with that community, i.E.  The disability community or the deaf community as the case may be, you begin to find yourself, that your experience is not just yours, that it's actually a collective experience, it's a shared experience.
            And it has a cultural parameter to it.  By every definition of the word.  That then begins to lead you to connect to other culturally and linguistic klee diverse communities as well.  And you begin to see parallels in the experiences within the women's movement, within the African American civil rights movement, within you know, across disability, whether you have for example, a mobility impairment or sensory impairment, or something else or you have an intellectual disability.  And you begin to see these connections.
            So, as a segue, one of the things that one woman who is a scholar in the disabilities studies communities says, now I identify myself as disabled woman, and I use that word because I want to be a member of that community.  And she doesn't use people first language, and there's issues Lynn gis klee.
            With respect to the question, I've had a number of experiences with students with disabilities, because I make no bones about claiming disability as an authentic experience.  And by doing that, it gives them permission to communicate their experience.  That it's okay to be disabled and that in fact shs there's something of value associated with the experience.
            And then, so the accommodation issue becomes almost moot because the when I have to deal with accommodations, it's easily recognized and understood.  Performance standards don't change and you know the drill, because you've been through it.  Because it's not a big deal.
            But it's interesting, because in one student's case, I had to make it very clear to her, that she was not to come back to my class until she had connected with, at that point in time dwas called disabled student services, to get the accommodations and supports that she required, because she wasn't hearing 90 percent of my lecture.
            And it was an issue that, of performance, she needed to deal with that and disclose it.  When she finally did connect and she got the equipment, she was okay with it.  It was almost as if, you know, she needed that extra push, in order to say, this is okay.  It's, and it's not about being disabled anymore.  It's about completing the course requirements, and getting through an I H E and graduating with a degree.  That's what I was interested in her being able to do.
            So, I had a little bit of leverage, maybe someone with a disability, without a disability might not have, because I have been there, done that and so that's one of the advantages that, having a disability disclosing it, even then interacting on that level, it gives you incites you insights, you otherwise wouldn't have.  There's an understanding of disability that you can't explain unless you've been through the experience.
            NAN ZHANG-HAMPTON:  I could share two things.  When Bobbie asked the question, one thing was, I used to work at a different in institution, one year I got a distinguished professor award.  So, I was arranged sitting next to provost.  I can came there first before the provost got there so I was sitting.
            When I was sitting there or even now I'm sitting, you cannot tell my disability beings because you have to see my crutches.  So he and I were engaged in a very interesting conversation, but I needed to go to the bathroom.  So I asked the person, could I get my crutches.  And so the waiter give me the crutches.  And I went to the bathroom and came back.  And the provost asked me, what happened to you.  And I said, well, I was earthquake.  And he said, oh, and he was very sorry about that.  And I said, well, I live with that for a long time.  And somehow provost felt so embarrassed he stopped talking to my for the rest of lunch.
            I can't stand, because many people see my disability as abnormal, as John mentioned earlier, it's normal to see people with disabilities, there's something wrong with us.  And the provost was a very nice person, but, I guess he was embarrassed, or he did not know how to engage or continue the conversation with me.
            That was one thing.  And I was thinking, this could happen to many other people, faculty members, and students.  And so there's some things, that we need to do in education, educate our administrators in higher education.
            Another encounter I had I would like to share with you was when I was teaching.  I teach multi cultural issues in rehab counseling.  One of the topics has to do with students with disabilities and people with disabilities in general.  During the discussion, one student asked me, if my disability helped me work with people with disabilities.  And my answer was, not really.
            Why I had that answer, because from my personal experience or professional experience, before I became a professor I was a rehab counselor.  And I have seen people, my clients with disabilities, had negative perception of me when they first met me, because I had a disability.  So people with disabilities also internalize the negative perceptions of disability.  So they thought I was less qualified, I got job probably because I had disability, plus I'm Chinese.
            So, I could tell several times when I work with certain people.  So that's why I share with students, I said, not really.  So I gave them the reason why.
            And actually, I said each time I walk into a new class, I will always have this looks from students, and I have to convince them that I'm qualified to teach this course. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  That's right.  Thank you.  Lars? 
            LARS PERNER:  Well, I should say, in my case, there probably has been, you know, somewhat of an advantage in many being able to relate to students, because some of the things that are available, many cases they are things that students may not realize about themselves.  So in that sense, that, you know, I think being able to relate has probably helped to some extent.  I've had very few students come to me specifically to talk about disability issues.
            Now, recently, I had a student come to me face to face for the first time.  He was not doing too well and he was worried about career prospects and we had a talk and tried to do what I could.  And in his case, by far, what I did more, what I get more is people from other in institutions and even sometimes faculty who will e-mail me and ask questions.  So sometimes I get a lot of e-mails from parents also who ask for clarification.  And I guess just, to bring it, with a point here, to be very honest with you, I can't stand children.  I absolutely can't stand children.  One of the big difference between a baby and hand begun you know is that the bib ee doesn't come with a silence err.
            So the points for me to have children would be a bit of a khosh.  I'm very grateful to those people who do have children, because I would go out of business at this point, down the road, if people didn't.
            But what I've learned, you know, is for the fraction of the work that people put into having children, I can do a much more good interacting with people that way, you know, through my web sites and through responding to questions.  So it's or the of a win/win deal here.
            Now, it gets in the negative side, it's possible that there are some people who have related to me, and I can't say that I've actually perceived that you know, that that may be, might have been a bit naive in that area.  But I can't think of instances where there's been any real expression of, if that was the other angle. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Yes.  Definitely.  Wendy? 
            WENDY MARUYAMA:  I I think the question originally was about students and faculty. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Yes.  And that includes of course, administrate dors. 
            WENDY MARUYAMA:  Okay.  In dealing with students, I feel like they have a greater tolerance towards disabilities.  And I don't know if it's because of their age, or if younger people these days are a lot more aware of the diversity of the community, including disabilities, disabled people, and people of color, and so forth.
            But I've never felt any direct, well, maybe with a few individuals, some people would say, well, I can't understand her, so she'll go to another, like a G T A, or one of my assistants.  But that can be a little bit of a problem.  But I usually try to make it clear to them that I'm very aware of my disability, and to please try to bear with me, if I can speak a little slower or anything that I I can do to help somebody understand me better.
            On the other hand, because I am such a visual person, and because deaf people in general tend to be more animated than normal people are, and so when I'm demonstrating in different woodworking techniques, and I tend to use sign, not sign language, but body language, and facial expressions, and oftentimes students have said that that has proved a point more easily than a thoroughly verbal discussion.
            My most difficult area has been with some of my colleagues, especially in committee meetings.  I feel like I wish the faculty were a little more consider at to me considerate to me, in terms of discussions and they're not always looking at me when I'm, when they're talking.  And so I've had to be more diligent about requesting these services, that I don't like to, if don't need to, but, that has been a little bit disturbing, and then sometimes it's like, well, if there's a disagreement, they would say, well, you must have not heard it.  You screwed up, you didn't hear it.
            And that kind of aggravates me too.  And so I think faculty sometimes needs a little more coaching than students.
            I will say, that the electronic age has helped a lot.  A lot of my conflicts were faculty and committee work, and even with students, has been resolved almost exclusively through e-mail.  And because everything is in writing, and everything is very clear, I'm a little less self conscious about my disability, because I'm writing out my thoughts.  You can also edit.  And before you send. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Delete. 
            WENDY MARUYAMA:  So, I will add, that technology has helped a lot. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Great.  We have a few minutes left this afternoon.  This is such an exciting activity for us, so I hope it is for you as well.  We wanted to have a little bit of time for question and answer.  Before we ask our panelists to kind of leave us with a last thought, so you might want to start thinking about that a little bit, because we will get back to that.
            At this juncture, any questions from the group.  Yes. 
            NEW SPEAKER:  I have a question.  You go along this line, about the professor with staff and faculty, is there a requirement for training for faculty or staff to be more sensitive to the needs of kids that have disability or other faculty members with disabilities.  How is that incorporated into the system, in institutionally? 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  I forgot, I'm to repeat the question.
            Thank you, Mary.  The question can is, is there training for faculty, that relates to how to deal more effectively with students with disabilities, is it a requirement?  My answer is, no, there is not a requirement.  Our Grant in disabled student services, through Mary show Joe sdwri, we work very closely with the vice-president of faculty affairs, and in in fusing this within the or yen taition for tact tea.  that orientation for faculty.  That has been one of the major routes for teaching faculty.
            The center for higher learning has now started to put this training in the center.  And of course, with the Grant that we have, and this is the second round of funding that we've had.  We had a Grant six or 7 years ago and then there was a three year period where we did not have the funding and now we're back into our second year of a three year cycle.  So part of our mission is to get this kind of training to faculty, administrators and staff.  And I request from each of you, that you share this with your colleagues.  And we have training coming up, April,
            NEW SPEAKER:  16 and 17. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  16 and 17 beings where we're bringing in a national person who is going to talk about practical ways in which to develop your course and to work with students with disabilities, from a universal perspective, which means working with all students.
            And so we encourage and request and ask that you share this with your colleagues and be a part of this.  Because we think it's very, very important and essential for having an academic community that responds appropriately to the diversity of students that we have. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Yes? 
            NEW SPEAKER:  Lately, I teach a general education course, and haven't had so many students come up to me, but lately I've had a couple of inquiries regarding group work.  Group work is part of the large course.  And some, one student in particular, I received an e-mail yesterday, indicating that group work was something that he could not do.  For whatever reason.  And he had a good reason.  And the question to you is, how willing or let's say, I'm willing to modify a certain project or a certain part of the course, to suit the needs of that individual, how, are there, probably the question relates to, are there services on campus that help you do that?  And how much control as does the faculty member have in terms of developing those courses, with is that appropriate also?  And would that lead to somebody else saying, hey, that course, that exercise seems to be more interesting than, and I'm not, I don't have any letter, official letter.
So where does that go? 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  I'm going to repeat that?
            Right.  I think a part of the essence of your question is, modifying some of your course assignments, so that they become more universal for all of the students in your class.  Is that appropriate, and is there support on campus to facilitate your doing that?
            I'll ask the panel if anyone has any suggestions and then I'll ask Mary and myself to respond as well.
            JOHN JOHNSON:  I'm not going to address your question with respect to services.  I think Bobbie and Mary probably are more qualified to address that part of your question.  I think you have to take it on a case by case basis with respect to each student.  And if you feel the request is legitimate and the student is giving you enough information to make that judgment, I think obviously, the problem lies with the course instructor.  And that's the nature of higher education.  And I think you do need to establish course requirements, and regardless of whether or not a student with a disability discloses they have a disability, et cetera, they need to be able to meet the course requirements.  And then you can use some leverage in terms of modifying the course, as long as you understand the presumes that they're meeting the course requirements.
            With respect to group projects and I've had the same issue emerge with a student without a disability beings requesting an opportunity to complete exactly the same project, but to do it on an individual basis.  I allowed that student to do that, with the understanding that he was doing actually a lot more work, because these, he's not Real locating the work and distributing the work within members of the group.  But it was a legitimate request because of the nature of the environment that he's working at.  And so I allowed that to happen.  And I thought it was a legitimate request.
            Now, obviously, I'm going to have do make some adjustments in terms of grading on that and I'm not going to hold necessarily him to the level of standard I would hold to an entire group because of the distribution of the work.  You would expect more quality of a product emerging from a group than you would from an individual.
            So I guess it depends on, to what extent the course requirements is related to the student interacting within a group context.  And that's, those are only judgments that you can make and you're you have the prerogative to make those as a professor on campus. 
            NAN ZHANG-HAMPTON:  I would agree with John.  And group work tends to be tricky.  It depends on the course requirements, and most of our students however, they have their opinion and they don't like to be working in a group, because every individual has business schedule and they can't meet and so forth.  And I think academic quality is important factor that as faculty members have to think about.  For example, I teach a course which is group counseling.  In that course, the students need to lead a group.  And then students has to do the work.  There's no question about that.
            But in other kind of situations, if the request is legitimate and you think that the a given different accommodation will not lower the quality of the assignment, then I think they really, it's the faculty member's responsibility to do that.  On the other hand shs as Bobbie mentioned about universal, I think that's a challenge for all of us.  That is, when we start working as a faculty member, actually, not, not we.  When I started working as faculty member, the concert universal was not there.  We talk about accommodations all the time.  But the universe tea is different concept, and that is we design curriculum or deliver curriculum for everybody.  Therefore, we will not run into this accommodation issue.  So I think that's a challenge for me and I'm learning about that.  When I develop a syllabus or or certain content for my course, I need to keep that in mind and I'm still learning that.
And training workshop I think is a good way to go.  Bobbie and Mary and Mary are doing it. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  We will provide what we refer to as focus technical assistance through our scholar's program.  And a part of that material is available in Mary, who is holding it up now.  Mary in the back there.  We have two Marys that we're working with.  So one of the Marys will have that material.  That will be available to you.
            And then, certainly, dealing with the resources on campus, and one of the issues that we come up against again and again is looking at your course in terms of what are the standards for your course, what are the requirements, I think one of the panelists said.  And then, from a universal design perspective, coming up with a variety of ways of meeting that.  If the course is a group counseling course, are and you are going to get a degree where one of your qualifications is to run a group, I think you have to be able to to be able to participate in that group and lead the group.  That is one of those that I don't see as being negotiable.  But there may be some others, again, as your conceptualizing your course, some other strategies that you can say, oh, there may be three or four different ways that I can get at the same kind of skill or knowledge that we're trying to acquire that meets the course requirements and the standards within our chosen profession.
            Anything you wanted to add to that marry? 
            NEW SPEAKER:  I xwes I guess, do I need to get to a Mike
            NEW SPEAKER:  Yes. 
            NEW SPEAKER:  We do in the deed have students who have is difficulties participating in groups.  And in terms of accommodating processes for that, we might actually look at moving a student to a different section of a class, where group activity is not one of the requirements.  Now, that's kind of a segue and that's kind of avoiding the issue in a certain way.  And that isn't possible in some classes, some areas.
            I really think it is something that has to be handled on a case by case basis.  But we are also available for consultation in student disabilities services, sometimes we are familiar with those students that are asking for that excuse out of the group activity.  And sometimes we're not.  But we're more than willing to consult with faculty on general policy, and also to have a three way discussion with the student and the faculty and someone from our office to come up with a solution that's going to be, you know, sort of a reasonable solution in that instance, and something that will be work able in terms of your ability to evaluate and assess that student's competence.  In that field, in that subject.
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Thanks, Mary.  One additional question and we'll get to our wrap up here. 
            NEW SPEAKER:  As a faculty member, migrate test challenge has been addressing those individuals who have silent disabilities, those with attention deficit, those with learning disabilities, where I'm trying to help them prepare to be professionals working with people with similar disabilities.  And defining how to assess their cognitive and competency levels, to meet the needs of these individuals they're going on to be serving and how to make those accommodations, and yet make sure that they have, they come out graduate with the competences necessary. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  In repeating the question, facilitating the learning of students with hidden disabilities, who are going to be working with individuals who have a similar kind of disability, how to facilitate their meeting the requirements that are necessary for them to do their work.
            I'll ask the panel and then I do have a comment that I could make on that as well.  Anyone have a response? 
            LARS PERNER:  I don't have too much of a personal background but I'll refer you to Steven Shaw.  S H I E, he is finishing his doctorate degree at Boston University, and he's written, he's co-authord a book called ask and tell, which talks about accommodations, and he would be a great resource, his background is specifically in autism.  And it's also generalized to other areas. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  One of the other strategies that we have utilized, and this was during our first Grant cycle, we had an attorney whose name I can't remember now, came in and spent a couple of days with us.  And one of the things that she talked about was looking at how you do everything within your program.  From your admissions criteria, to the standards that you have to meet for your profession, to the course requirements, and that those are aware, that those are published and everybody knows that before they even start your program.  So that you start from a perspective of knowledge and empowerment of individuals so that they understand what the requirements are, and why the requirements are there.  And then on a case by case basis, I think is one of the messages that the panel is sharing with us.  You assess with that person, with that student, the best way for them to meet, not only the course requirements, but the standard that is necessary for them to graduate and to have their degree.
And again, Mary has pointed out that her office, oftentimes, has experience with that particular student, or with a student in a similar kind of situation, and so that you can do some brainstorming around some strategies that would be helpful.  And again, we have scholars, and if you're interested, please be sure and pick up a scholar ap and we will work with you on a strategy that will hopefully be of assistance to not only those students.  And this is something that we are really learning very strongly, is that while we talk about dealing with the student with the disability, we really are talking about all of our students.  Because we've had faculty say, you know, I made this kind of what I thought it was an accommodation for a student with disability, but found that my students without disabilities were the ones who used that kind of strategy more.
So, I think as we continue to educate ourselves and remember, because all of us are in the same situation of remembering when we are setting up our courses, our programs, we have to think about the diversity of participants who will be involved in the work that we do.
            Excellent.  One last thing that you would like for us to remember from this presentation?  I'll start with John. 
            JOHN JOHNSON:  Well, just kind of in response to your comment and I think this goes across the board.  One of the recommendations that came out of the national center on post secondary supports for students with disabilities is that a lot of kids come into the post secondary education with not a lot of familiarity of their disability and how to make the accommodations and supports.  That you're looking as a faculty member to really meet and you're not sure because you may or may not be an expert in the area, and so, one of the things that we need to do is a better job of working with high school students who are transitioning from high school into post secondary education, and I know that's not our responsibility, but I wanted to share with you that point, that we need to do a better job on our end to make that happen.
So that students come in and are able to work with you as a team member, to really kind of accommodate those kind of issues Bobbie was talking about, rather than it being solely the responsibility of the faculty member.  That's one issue I would raise. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Thanks, John.  Nan? 
            NAN ZHANG-HAMPTON:  Just following what John was talking, find resources on campus is key, because as fabt tea member, we have so many things, especially if someone does not have tenure yet, there's lots of pressure on the person to get tenure, plus the teaching, and all those things.  So I think find where you can get help is very important and I hope the University, from the fracture perspective, could provide more services or help for faculty members who want to learn how to work with students with disabilities, and I think about Mary, and Mary's project is wonderful way to go.
            On the other hand, as an individual with disability, I always ask people to treat me as a person.  Look at my ability, not my disability.  So I think all students with disabilities probably have similar, similar thinking as well.  So, treat them as a person, as a human being, focus oo the ability, not the disability.  It's something that I would like to share with you. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Thank you.  Lars? 
            LARS PERNER:  Well, I would like to reiterate Nan's point on focusing on abilities, because the disability, the truth, experimental ran a myth, probably a few years ago, about a syndrome and he credits the syndrome with helping him to look at the field in a new way that other people couldn't.  There's an excellent book called short history on nearly everything that chronicles the great scientists, like Isaac Newton, none of those people were remotely normal.  Some of you may have heard about testimony balance grand and his size yens about one-third of all livestock in the United States, he has a Ph.D.  In animal science, but cannot do Al gentleman bra.  So it shows again, different types of skills that may compensate.
            I do want to mention briefly that I have some materials that, so, power point talks that are narrated on the table, I also have a set of references on autism issues, and then there's the chronicle of higher education, if the you do run into any students with this syndrome, in the field, let me know.  One of the resources that I have is an article about preparing for college, but also deals with issues of essentially surviving college, and again, it's helpful to try to work with people focusing on special interest.
            Very briefly in the group work issue, let me I am size if there's a need for group work, it may have to be.  But it can't be very stressful, especially in large quantities.  So I would emphasize, I always suggest emphasizing quality rather than quantity.
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Wendy? 
            WENDY MARUYAMA:  I think everybody else has pretty much summed up the same feelings.  I feel like this is, an event like this is just scratching the surface.  I mean, we need to do more of these.  And to get more faculty involved.  And I also feel like with the president's initiative, increased publicity, through SDSU universe and three60 magazine, there needs to be some articles about the successes students and/or faculty with disabilities, and how they're able to compensate or to even add to the curriculum, in ways that non disabled people can. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Excellent. 
            WENDY MARUYAMA:  I also, in reference to Lars's books that he keeps mentioning which I think are really good sources, I believe there's a book club that they said, they select books for tact tea to recommend to faculty, who is in charge of that.  Dean chase, I think.  It would be nice to have some books that are selected, that would bring that, you know, awareness to the campus community. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Excellent. 
            WENDY MARUYAMA:  Especially for incoming students. 
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  Beautiful.  I really want to thank each of our panel members.  Our discussion is being taped.  And as we're working on our web site, I was looking for you back there.  Okay.  She's not there.
            It's going to be a part of our web site.  So we do have forms that are asking for us to be able to have permission to do that.  We're getting the back of your head, so I think you're going to be okay.  But certainly, we already have that permission.  And that's going to be up on our web site.  So that other faculty, staff and administrators will have access to this kind of experience, knowledge and wisdom.
            And I want to say a couple of things in summary.
            But before I do that, I wanted to say a special thanks to neat ta, who is passing out materials, at our last training, there was a tripping, an accident and she's now wearing a boot for, because she broke her foot in a couple of places.  But she's been with us, and a part of the reason why we are as successful as we are, in bringing all of us together, is because of her diligence and her commitment to the work that we do.
            And I would also like to say a special thanks to the two Mary's, and to each of you for being here.
            And then, to ask you to think about ways that we can get this message out to our colleagues.  And a couple of suggestions have been made, and I made note of those and we will pursue those.  Another area that I want us to remember is, the panel talked about access, we talked about looking at the student, not from his or her disability, but looking at the student from the things that they do well, and disability is a part of who they are.
            And I think, m the final comment deals with once we start to view students with disabilities as assets, and not as problems, we will have made major progress, not only in the academic community, but in so society in general.  So I would like to thank each of you for being here.  There are still refreshments in the back.  There are materials, we beg you to please complete your evaluation, and anything else that we need?  The scholar
            NEW SPEAKER:  The, in addition to the evaluation form that was passed out, there's a scholar information application.  We've mentioned it several times.  Many of the questions that you've raised, some of the challenges and innovative ideas you may be working through in your head, it may be something that you want to do as a scholar in one of the nice things about the scholar, it's a program that we built into the disability of diversity project, for your work as a scholar, we're able to provide you with a minimum of a thousand dollar scholar award and there are different ways that you can access that.  And so, please read this information, if you have any questions, give me a call.  I'd be more than happy to come to your office and meet with you and give you more information about the scholar work, and how you can help contribute and expand universal design on our campus and the learning environment for all students.

            BOBBIE ATKINS:  And remember, our stories are powerful, and thanks again to our panel. 
            ( Applause.  )
            BOBBIE ATKINS:  And thank you, Renee.