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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

DRC’s Thornton Provides Leadership in National Project

Melanie Thornton, associate director of UALR’s Disability Resource Center, has been selected as one of four trainers for Project ShIFT – Shaping Inclusion through Foundational Transformation. The three-year federal Department of Education grant is dedicated to creating institutional change that improves the quality of higher education for disabled students.

The project aims to develop usable, inclusive, and sustainable campus environments for disabled students. As a trainer for the project, Thornton will be providing professional development to and mentoring 26 disability service professionals from colleges and universities across the country.

Last summer, participants attended the project’s first week-long summer institute in Denver, discussing research from disability studies and issues of social justice. They then considered how the concepts could be applied to their office practices to facilitate a change in the campus perception of disability.

Many of the participants are utilizing the work of the UALR Disability Resource Center as a model for developing their own practices.

This year, each participant will invite a faculty member to join in the project’s second summer institute. Project participants and their faculty colleagues will partner in continuing discussions of how new perspectives of disability can inform both service delivery and curriculum design.

Those interested in learning more about the intersection of disability and design are encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center.

For more information, email Melanie Thornton.