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Campus workshop will focus on improving disability inclusion

The UO Division of Equity and Inclusion is hosting a workshop, Striving for Excellence: Strategies for Reaching the Highest Standards for Disability Inclusion, to help campus become a more welcoming place for people with disabilities.

The event will be Wednesday, April 5, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Crater Lake South Room of the Erb Memorial Union.

Administrators attending the interactive workshop will learn how to support disability inclusion. The workshop will explore new ideas and strategies to position the UO to be a leader in enhancing access and inclusion of students, faculty and staff with disabilities. 

Topics will include best practices related to universal design, diversifying the student body, curriculum enrichment, attracting global scholars and professors, enhancing accessibility of international education programs and more. Participants will also be encouraged to discuss their own innovative approaches to disability inclusion. Susan Sygall, a UO alumna and co-founder of Mobility International USA, is one of the workshop leaders. She is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international development, educational exchange and leadership programs for persons with disabilities.

 “I am looking forward to being part of this workshop to share ideas on how the University of Oregon can strive to be one of the most inclusive universities so that people with disabilities — especially those from other countries — can reach their highest potential, and that disability inclusion is part of the UO’s diversity plan,” Sygall said.

The workshop will also be led by disability experts Ashley Holben and Hilary Gerdes.

Holben, a UO alumna, is a project specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA. She writes and speaks on disability inclusion in international exchange and develops initiatives and resources to increase participation and inclusion of students with disabilities in international exchange.

Gerdes is senior director of the UO Accessible Education Center in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. She has been active in higher education disability issues and academic advising at the UO for more than 30 years. She is currently president of the Oregon Association on Higher Education and Disability.

The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and people are encouraged to RSVP by Friday, March 31, at noon.

—By tova stabin, University Communications