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UT Arlington College of Liberal Arts launches new disability studies minor

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis, Office:817-272-3317, Cell:214-577-9094, blewis@uta.edu

News Topics: education, history, mental health, psychology, social work, student life, students

The University of Texas at Arlington will help students explore both the experiences of people with disabilities and how ideas about disability and ability shape politics, culture, economics, and social interactions as it launches a new disability studies minor.

More than 650 UT Arlington students on campus register as having some type of disability.

The College of Liberal Arts’ Department of History developed the interdisciplinary program to meet the interest among students preparing for a variety of graduate programs and for careers in law, education, public health, nursing, architecture, urban planning and social work.

“We have more than 650 students on campus who are registered with the Office for Students with Disabilities as having some type of disability.  Hundreds of others don’t even need to register because the campus is so accessible,” said Sarah Rose, director of the Minor in Disability Studies Program and assistant professor of history. “Disability is a form of diversity that people in our culture don’t always know how to address or understand, yet, almost everyone knows someone with a disability or has a relative with a disability.“

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 to 20 percent of the people in the U.S. have some type of disability, making them one of the largest minorities in the country.

“Because people with disabilities are such a large group, nearly everyone knows someone with a disability or has a relative with a disability,” Rose said.

Beth Wright, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said the new minor speaks to the University’s long-standing commitment to serving people with disabilities through education and services.

“We are proud that the College of Liberal Arts and The University of Texas at Arlington are in the forefront of research and education, which will make a difference to the lives of millions of Americans," Wright said. "Through rigorous coursework in the humanities and social sciences, we are helping to prepare the next generation of practitioners and policy makers and affect architectural design, business and social work practice, the design of prosthetics, and many other areas." 

The minor will require 18 semester hours of courses from the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Business, Education and Health Professions, the School of Architecture and Social Work.

Some of the core and elective courses for 2013-2014 include: Art & Disability, Design Thinking Innovations Practice, History of Madness and Mental Illness, Gender & Disability, Adapted Physical Education and Sport, Medical Anthropology, Diversity in Organizations, and History of Disability.

UT Arlington will be the second degree-granting program in the region and the only one in Texas to offer a disability studies degree.  

Rose said part of the UT Arlington’s curriculum will give students opportunities to intern with the Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team, disability rights organizations, and the online Disability History Museum, www.disabilitymuseum.org.

“This is going to be a wonderful addition to the University and add many layers of diversity studies to what we already provide on campus,” Rose said.

For more information about the disability studies minor at UT Arlington, visit www.uta.edu/history/disabilitystudies/ or contact Dr. Sarah Rose at srose@uta.edu.

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of nearly 33,800 students and more than 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas. It is the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.