Arlington, Texas 76019
Advisor, Disability Studies
Bio: Mikila Salazar is the advisor and admin for the Disability Studies Minor. She graduated from UTA in Spring 2019 with a B.A. in Journalism and a Minor in Disability Studies. She also played five years of wheelchair basketball with the Lady Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team and was a part of the program’s first two national championships. Currently, Mikila is also an M.A. student in the Department of Communication at UTA and is working on exploring media representation of people of with disabilities, specifically through the lens of adapted sports. During her time in the DS Minor, she took the following classes: History of Disability, Universal Design, Disability & Art, Sport & Society, Art & the Human Condition, and Disability Studies Minor Internship. For her Disability Studies Minor internship, she interned with Arlington Mayor’s Committee on People with Disabilities and Arlington Parks & Recreation. In her internship, she created a master document of resources in the Arlington and DFW area that included information on adapted sports programs in the area. In addition, she also researched and created a document with tips and resources on how to make websites ADA accessible and researched and created a guide of local parks in the Arlington area that listed accessible and non-accessible amenities in each park. Outside of the office, she enjoys playing wheelchair basketball and spending quality time with her family and friends.
Director, Disability Studies
Bio: Sarah F. Rose is an associate professor of history at UTA, where she founded and directs the Minor in Disability Studies. She also serves as faculty advisor for UTA Libraries’ Texas Disability History Collection, for which she and Trevor Engel co-curated the Building a Barrier-Free Campus exhibit. She teaches “History of Disability” and “Disability Studies Internship” for the DS Minor and also offers graduate courses on “History of the Body” and “Disability History in Global Perspective.” Her book, No Right to Be Idle: The Invention of Disability, 1840s-1930s, was published by University of North Carolina Press in 2017 and was awarded the 2018 Philip Taft Prize in Labor and Working Class History, the 2018 Disability History Association Outstanding Book Award, the 2018 UTA Outstanding Research or Creative Activity Award, and the 2017 Award for Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of the New York State Archives. She has also published in LABOR on how baseball players and teams have managed health and fitness and in the Journal of Policy History on disabled veterans’ access to the GI bill and higher education after World War II. She is now working on an oral history memoir of disability rights activists Bob Kafka and Stephanie Thomas with her UTA colleague Dr. Gerald Saxon as well as an article on why health insurance does not cover hearing aids. She also is in the early stages of a book on Texas’s central role in shaping accessibility and universal design, disability rights and independent living, adapted sports, and occupational health policies and advocacy on the national level in the context of post-WWII Sunbelt expansion and migration, as well as the influx of defense contractors, federal education funding, and early IT companies. She plays Irish traditional music on the fiddle and concertina, and she and her husband have two very large cats, Aoife and Fionn, along with a son in graduate school.
Bio: Dr. Yilla holds both master's and doctorate degrees from Texas Women’s University, as well as two bachelor's degrees. His research focuses on the explication of the lives of individuals with disabilities, elite disability sport, and wheelchair basketball in particular. He has presented extensively worldwide and is a Paralympic medalist. He has coached national and international championships in wheelchair rugby and has won sixteen national championships in wheelchair basketball. Dr. Yilla has been at UTA since the fall of 1996. He teaches two disability related courses; Adapted Physical Education & Sport; and Sports & Society. He also teaches a course in Undergraduate Research Method
Bio: Beth Haller, Ph.D., teaches "Disability in Mass Media" as a summer course for the Minor in Disability Studies at the University of Texas-Arlington. She taught full-time in the Mass Communication Department at Towson University in Maryland from 1996-2020 and helped develop and still teaches a course for the Applied Adult Disability Studies (AADS) minor there. She is adjunct faculty for the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Disability Studies master’s and undergraduate programs and is scheduled to teach a disability and journalism course for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University in 2021. Haller is co-editor of the 2020 Routledge Companion to Disability and Media (with Gerard Goggin of the University of Sydney and Katie Ellis of Curtin University, Australia). She is the author of Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media (Advocado Press, 2010) and the author/editor of Byline of Hope: Collected Newspaper and Magazine Writing of Helen Keller (Advocado Press, 2015). She was formerly co-editor of the Society for Disability Studies’ scholarly journal, Disability Studies Quarterly, (2003-2006). Haller helped found the Global Alliance for Disability in Media and Entertainment (GADIM) in 2016 https://www.gadim.org/, with Patricia Almeida of Brazil, a journalist and the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, and Catia Malaquias of Australia, an attorney and the mother of a son with Down syndrome.
Bio: Beth S. Wright is a Distinguished University Professor, a member of the Academy of Distinguished Scholars, and a Professor of Art History at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her interest in Disability Studies began through her relationship with Dr. Beatrice Wright, one of the pioneers in rehabilitative psychology, and led her to create a course at UT Arlington “Art and the Human Condition” which could align with Disability Studies and Medical Humanities. She served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington from August 2003 to December 2014. Dr. Wright’s research centers on 18th and 19th century French art and its relationship to literature and historical representation. She has published two books with Cambridge University Press: Painting and History during the French Restoration: Abandoned by the Past (which received an award from the Dallas Museum of Art) and The Cambridge Companion to Delacroix, in which her essay appeared with those by leading scholars in art history, history and French studies. Her scholarly articles and book chapters have been published in America, Great Britain and France. She has presented her research at symposia hosted by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Tate-Britain, the Courtauld Art Institute, and the National Gallery, London and other museums, academic institutions, and conferences.
Bio: Coach Garner is the Head Coach for the UTA Movin’ Mavs and Asst. Director of Campus Recreation for Adapted Sports and Recreation. He has a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Science and a Master’s Degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction). He served 15 years as Commissioner for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Junior Division developing programs around the country and as an International Wheelchair Basketball Classifier for the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation. He has also served as an advisor for the USA Men’s and Women’s Paralympic teams and National Junior Teams since 2005. He also served as the Head Coach for the USA Under 20 Team that won Gold Medals in 2001 and 2003 at the Australian National Games for the Disabled. He was an Assistant Coach for the USA Men’s U-23 National Team in 2013. Coach Garner has coached 3 National Championship teams in his time at UTA. Along with his role as Head Coach of the Movin’ Mavs and director of Adapted Sports and Recreation, Coach Garner also serves as an Internship mentor with the Disability Studies program as well as Kinesiology, Communications, Psychology and other academic departments. In 2015 Doug was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change in Higher Education for his work advocating for sport and recreation opportunities for students with disabilities and in 2016 he began collaborating with the U.S. State Department and the University of Tennessee Global Sports Mentoring Program mentoring International Emerging Leaders from around the world. He lectures frequently around the U.S. on a variety of disability sport related topics, including promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Adapted Sports. In 2019 he was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Hall of Fame for his work growing the sport in the United States and around the world.
Bio: Eli Shupe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and the Humanities and co-director of the Medical Humanities program. She is a faculty advisor for two undergraduate societies at UTA, the Philosophy Club and Mavericks for Medical Humanities. She is proud to teach courses that center disabled perspectives on issues in ethics. She teaches Biomedical Ethics (PHIL 3319), Topics in Bioethics (PHIL 3341), and Issues in Healthcare Through Fiction (HUMA 3340) and is currently developing a new course on Disability Ethics. When she isn’t working, she’s usually looking at birds if the weather is nice or solving crossword puzzles if it isn’t.
Bio: Dr. Faye Cocchiara is Clinical Associate Professor of Management at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). She currently teaches Disability and Work, a new course that examines the history and theoretical approaches of disabilities and the impact disabilities have on the treatment and employment opportunities of individuals living with them. Dr. Cocchiara also teaches diversity courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prior to entering academe, Dr. Cocchiara worked for more than a decade in a variety of mid-level management positions at Sabre, Inc. Before coming to UTA, she was tenured at Arkansas State University and served as the University's Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. Cocchiara’s research focuses on fairness in employment selection, performance stereotypes, and sex-based stressors and coping. Her research appears in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Human Resource Management, and the Academy of Management Learning & Education, among others. She lives in Keller, Texas with her life partner, Charlie and her two dogs, Ralph Emerson (RalphE) and Benjamin Franklin (Benji).
Bio: Gerald Saxon is an Associate Professor of History, who received his Ph.D. from the University of North Texas in 1979. After earning his Ph.D., he worked as an oral historian at Dallas Public Library from 1980-1986 (at the time DPL was one of the few major libraries in the U.S. with an active oral history program). In 1986, he came to UTA to head the Special Collections Department of the UTA Libraries and to teach history. He spent twenty-five years teaching history courses and serving as an administrator in the library, stepping down in 2012 as Dean of Libraries. He’s been teaching history fulltime since then. His courses that focus on Disabilities Studies are Principles of Archives and Museums I&II, where graduate history students process and make accessible archival collections that are a part of the Texas Disability History Collection (TDHC), and Oral History Methods and Methodology, where graduate students conduct oral history interviews with individuals who have made an impact on Texas disability history. These interviews are then transcribed and added to the TDHC. Saxon has served as president of numerous historical organizations, including the Texas Oral History Association, Society of Southwest Archivists, Society for the History of Discoveries, and was a gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Historical Records and Advisory Board, He has published numerous works about Texas, and is currently working on a biography of Sterling C. Robertson, an empresario like Stephen F. Austin who brought families to settle in Texas beginning in the early 1830s.
Bio: Janet Morrow is a conceptual artist and art teacher, living and working in the Lake Whitney area of Central Texas. She holds a BFA in theatre from Southern Methodist University, an MFA in Intermedia Studio Art from The University of Texas at Arlington and K-12 art teaching certification from UTA. Her work has been exhibited at Gonzo Unit in Thessaloniki, Greece, The Smithsonian International Gallery in Washington, D.C., Surface Gallery in Nottingham, England, Circle Gallery at The Maryland Foundation of Art in Annapolis, Maryland, Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, The Long Beach Island Foundation in Loveladies, New Jersey, Altered Esthetics Gallery in Minneapolis, and many other venues. Janet will teach Disability & Art for Disability Studies and Art+Art History in Fall 2023. She has taught art at Tarrant County College NE , recreational art workshops for MHMR Pine Street Recovery Center and 3D workshops for Imagination Celebration's Special Weekend for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing High School Students and has presented research and lectures at The Modern Museum of Art in Fort Worth, Society for Disability Studies Conference, The University of Texas at Dallas, and The University of North Texas.
Bio: Dr. Julienne A. Greer is an Assistant Professor of Theatre; Social Robotics and Performance. She earned a BFA in Drama from NYU, an MA in Media Arts from TCU, and her Ph.D. in Humanities at UTD. Dr. Greer is an interdisciplinary scholar + artist working at the emerging intersection of theatre and social robotics. Her primary focus is examining Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) to “humanize” social robots to the nuances of human behavior and develop better human-robot relational outcomes. Dr. Greer works with interdisciplinary teams including Social Work, Education, Computer Science, and Engineering. Current work includes: Shakespeare and Robots: robots acting Shakespeare with older adults for psychological well-being, Caretaker Respite: building trust and connection between humans and robots so caretaker burden can be lessened, and a UTA Interdisciplinary 2019 grant for older adults and social robots modified for remote-only study.
Bio: Professor Laurel Whitsett’s home department is Theatre Arts and Dance. She teaches a cross-listed course in Theatre and the Disability Studies minor called All In: Universal Design and Accessibility in Performing Art. She is a doctoral student in the Linguistics & TESOL program at UTA, focusing on the pragmatic demands of interpreting from English to American Sign Language (ASL) in live theatre settings, specifically on strategies for interpreting verbal humor. Laurel trained in theatre improvisation at Royal Academy of Dramatic Cart (RADA) and at Fort Worth’s own Four Day Weekend, and currently serves as the co-director of UTA’s Maverick Improv. On-going projects include investigation into how virtual intelligence (VI) can be used to address mental health concerns, and she would like to mount a reimaged version of playwright Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind as a one-person show, introducing ASL shadow-interpreted performances into the theatre arts community at large. Being a state certified ASL-English interpreter, Laurel has combined her interdisciplinary interests to produce work with the Dallas Theater Center as the ASL coach on their productions of Clybourne Park and with TheaterWorks Hartford as the British Sign Language (BSL) coach for its production of Constellations. Are you a horror film fan? You can see Laurel’s untimely demise as Sheriff Terry Frankel in Splinter; indie film fans can catch her as the acerbic librarian in Super opposite Rainn Wilson, while mainstream moviegoers can see her in Premonition with Sandra Bullock. For more information about her film and TV work, check out her IMDb page. Laurel worked as Chuck Norris’ dialogue coach for the final season of Walker, Texas Ranger and has experience in a variety of below-the-line responsibilities including dialogue coaching, dialect coaching, editing, and directing. Fun facts: Laurel was a professional cheerleader for the NFL’s then-San Diego Chargers, she is an avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and she has an identical twin sister.
Bio: Mary Vaccaro (Ph.D., Columbia University) is a Distinguished Professor of Art History who specializes in sixteenth-century northern Italian painting and drawing. She has published widely on topics ranging from the connoisseurship of Old Master drawings to spiritual kinship among artists as godparents, to women as patrons of art and the rhetoric of female beauty. She is currently conducting research on the hirsute Gonzalez family's role and agency within the Farnese courts of Parma and Rome. She is also deeply committed to teaching and empowering her students to become better critical thinkers. Recent events in our world and our country invited her to re-think how and what she wants to teach: her courses aim to pay attention to cross-cultural exchanges within Europe and across the globe and make connections between past and present in the hope of finding – to cite the late Congressman John Lewis, a revered Civil Rights icon – “solutions to the challenges of our time.” Among her courses is a new seminar titled "Race, Gender, and Disability in Early Modern Art."
Bio: Dr. Bell is the Associate Dean for Diversity, Racial Equity, and Inclusion and the Thomas McMahon Endowed Professor in Business Ethics in the College of Business at the University of Texas at Arlington. She teaches undergraduate Diversity in Organizations (DS/MANA 4326) for disability studies. Her research focuses on a broad array of diversity and social issues and appears in a variety of management and psychology journals and edited volumes. Her book, Diversity in Organizations (4th ed., 2022), is a comprehensive, research-based book for teaching and learning about diversity. She has received numerous diversity-related honors, including the 2021 Dallas Business Journal’s Inaugural Diversity Leaders Award; the DiversityFIRST™ Award from the Texas Diversity Council; the PhD Project Management Doctoral Students’ “Trailblazer Award”; and she was twice selected by the Society for Human Resource Management as one of eight professors among 100 distinguished global thought leaders from business, education, and government.
Bio: Sarah Shelton is a Senior Lecturer and the Coordinator of Social Media for the Department of English where she teaches composition, literature, theory, and digital studies. Her research interests include the materiality of classrooms and of reading and writing processes, posthumanism, composition and writing studies, contemporary literature, young adult literature, feminism, fat studies, and disability theory (to name a few). She holds a BA in English from UT Austin and an MEd in Teaching from UTA. Her work in disability and fat studies has been published in Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society. Using that work, she teaches a Disability Studies section of the Department of English’s special topics literature course. Most recently, the theme of the course was “Fat Fiction” and used both disability and fat studies to examine the portrayal of fat protagonists in YA literature and popular culture.
TA Associated Professor of Practice
Bio: Dr. Gellman practiced Family Medicine for 31 years in Coppell, Texas. He saw a need for improved patient care in medical practice and transitioned to academia. He founded the Medical Humanities program at UTA and taught the first class in Fall 2018. A Medical Humanities Certificate Program was initiated and has attracted students with diverse backgrounds. Dr. Gellman is now teaching four courses in the Medical Humanities program: Medical Humanities (HUMA 3300), Issues in American Healthcare thru Film (HUMA 3360), Clinical Medicine and the Human Experience (SCIE 4303), and the Art of Diagnosing Disease in Humans (SCIE 4304). A student organization, Mavericks for Medical Humanities, started in 2020. Dr. Gellman also serves as the UTA Pre-med Consultant and was honored with the 2021 Advisor of the Year Award. He serves as Faculty Advisor for: SNMA-MAPS Pre-med Club, Mavericks for Medical Humanities Club and Pre-Student Osteopathic Medical Association Club.