The “Climate of Disabilities” at
Steven E. Brown
2014 National Retreat at Duke
Who is Steve?
Professor (retired), Disability Studies,
University of Hawaii Center on Disability Studies
Co-Founder, Institute on Disability Culture
What is a Climate Assessment and
Why is it Useful?
“The systematic measuring of effectiveness in an
institution or program area so that an action
plan for program improvement can be created
and set in motion as a means of inducing
change.” (from Stodden, Brown & Roberts,
Developing an Instrument
1. What would you want to know about students at your University?
2. What would you want to know about faculty at your University?
3. What would you want to know about administrators at your University?
4. What would you want to know about facilities at your University?
5. What would you want to know about extra-curricular activities at your University?
6. What would you want to know about programs designed for students with disabilities at
7. . What would you want to know about how students with disabilities fit into programs
that not specifically designed for students with disabilities at your University?
Other Resources for Disability and
Postsecondary Education from the
University of Hawaii Center on
Teaching All Students, Reaching All Learners,
Including Students with Disabilities as Diverse
Universal Design for Learning
Rights and Responsibilities
Professional Development Modules
Cultural Identity Bubble Map
• Here is a template for you to create your own
Cultural Identity Bubble Map.
• You are in the bubble at the center, with
bubbles listing various aspects of your identity
radiating to the center
Creating Your Own Cultural Identity Bubble Map
Here is a template for you to create your own Cultural
Identity Bubble Map.
You are in
the bubble at the
center, with bubbles
aspects of your
identity radiating to
Children from different cultures wearing different colors. 10
Disability Culture & Pride
Examples of disability culture
Disability Cultural Centers
University of Minnesota (1991):
Syracuse University (2012):
Longmore Institute – San Francisco State U (2012):
Institute on Disability Culture
Links & Resources:
Using Disability Culture
How might knowing about or having examples
of disability culture be useful?
1. Explain why people with disabilities think
our culture is important.
2. Use examples to demonstrate disability
rights, history, talents and resources.
How can the discourse of disability culture
relate to general discourse of social experience
Prejudice is a far greater problem than any
impairment; discrimination a bigger obstacle to
overcome than any disability.”
Paul K. Longmore
Brown, S. E. (2003). Movie Stars and Sensuous Scars: Essays on the Journey from Disability Shame
to Disability Pride. New York: People with Disabilities Press.
Stodden, R.A., Brown, S. E. & Roberts, K. (2011). Disability-Friendly University Environments:
Conducting a Climate Assessment. In In Harbour, Wendy S. and Madaus, Joseph W. (Eds.) New
Directions for Higher Education: Disability services and campus dynamics (pp. 83-92). San