Disability Inclusion Workshop

The University of Oregon is situated in one of the most disability-accessible cities in the world, encompassing world-renowned services and programs that trampoline people with disabilities - residents as well as visitors from around the world - to their highest potential.

This dynamic and interactive workshop will provide new ideas and innovative strategies that will position the University of Oregon to be a leader in enhancing access and inclusion of students and staff with disabilities. 

Best practices will be discussed related to universal design, diversifying the student body, attracting global scholars and professors, enhancing accessibility of international education programs, curriculum enrichment and more. Workshop participants will have ample time to discuss their own innovative approaches for excellence.

April 5, 2017 | 3:00pm to 5:00pm | EMU Crater Lake South room

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Susan Sygall

Susan Sygall is CEO/Co-Founder of Mobility International USA (MIUSA). She is an internationally-recognized expert in the area of international development, educational exchange and leadership programs for persons with disabilities, having co-founded the national non-profit organization Mobility International USA in 1981. MIUSA’s mission is to empower people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

As CEO and co-founder of Mobility International USA, Susan is an internationally recognized expert in the area of international educational exchange and leadership programs for persons with disabilities. As a wheelchair rider who has studied abroad and traveled extensively, Susan has had a personal and professional commitment to disability rights for more than 30 years. Susan has lectured throughout the world on a variety of topics related to inclusive development, international exchange and disability rights. Its signature program, the Women’s Institute on Leadership and Disability, has provided leadership training and capacity-building activities for over 200 women leaders with disabilities from around the world.

Ms. Sygall is also recognized for her work on issues related to women with disabilities and has co-authored numerous publications in this area, including Brilliant and Resilient: Celebrating the Power of Disabled Women Activists. Most recently, she published a memoir, No Ordinary Days, which highlights the creation of Mobility International USA and the impact that international exchange can have on everyone, including people with disabilities.

Ms. Sygall has also received numerous awards in recognition of her passionate advocacy for disability rights, including the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2000, an Ashoka Fellowship in 2013, and she received an honorary doctorate from Chapman University.

Ms. Sygall earned her M.S. from the University of Oregon in 1981 and now teaches an undergraduate and graduate level UO course called Global Perspectives on Disability. In addition, Ms. Sygall serves on the President’s Diversity Advisory Community Council (PDACC) at the University of Oregon to carry out the university's mission in ways that enhance access, retention, and opportunity for traditionally underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities.

Ashley Holben

Ashley Holben is a Project Specialist with the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange at Mobility International USA, where she also serves as Executive Specialist to the CEO. She writes and presents on disability inclusion in international exchange and develops initiatives and resources to increase participation and inclusion of students with disabilities in international exchange.

As a Rotary Group Study Exchange participant, Ashley visited disability organizations and alumni in Malaysia to learn about the country’s disability rights issues and movements. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in International Studies and Economics with a focus in International Comparative Development and Africa, which led her to intern with a non-profit organization in Dakar, Senegal.

Hilary Gerdes

Hilary Gerdes is Senior Director of the UO Accessible Education Center with the Division of Undergraduate Studies. Dr. Gerdes has been actively involved with higher education disability issues and academic advising at the University of Oregon for more than 30 years.

She has worked with thousands of UO students on issues of access, inclusion, and academic planning, and with faculty/staff on issues of universal design, effective accommodations, and legal responsibilities. Her other interests include adjustment to college, college student retention, and parental support of college transition.

Dr. Gerdes is currently the president of the Oregon Association on Higher Education and Disability. She is passionate about disability studies, enjoys violin, piano, and traveling to the coast.