Global Perspectives on Disability at the University of Oregon

Susan Sygall lectures in front of a classroom of university students.
Mobility International USA is once again bringing a disability rights perspective to students at the University of Oregon.

This Spring term, both graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in Global Perspectives on Disability will engage in an interdisciplinary course led by MIUSA, being offered through the International Studies department. Students will be introduced to the history and development of disability rights movements across the world, key international laws and policies used to advance disability rights, and the importance of utilizing a human rights perspective.

Students enrolled in this course represent a wide variety of interests and areas of study, and will be encouraged to consider disability inclusion no matter what career field they plan to enter. Previous students have come from backgrounds in Psychology, Special Education, History, Ethnic Studies, Family and Human Services, International Studies, Human Physiology, and Nonprofit Management.

Many of last year’s students remarked on the power of this course in broadening their perspectives on the history of disability rights both in the U.S. and internationally. The integration of guest speakers and videos throughout lecture classes allow students the opportunity to see important concepts in action. Many prior students also commented on the impact this course will have on their future career aspirations.

“I enjoyed the videos and guest speakers that came in to share their personal stories. Hearing the passion and empowerment through the voices of these advocates is something that cannot be taught in textbooks. In my opinion, this class should be taught to everyone to spread awareness and inform students on issues so prevalent, especially in today’s society.” – Senior Undergraduate Student, Family and Human Services

“Previous to this course, I had a background on the history of the rights on individuals with disabilities as well as a background on the laws that govern this field. However, within this course I was able to gain a broader perspective on policy development, something none of my classes have ever touched on. Overall, this course has encouraged me to use my knowledge and specialized skills within the field of early intervention to benefit families and children with disabilities across the world. After researching the current disability rights movement in Haiti, I would be interested in pursuing an early intervention career in Haiti.” – Graduate Student, Special Education - Early Intervention

"One of the most eye opening parts of the class for me was learning about the history behind the fight for disability rights in the United States…This was the first time I had learned about these important protections and the disability rights movement that forged a path for the creation of these laws.” – Junior Undergraduate Student, Human Physiology

“After the short three-week session of this awesome class, I am greatly encouraged and motivated by all the speakers and the lectures. It is such an unforgettable experience in my life…As I am working with young children, I see how important it is to educate the younger generation on the basis of non-discrimination.” – Special Education Graduate Student from China

MIUSA hopes to continue to expand opportunities for university students to learn about disability issues in the classroom, so that future leaders and decision makers will understand that disability inclusion is a human rights issue. According to prior students of this course, this was their first class that spoke about disability inclusion from a rights-based approach.

MIUSA would like to extend gratitude to the University of Oregon’s Division of Equity and Inclusion for sponsoring this course and supporting the University of Oregon in being a leader in disability inclusion.

PDF icon Spring 2020 Global Perspectives on Disability Flyer.pdf