Honors Ad-Hoc Application

Ad-Hoc Courses

This year I decided to pursue department honors in Disability Studies. With this, I need to ad-hoc two courses and my senior thesis. My two courses were: Disability History and Global Disability. The goal for my two courses was to write a piece for senior thesis, so that is what I did. Then, for my senior thesis, I used these pieces to draft my complete manual. The honors portion of my senior thesis was to create a condensed version of the manual. I put the application for the Disability History class below. The others were quite similar. 

Here is my Honors Experiential Learning Initial Application

Title: The History of Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities

What is the standard coursework for this class? Include details about assignments, projects, and activities.

This course focuses on the history of disability, particularly in the United States. The history of disability is not something frequently taught in classes, so by placing disability history at the forefront of the conversation we can bring to light much of the history that created/supports current cultures and stigmatizations. Some examples of class topics will look at human differences from a medical perspective, how disability is normalized, continuing legacies of eugenics, and how these stories are told. This class will also look at the intersection of disability with race and gender.

To engage with this material, each week we will read three articles and watch/listen to a video, webinar, podcast, etc. Each week this material will be related to a different theme such as "justifying inequalities" or "histories and legacies of eugenics." This class will also meet once per week and have a class discussion about the material.

The assignments for this class consists of weekly discussion posts and replies with my classmates, six reading responses, and a final essay that will be worked on the entire quarter. For the final essay, we will complete a topic proposal, annotated bibliography, draft, peer review and then submit it.

Outline your proposed ad hoc Honors Project, be sure to include the main topic, focus, and goal of the project. Please also include details about the deliverable of your project (i.e., if a video, how long will it be? If reviewing resources, how many minimum? how will you find them? etc.)

Since this course covers disability histories broadly, I will focus on learning more specifically about the history of individuals with intellectual disabilities. I have chosen this group because many of my extracurricular activities interact with this population and I feel that understanding this history would help improve my ability to serve as an ally to the disability community. Gilbert Cruz, a writer for the New York Times, stated that "to change the future, you must first face history." I consider myself to be an advocate and friend to those with intellectual disabilities and this quote encompasses how learning about the past will support the creation of a better community in the future. My primary focus for this project is to gain a deeper knowledge of the disability history of individuals with intellectual disabilities.

For this project, I will complete additional research into this topic, exploring sources such as journal articles, books, stories, podcasts or films. I will get suggestions from Professor Woiak on better sources and diversifying the voices that tell the history. I think that is particularly important to have sources from individuals with intellectual disabilities and their family members.

I will compile this research into an additional paper. The audience for this paper will be youth with and without intellectual disabilities. This means that I will use more accessible language to a high school audience, assume the audience has no experience with disability history, and have detailed explanations with references to the research that I have done. This paper will use a variety of sources, so as to have an interdisciplinary perspective with many voices represented. I plan to eventually use this paper in my department honors project.

Discuss your motivations for pursuing this ad hoc project. What do you hope to gain from completion of this project?

Although I have worked with individuals with intellectual disabilities for seven years, none of my high school history classes or my other disability studies classes have explored in depth the history of individuals with disabilities. By understanding this history, I believe that I can better work with this population of individuals because I would be able to bring more compassion and insight to my extracurricular activities. I also believe that I will have a better understanding of current disability culture and stigmatizations.

My departmental honors project is to create a training day for volunteers (who are individuals with and without disabilities) of my nonprofit organization, Thurston County Inclusion. Thurston County Inclusion's mission is to provide year-round engagement for youth with and without intellectual disabilities with a special focus on summer programming. I co-founded this organization in order to support inclusion and accessibility in my local community. In my training day manual, I would like to include information about the history of individuals with intellectual disabilities for the same reason that I want to learn more about: it will help my volunteers more fully understand disability culture and stigmatization today.

Ultimately, I hope that by doing additional research and writing a paper, I will have a more complete knowledge of disability history, be able to better work with individuals with intellectual disabilities, help create a more inclusive community, and help my volunteers learn a little bit about disability histories.

How does this additional work connect with the educational goals of the course and/or your professors area of expertise?

The learning objectives of this course are: to understand the history of disability and activism in connection with other social categories; gain a theoretical background in the field of disability studies (DS) and apply the concept of the social construction of disability; investigate how normalcy is constituted through gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability; consider how classifications have shaped and/or been shaped by medical science/practice; and develop skills in critical thinking and writing about diversity and intersecting identities.
My proposed ad-hoc project relates to two of the educational goals of this course. First, I will be gaining a more in-depth understanding of the history of disability and activism through the independent research that I will be doing. This work allows me to be more specialized in Disability Studies because I would be able to focus on one subgroup of the wide range of disabilities. Second, I will be able to further apply my critical thinking skills to my ad-hoc project paper and gain more experience writing about inclusion, diversity and identities.

Outline your project schedule. In your schedule be sure to include your plan for in-person meetings, when each component of your project is due (drafts, revisions, preliminary research), when you are hoping to receive feedback, and other relevant steps.

I will be working with Professor Woiak as I compile additional journal articles, book chapters, etc and synthesize this research into a paper. We plan on meeting every other week throughout the quarter to discuss how and what material I am finding. Professor Woiak will specifically review the research that I am doing and making suggestions as to how I can expand what articles I am finding. She will also provide feedback on my ad-hoc paper which could be suggesting improvements on the structure of my paper, better word choices, and any other methods on how this paper could be improved.

The final product... 

This my volunteer manual. I am so excited about the final product and I can't wait to put it to use at my volunteer. 

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