Disability Studies Initiative

Welcome! We are an interdisciplinary group of faculty at the University of Mary Washington who are committed to establishing disability as a central component to the understanding and cultivation of diversity on our campus. Among our many activities are:

  • Teaching an interdisciplinary Introduction to Disability Studies course (IDIS 300N), first taught in the Fall 2020
  • Developing and working towards the approval of an interdisciplinary Disability Studies minor
  • Supporting and working with faculty who wish to develop or strengthen disability content in their courses, curricula, or programs, including through a learning community on campus in Fall 2021
  • Bringing in and/or supporting speakers related to disabilities, Disability Studies, and disability rights advocacy
  • Advocating for disabled students, staff, and faculty to ensure that the UMW campus and community are even more accessible, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming
  • Some group members also work with the student organization, DiversAbility, and with Delta Alpha Pi (national academic honor society for students with disabilities)


If you are a student at UMW, we encourage you to join UMW’s great student organization, DiversAbility.


If you are a faculty or staff member at UMW and would like to get in touch or learn more about our work, or especially if would like to join more formally our Initiative, please contact any of the Initiative members listed below.


Janet Asper (Department of Chemistry and Physics)

Brenta Blevins (Department of English & Linguistics)

Julia DeLancey (Department of Art & Art History)

Mindy Erchull (Department of Psychological Sciences)

Chris Foss (Department of English & Linguistics)

Christine Henry (Department of Historic Preservation)

Melissa Jenkins (College of Education)

Virginia Mackintosh (Department of Psychological Science)

Andréa Livi Smith (Department of Historic Preservation)

Danielle Smith (Office of Disability Resources)

Jennifer Walker (College of Education)

Jessica Zeitz (Department of Computer Science)