Minot State professors to present at disability and diversity conference

By Amanda Duchsherer
Digital Communication Specialist

MINOT, N.D. – Minot State will be represented by professors Rebecca Daigneault and Evan Borisinkoff at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 2-3. 

Daigneault, assistant professor and field coordinator of social work, is the project director of a federal grant funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living titled “American Indians into Disability Studies Project,” and will present a poster on the Minority Serving Institution Partnership Implementation Grant.

“The project is a federally-funded partnership implementation grant between the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities at Minot State University and the Turtle Mountain Community College located on the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indian reservation,” Daigneault said. “The goal of the project is to increase the capacity of the tribal community to provide inclusive special education services. This is accomplished by supporting teacher education students to complete their bachelor’s degrees while introducing them to special education topics and encouraging pursuit of a master’s degree or graduate certificate in special education.”

Borisinkoff, human services undergraduate program director and associate professor, will present an overview of the efforts made by faculty in the Department of Special Education to update the Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services.

“We have recently reconceptualized and substantively updated the curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a focus on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.” Borisinkoff said. “In the past, the degree has been offered face-to-face on campus online and synchronously. It is now offered completely asynchronous online.

“To accomplish this goal, faculty critically examined the course offerings and practicum requirements based on focus groups that solicited senior student feedback. The opinions of several key national experts in the field of human services and developmental disabilities were also solicited.”

The two presentations align with the conference’s goal: to harness the innovation and knowledge building that are occurring globally, to shape an informed collective that empowers individuals with disabilities, their families, and invigorates those who serve. 

“For effective engagement with American Indian communities, it is important to establish a trusting relationship with one or more tribal liaisons, respected tribal members who live and work in the community,” Daigneault said.

For her, empowering American Indian communities is a personal concern.

“Since high school, I have been passionate about working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other oppressed populations because I saw how much they struggled to move through life,” she said. “I am a First Nations woman from a small community in northern Saskatchewan and it’s important to me to continue to utilize my expertise to serve Indigenous people.”

Borisinkoff’s presentation will serve future professionals in the field of human service.

“Currently there is a national shortage of human service professionals in the field of developmental disabilities and having a high-quality established program like ours completely online helps meet this demand,” he said. “Students take advantage of cutting-edge classes where they can implement what they are learning directly with the people they are currently working with.

“The Pac Rim conference has been around for the last 35 years and is an important event that has international scholars attending from all over the world sharing their research and expertise. I look forward to sharing with other conference attendees the department’s recently reconceptualized bachelor’s degree as well as marketing our department’s degree offerings at the exhibit hall.”

For more information about the “American Indians into Disability Studies Project,” view the POSTER for the conference. Information about the Human Services with a major in Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities program options is available ONLINE.

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 02/27/20   

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