Acting Toward Social Change
Edited By David J. Connor, Jan W. Valle and Chris Hale
8. Why We Do What We (Think We) Do: Creating a Campus Coalition From the Perspective of Disability Studies in Education
GEERT VAN HOVE AND ELISABETH DE SCHAUWER
At Ghent University (Belgium) within the Department of Special Education, a group of researchers is united under the banner of Disability Studies in Education (DSE) (Van Hove et al., 2008). Since 1999, this group has been trying to build an environment in which DSE is more than just a theoretical framework, a way of thinking, or a topic of class discussion. We are becoming a “network group” with strong connections to people whose lived experiences reflect the kinds of concerns addressed by DSE scholars. At the same time, we are looking at how to work with our network companions in research, education, and service to the community. It is clear that such an agenda cannot be accomplished overnight and requires the development of strong partnerships. Over the past 15 years, our coalition with network companions—the self-advocacy movement Onze Nieuwe Toekomst (Our New Future),1 the parents’ association Ouders voor Inclusie (Parents for Inclusion), and Steunpunt Inclusief Hoger Onderwijs (Expertise Centre for Students with Disabilities in Higher Education Institutions)—has developed naturally into an embedded structure at the university and is considered pivotal to our overarching agenda.
About the Campus Coalition
A parent who is a member of our campus coalition described it as follows:
“the Disability Studies group at Ghent University can be compared to a table around which organisations that have common interests are given the opportunity ← 141 | 142 → to sit...
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