The President's Commission on Disability Issues

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Purpose and Mission

Established in 1986, the President’s Commission on Disability Issues is responsible for advising the President on issues of concern to people with disabilities and bringing awareness to the campus community on disability and equal access issues. The Commission investigates and studies these issues as part of the University’s commitment to the full participation of all members of its community in the educational, cultural, and social life of the campus. Its mission is to recommend steps and to provide programs, advocacy, and resources that will help the University create a respectful, inclusive, and universally accessible environment for people with disabilities.


What Do We Do?

Since its inception, PCDI has been involved in numerous scholarly, advocacy, and awareness-raising activities. Most recently, we created the UMD Accessibility Hub to consolidate information and resources for University community members and visitors with disabilities. Past and continuing activities include:

  1. Programming for Disability Awareness Month each October and co-sponsorship of events for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s “Rise Above -Isms” campaign.
  2. PCDI Service Awards.
  3. Co-sponsorship of the Disability Summit, a free, scholarly conference organized annually.
  4. Evaluation of campus facilities for accessibility issues.
  5. Manage disability community listserv.
  6. Campus “listening sessions” on the climate for University community members with disabilities.
  7. Training programs, including Mental Health First Aid Certification and Disability Awareness events.
  8. Programming for and about people with disabilities, e.g., Launching a Career in the Federal Government for Students with Disabilities, a panel presentation with representatives from the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, etc.

PCDI fulfills an important leadership role in advancing the goals of the University’s Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion and in assuring proactive compliance with federal legal requirements.


Upcoming Events

ADA Changes Forum: Addressing changes in the American with Disabilities Act  
Thurs April 5, 2018 from 12:30-1:30pm in ESJ 1202



Dara Baldwin, Senior Public Policy Analyst for the National Disability Rights Network
Paul Jaeger, Professor in the College of Information Studies/Co-Chair of PCDI
Dr. JoEllen Barnhart, Lecturer, Oral Communication at UMD
D'Arcee Neal, graduate student at UMD and former Diversity/Inclusion Fed. employee
Erin Prangerly, Director of Public Policy for National Association on Councils on Developmental Disabilities


Coming soon

October 2018 - Disability Awareness Month

PCDI Awards Ceremony

Disability Summit


For sign language interpretation, please contact the ADS Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Coordinator, Cassandra Lytle at 301.314.7209 or at least 2 weeks prior to the listed event.


For more information or to request additional accommodations, please contact ADS AT Lab Coordinator Dan Newsome at: 301.314.7958 or



  • 2017