Daniel Garvey to Present 'The Politics of Disability' April 19

WWU will host Daniel E. Garvey, president emeritus of Prescott College and intermittent executive dean for Semester at Sea, for "The Politics of Disability” from 4-5 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 in Miller Hall 138. 

The event is free and open to the public; for disability accommodations, please call (360) 650-3660.

Noted scholar of educational reform and social change, Garvey has spent his career focused on experiential education, especially in multi-cultural contexts; for the past 30 years, he has continued his research, teaching, and speaking while coming to terms with multiple sclerosis. While his disability is not a subject of his research or a focus of his teaching, he has had to contend with the aftereffects of being stricken with the disease and the profiling what occurs when people see the physical impact MS has had on him. Ultimately, however, he has come to view MS as anything but a limitation.

“Without trying to sound like the poster boy for disabilities, I think that having MS makes me who I am,” he said.

In his lecture, Garvey will address not the victimization of those who have disabilities but rather how his own disability has shaped his thinking. He would also like to consider the advantages for the larger community of recognizing the value differently abled people bring to our community, similar to how our own office on campus, disAbility Resources for Students, helps highlight that concept with its rendering of the word disability.

“We often give lip service to the broad notion of diversity and settle for acceptance. I would like to address the differences between helping people and groups try to fit in and being comfortable with using all the voices to co-create a culture of excellence. This starts with the recognition that people, regardless their group, are not just accepted but required,” he said. 

This viewpoint is a critical component in our campus conversations about diversity and inclusion, especially in the context of our current collaboration on the creation of a new strategic plan, to ensure that we are not only welcoming of diversity and creating a space where everyone feels “safe and valued,” but recognizing our diversity and inclusivity as a strength.  

While on campus, Garvey will also share his experience in other arenas related to his research and his many years actively participating in experiential learning. He will begin the day speaking to the Chair Leadership group, facilitated by Mick Cunningham and Julia Sapin, about helping to further individual, departmental, and administrative goals from that linchpin position between students, staff, faculty and administration. He will also conduct an in-service session with the staff of Education Abroad within WWU’s Institute for Global Engagement, discussing the Semester at Sea program as another model for meaningful cross-cultural experience. Additionally he will address health, safety, and emergency response in faculty-led programs in a roundtable discussion to be held Thursday April 19, 1:30-2:30, MH 258—all Global Learning Program faculty leaders are welcomed to attend.

All of Garvey’s activities on campus help support Western’s increasing awareness of the importance of — or, as Garvey would say, the necessity of — increasing inclusivity and an understanding of its value on our campus and through global learning experiences.

This event is sponsored by DisAbility Services, the Diversity Fund, the Graduate School, the Institute for Global Engagement, Fairhaven College, the College of Fine and Performing Arts, College of Business and Economics, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, Woodring College of Education, and Western Libraries.

For more information, contact Julia Sapin, Department of Art and Art History, at (360) 650-3670, or at Julia.Sapin@wwu.edu.