Rehabilitation and Disability Studies
With changing demography, emerging disabling conditions, returning veterans, and enhanced longevity due to medical advances, the prevalence of disabilities is estimated to increase geometrically. Nationally, there is an acute shortage of qualified rehabilitation counselors of culturally diverse backgrounds to serve this population.
Therefore, the mission of the Department of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies is to educate and train students at the baccalaureate and master's levels to meet the qualified personnel needs of the profession of rehabilitation. This mission is achieved through various rehabilitation education, research, capacity building, and other programmatic activities.
The undergraduate program in Rehabilitation Services and the graduate program in Rehabilitation Counseling began in 1983 under the Consent Decree. The undergraduate program is accredited by the Committee on Undergraduate Education of the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) and the Graduate Program is accredited by CORE.
The graduate program in Rehabilitation Counseling offers specializations in three significant areas in rehabilitation: Assistive Technology (AT), Rehabilitation of Ethnic Minorities (REM), and Vocational Evaluation and Work Adjustment (VEWA). In 2004, Rehabilitation Counseling Online, a distance education component was added to address the Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) needs of state-federal rehabilitation agencies. These academic programs offer scholarships, funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), U. S. Department of Education, to qualified individuals who are U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents. The scholarship covers tuition, books, monthly stipends, and partial travel to conferences. Scholarships vary from $6,000 to $19,000 per year. In addition, graduate assistantships are available on competitive basis.
Since 1996, Rehabilitation Capacity Building Project for Underrepresented Populations (RCBP-UP) funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration, has been assisting the faculty members of minority institutions of higher education in developing rehabilitation education programs and professionals of American Indian Tribes to establish American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Programs. In collaboration with other capacity building projects, RCBP-UP conducts grant writing and technical assistance workshops; and face-to-face and online mentoring in developing grant proposals, obtaining funding, and managing grants.
The Rehabilitation Research Institute for Underrepresented Populations (RRIUP), a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP), was established in 2003 with funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), U.S. Department of Education. The institute conducts research that enhances employment outcome of people with significant disabilities. It also offers grant writing and technical assistance, summer research institute, and long-term mentoring services.
The Minority-Disability (MIND) Alliance for Students with Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is being implemented as a sub-contract from Hunter College – City University of New York funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The MIND Alliance Project, established in 2008, is designed to address a national need for improving participation of underrepresented professionals with disabilities in twenty two science disciplines. The project encourages high school and undergraduate students with disabilities to be involved in STEM and pursue graduate education and careers in STEM. The project offers summer institutes for high school students, fall and spring enrichment institutes for college students, mentoring, tutoring, disability awareness activities, career assessment/ exploration, career guidance, job readiness skills training, and field trips.
All activities of the department are student centered. Besides, academic excellence, the students are involved in social and community service activities through Southern University Students Rehabilitation Association (SUSRA) and Sigma Upsilon Chi Chapter of the Chi Sigma Iota, Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International. The diverse body of students, faculty, and staff possesses unique strength and diligence in building an academic ambiance conducive to all. The graduates are employed across the nation in public, private, non-profit agencies, community rehabilitation programs and universities.
The faculty outreaches minority institutions of higher education, provides training and conduct research encompassing a vast territory from, Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), Guam, American Samoa, Alaska, Hawaii, 48 contiguous states to Puerto Rico. They engage in scholarly research and publications with a strong focus on mentoring of students and entry level faculty. Also, the faculty serves on national and international professional organizations and is often invited to consult with international entities.
I urge you to visit our website which contains valuable and timely information on scholarship, education, professional development, research, dissemination, mentoring and capacity building that can assist in the development of a successful career in rehabilitation.
Madan M. Kundu, Ph.D., FNRCA, CRC, NCC, LRC
Chair and Professor