This September, nineteen higher education professionals from
five different Egyptian public universities and officials from the Egyptian
Ministry of Education will travel to Missoula to learn about how to ensure
equal access to higher education for students with disabilities. The study tour
is being hosted by the University of Montana’s Dr. Kaitlin Fertaly, RTC:Rural
Research Associate, Dr. Anna-Margaret Goldman, Director of MonTECH,
Amy Capolupo, Disability
Services for Students Director, and the University of Colorado Boulder (CU).
Participants start their tour at the University of Montana
in Missoula, MT, and then will travel to the University of Colorado, Boulder. They
will also visit two community colleges, Flathead Valley Community College in
Kalispell, MT and Aims
Community College in Greeley, CO.
“During their 10 days in the U.S., Egyptian university staff and leaders will learn how the University of Montana and the University of Colorado structure and administer their Disability Support Services program,” said Fertaly. “The goal is for participants to be better equipped with knowledge about university policies that promote inclusion and strategies for overcoming barriers to access.”
Over the past semester, RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen worked with University of Montana (UM) undergraduate Nelson Weaver on his senior capstone project about the effects of loneliness on the aging population. Weaver’s poster presentation won a best presentation award at UM’s Conference of Undergraduate Research. He graduated in May 2018 with a major in psychology and a minor in communication studies.
Weaver contacted Ipsen about his interest in psychology and well-being of those experiencing mental and physical impairments and asked about possible capstone research opportunities. “This inquiry came at the perfect time,” said Ipsen. “I was juggling lots of projects, but wanted to make headway on a grant proposal idea focused on aging and health impacts of loneliness. Nelson was the perfect fit.”
Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director, and Erin Flores,
a former sociology undergraduate researcher at the University of Montana who
graduated in 2018, recently co-authored a book chapter on the accessibility of
rural community events. The chapter, titled “Disability and rural events: The cultural reproduction of inclusion and
exclusion” is in Marginalisation and Events, which
was published in January 2019 by Routledge.
“Rural community events are a time when community members
are able to see how they are part of something bigger than their own individual
experience,” said Sage. “Seeing friends and family and participating in
activities that promote community identity helps sustain community and
From left to right, Bonnie Kelly, Bronwyn Troutman, Lillie Greiman, and Andrew Myers presenting as part of DiverseU 2018.
Rural Institute researchers and RTC:Rural project directors Lillie Greiman and Andrew Myers, along with community partners Bronwyn Troutman, Community Living Specialist, and Bonnie Kelly, Peer Advocate, from Summit Independent Living Center in Missoula co-presented a panel at the University of Montana as part of the DiverseU symposium. Their presentation was titled “Disability and the Socio-Political Environment.”
DiverseU is the University of Montana’s annual campus-wide diversity symposium. It is open to university students, staff, and community members, and features presentations, art exhibits, and guided discussions over the course of two days. DiverseU seeks to, “…explore the complexities of human experience, promote understanding, and create community through the practice of civil discourse,” according to the DiverseU website page. Continue reading →
Following an invitation from Dr. Christiane von Reichert, a professor of Geography at UM, Dr. Cerf gave presentations on restricted business, demographic, and health data that can only be viewed at Federal Statistical Research Data Centers (RDCs) located in 29 locations throughout the country. Dr. von Reichert is an RTC:Rural research partner who is working with Dr. Cerf on a proposal to access restricted census data so she can further her research on disability at the household level. Continue reading →
RTC:Rural, along with the University of Montana (UM) Department of Geography and the UM Faculty Development Office, is pleased to sponsor a workshop series for the UM research community on accessing restricted federal statistical research data. Funding has been provided by the Office of the Vice-President for Research and Creative Scholarship. Dr. Ben Cerf, a Census Bureau research economist and the administrator of the Northwest Federal Statistical Research Data Center at the University of Washington in Seattle, will present the workshops. The workshops will be held on October 17, 2018, at the University of Montana.
Dr. Christiane von Reichert.
Dr. Christiane von Reichert, professor of Geography at UM and an RTC:Rural research partner, was instrumental in bringing Dr. Cerf to campus. von Reichert has been in communication with Dr. Cerf about seeking access to restricted data to examine whether or not urban-rural migration is a factor contributing to higher rural than urban disability rates. Continue reading →
The University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a five-year, $4.3 million grant to support its Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural). The grant was awarded by the National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, and will be led by Dr. Catherine Ipsen, the project’s principal investigator. The award continues 30 years of RTC:Rural research and training to improve the lives of rural people with disabilities.
RTC:Rural staff pose for a picture at UM. Front row (left to right): Tannis Hargrove, Lillie Greiman, Justice Ender. Back row (left to right): Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Andrew Myers, Lauren Smith, Maggie Lawrence, Tracy Boehm Barrett. Not pictured: Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Dr. Meg Traci, Dr. Rayna Sage, and Dr. Bryce Ward.
“The opportunity to build on our past work and continue to conduct applied research with our stakeholders from the disability community is a great honor,” said Ipsen.
RTC:Rural research will address barriers identified by rural people with disabilities in the areas of health, community living, and employment. These barriers are often related to the limited resources available in rural environments. “Our team of researchers and knowledge translation staff have put together a portfolio of projects and activities that are responsive to, and inclusive of, people with disabilities and those who serve them,” said Tracy Boehm Barrett, RTC:Rural Director of Knowledge Translation. Continue reading →
Dr. Rayna Sage presenting at a rural-focused workshop in May 2017.
In the Spring 2018 semester, RTC:Rural Research Associate Dr. Rayna Sage, who is also an adjunct instructor in the Sociology department at the University of Montana (UM), taught a graduate-level seminar called “Special Topics in Rural Disability and Health.”
The main course objectives were for students to build important writing skills they can take into their academic and professional lives, primarily through learning how to conduct rapid literature reviews. This involves identifying key pieces of literature related to a specific topic, and then quickly reviewing and organizing the literature for summary. Continue reading →
RTC:Rural has a long history of engaging and mentoring students, and after graduation many of these students continue in research. No matter what career path they follow, our students take with them knowledge of the disability research field and awareness of disability issues, perspectives that are valuable for all fields of study.
Most recently, ten University of Montana students have been involved in the Healthy Community Living (HCL) project, creating an online multimedia curriculum that will help people with disabilities gain life skills and learn how to set and reach healthy life goals. These students come from a wide range of disciplines, including the School of Media Arts, psychology, community health sciences, and law. Continue reading →