Two West Virginia University units have joined forces to offer a certificate program in the field of disability studies for undergraduate and graduate students.

Developed by West Virginias only federally recognized Center for Excellence in Disabilities (WVUCED) and the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences in WVU s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, the Certificate in Disability Studies prepares students to cope with the complex economic and social issues related to disabilities by learning directly from persons with disabilities and their families.

“Through the certificate program, students collaborate with and learn from experts in the disability arena, including pediatric neurologists, geneticists, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, special education leaders, social workers, physical and occupational therapists and others,”said Mary Ellen Zeppuhar, assistant director for education and community support of the WVUCED .

“Students will have the opportunity to gain leadership and management skills that prepare them to enter the workforce with increased professional independence,”said Jan Yeager, director of the Division of Family and Consumer Sciences.”The certificate program exposes students to social justice issues, concerns unique to Appalachia, principles of practice and cultural diversity while developing their expertise in rural practice environments.”

As part of the program, students will have the opportunity to observe clinics that serve those with disabilities and their families.

At the undergraduate level, the program consists of 19 credit hours, divided into core courses, electives from the students major course of study and a capstone experience. At the graduate level, the program consists of 15 credit hours, divided into mandatory interdisciplinary courses, major electives, a capstone experience and completion of 30 hours of volunteer service.