About crsdec

Disability Studies

The CRSCEC proudly sponsors UMSL’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)/Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) Certificate Program, providing administrative leadership and student support (see ABA CERTIFICATE/BCBA).

The study of disabilities, aligned with teacher preparation and related services professional foundations, is an academic discipline in UMSL’s College of Education’s Division of Teaching and Learning, originating via coursework and clinical practice in the Special Education undergraduate-, master’s degree-, and doctoral-level programs. The study gives students opportunities to explore the culture of disability, social justice, and disability policy, as well as the complex convergence of disability with differences in race and gender, sexual orientation, age, class, and similar markers of diversity and distinction.


The Endowed Professorship and Center [CRSDEC]

In 2001, the well-known, St. Louis entrepreneur and philanthropist, E. Desmond Lee, established a professorship in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, for the study of children with disabilities, in conjunction with Variety St. Louis. Since 2008, Dr. Patricia Kopetz is the E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of Education, as well as the Director of the College’s Center for the Research and Study of Disability, Education, and Culture (CRSDEC).






Mission of the Center [CRSDEC]

Expanding traditional diversity efforts to include disability, CRSDEC provides varieties of opportunities for both students and faculty to explore the field, and encourage community awareness of historical, cultural, and political/legal dimensions of disability.

Among its many preferences, responsibilities, and functions, the hallmark of the Center is its focus on clinical experiences that encourage awareness and advocacy; evidence-based, best practice; student centered instruction; team-based problem-solving and decision-making; intensive, site-based research; and self-directed, lifelong learning.

The Center [CRSDEC] believes that its activities should reflect a clear adherence to a set of values that recognizes the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities and their families as fully participating citizens in our community and among the cultural institutions that define citizenship. While we expect these values to evolve as they respond to changing circumstances, the following vision for the Center will 

guide its planning and activities:

  • Disability is an important part of human diversity and should be valued for its contributions to life and culture;
  • Disability is central to the overall human experience, and its place in the curriculum at all levels of higher education should reflect that centrality; and
  • Persons with disabilities and their families have the right to be included in all aspects of society and all dimensions of our culture

Persons with disabilities and their families evolve and grow in all aspects of research and education that affect their quality of life and cultural participation, including those activities sponsored by the Center