Indiana Institute on Disability and Community Annual Report for 2018
Friends and Colleagues:
The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community (IIDC) has long been a leader in bringing disability-related research to practice across our Indiana communities. Today, more than ever, these talents are needed to develop and expand inclusive practices and improve complex systems. The focus of our work, per our federal mandate as a University Center for Excellence (UCE), has always been and continues to be cross-lifespan. Last year marked a turning point for the IIDC – in both how we envision our work internally and how we respond to challenges externally. In the fall of 2017, the Institute began its engagement in an ongoing strategic planning and asset mapping process. Emerging from this effort is a new framework (see page five of the annual report) from which we, as a collective, seek to organize our work to solve some of the biggest issues facing people with disabilities in Indiana and beyond.
We know that everybody, including people with disabilities, face inflection points in life – trajectory setting time periods that can change one’s future for the better or worse. What is not clear are the antecedents for later life outcomes. For example, does inclusive prekindergarten lead to inclusive schooling and employment later in life? Or, does access to college and a career lead to a better retirement? These complex stories, and many more, remain untold. As a UCE, it is our responsibility to understand these inflection points and how they affect people throughout their lives. It is also our responsibility to develop and implement new, cross-lifespan strategies that can bend trajectories toward a more desirable life.
This evolution of the IIDC is a natural response to our exceedingly complex and interconnected environment, where isolated solutions result in limited impact. Additionally, we know that to be successful, we must maximize our strengths and work collaboratively, within and outside of the Institute and Indiana University. This annual report is a reflective snapshot of our work for 2017-18. For a more comprehensive exploration of our research to practice activities, please visit our website. I invite you to join us as we break new ground.
Derek Nord, Ph.D.Director