Disability Studies Minor


Faculty in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE) and in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences teach required courses in the program. CHSE staff will provide advising to students enrolled in the program. Other faculty in the College of Education teaching in the program include the following:


Yewon Lee

Dr. Yewon Lee directs the Disability Studies (DS) minor program. Through the Disability Studies Minor Program, she aims to broaden students’ understandings of the concept of disability and facilitate connections to content and concepts within other disciplines on campus through required and elective courses. In its inaugural year, 54 students from seven colleges and 16 majors across the university joined the program. As a program director, she hopes to bring awareness to disability issues and justice and engage students to prepare and contribute to advocacy efforts. 

Former Director


Dr. Carolyn Molden Fink worked with Dr. Peter Leone to create the Disability Study Minor at UMD with the support of a Maryland Moving Forward grant, the Program in Special Education, and the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education. As DS Minor's founding director, I helped to establish student procedures and faculty support. I developed a Scholarship In Practice course, EDSP220 Disability in Community, through an Instructional Fellowship, and I serve on the SIP work group. EDSP220 includes a service-learning component where students apply principles of UDL in organizations that deal with disability broadly defined. Disability In Community is a gateway course for DS minors and an opportunity for students around campus to develop a disability lens. I am involved with Disability Awareness Month and the annual Disability Summit. I have been an advisor to disability-related efforts like Best Buddies, Alternative Breaks, Gemstone, and Independent Study majors (IVSP) in Disability Studies. 

College of Education

William Ming Liu

The reason Dr. William Liu is involved in the Disabilities Studies Minor is because disabilities touch everyone's life and it is vital to us as a community of healers, learners, and teachers that we always strive to be better. The Disability Studies Minor takes us closer to being a better society.

Dr. Bolger

Dr. Donald J. (DJ) Bolger, is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology where he directs the Laboratory for the Neurodevelopment of Reading and Language. For over 20 years, Dr. Bolger has studied reading and language achievement with typically developing children as well as those with learning disabilities, including dyslexia and autism spectrum disorder using behavioral and functional neuro imaging methods. His research also extends to the role of executive functioning and working memory in learning and the intersection of language and math development. Dr. Bolger has a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh's Learning Research and Development Center. 


Kathy Dow-Burger is a nationally-certified, Maryland State-licensed speech-language therapist and Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences.  Dow-Burger was the Co-Director of the University of Maryland Autism Research Consortium (UMARC) from 2016 - 2022, is the founder and program designer of the Social Interaction Group Network for All (SIGNA) and the UMD Teen Executive Function for Effective Cognitive Transformation (EFFECT) programs for neurodivergent young adults and teen and is also involved in several research projects as co-PI related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the intersectionality of autism and other identities. 

Dr. Katryna Andrusik

A female faculty with a short hair and wide smile.

Dr. Katryna Andrusik teaches courses in the Special Education program and Disability Studies minor in the College of Education. She serves on the Teacher Preparation Committee, the Disability Studies Minor Advisory Board, and the College of Education Undergraduate Education Committee as the Department Representative. Her research interests include teacher preparation, adolescent reading and literacy instruction, and instruction in inclusion settings. She is passionate about providing coursework and advising in the Disability Studies minor because of her experiences in public education as a teacher and administrator. Dr. Andrusik deeply believes in the value and importance of general education coursework that gives students insight into and opportunities to critically discuss topics such as ableism, disability justice, and advocacy. 

Information Science


Dr. Paul T. Jaeger, Ph.D., JD, MLS, MEd, is a Professor of the College of Information Studies and Co-Director of the Museum Scholarship and Material Culture program at the University of Maryland. He studies the impacts of law and policy on information access and accessibility, focusing on human rights and civil rights. He is the author of about 200 journal articles, book chapters, and 20 books. His research has been funded by the Institute of Museum & Library Services, the National Science Foundation, the American Library Association, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. He is Co-Editor of the journals Library Quarterly and Including Disability and Co-Chair of the Including Disability Global Summit (aka the Disability Summit). In 2014, he received the Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award. A 2019 study published in Public Library Quarterly named him one of the two most influential scholars of public library research in the past 35 years (it was a tie). His most recent books include Foundations of Information Policy, Libraries and the Global Retreat of Democracy, Foundations of Information Literacy, and Foundations of Information Law. 



 Dr. Leah Waks has extensive experience in administration, research, and teaching in Communication. Her teaching focuses on persuasion, group dynamics, leadership training, mediation, and conflict management. Her research interest is the interplay of cognitions, attitudes, and emotions in conflict creation and conflict management in organizations and groups. Promoting an understanding of the role of communication processes and culture in building trust, support, and collaboration among different groups has motivated me to get involved in the Disability Studies Minor Advisory Board. 

Cultural Center



Ana Palla, Ph.D., is a Senior IT Accessibility and UX Specialist at the Academic Technology & Innovation unit in the Division of Information Technology. Dr. Palla leads the University of Maryland’s digital accessibility efforts, which include overseeing the implementation of the UMD IT Accessibility Plan, web accessibility policy, and many services, tools, and guidelines for accessible on-campus media production, accessible e-learning tools, and procurement of accessible technology. Dr. Palla has an affiliation with the School of Public Health as a lecturer, the School of Information Sciences as a member of the Maryland Institute of Digital Accessibility and has served as co-chair for the UMD President’s Commission on Disability Issues (PDCI) for seven years where disability advocacy and community engagement was a central role of her activities.

College of Behavioral & Social Science