Jun 23, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Global Inclusion and Social Development

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Dean William Kiernan, PhD, MBA, Boston College

  • employment policy and practices for people with disabilities
  • workforce development for people with disabilities
  • transition from high school to adult life for students with disabilities

Associate Dean Felicia Wilczenski, EdD, University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • inclusive education
  • universal design for learning
  • service learning
  • transition from school to work for people with disabilities

Assistant Dean Sheila Fesko, PhD, Boston College

  • workforce development system
  • inclusive health care
  • employment for people with disabilities
  • education of rehabilitation counseling professionals
  • flexible workplaces and universal design


Laura Bozeman, PhD, University of Texas at Austin, College of Education

  • vision impairment and multiple disabilities
  • orientation and mobility
  • self-defense; collaboration
  • low-incidence disabilities
  • visual impairment

Dolly Daftery, PhD, Washington University

  • international development
  • political economy of development and the impact of social and economic change processes on resource-poor communities
  • impact of economic liberalization policies
  • interaction between democratization and market-led development strategies
  • issues of livelihoods, sustainability, identity, institutional change, democracy and natural resource governance
  • social welfare policy and research methods

Valerie Karr, PhD, Columbia University

  • social innovation
  • international disability rights advocacy, social enterprise
  • youth inclusion movements
  • families and culture
  • program development for autism spectrum disorder

Robert McCulley, MEd, Boston College

  • vision studies and visual impairments
  • vision specialist training
  • distance education
  • fundraising and community engagement
  • program development and administration

Gillian MacNaughton, JD, DPhil, University of Oxford

  • international economic and social rights
  • the right to health, equality, and nondiscrimination
  • human rights impact assessment and indicators

Maria Paiewonsky, EdD, University of Massachusetts Boston

  • transition from high school to adult life
  • special education
  • youth development
  • postsecondary education for people with intellectual disabilities
  • participatory action research

Dimity Peter, PhD, Syracuse University

  • employment for people with disabilities
  • education of rehabilitation counseling professionals
  • education of direct-care workers supporting people with disabilities
  • empowerment and societal participation of people with disabilities
  • advocacy and social justice issues for people with disabilities
  • advocacy and inclusion for people who are frail and elderly

James L. Soldner, PhD, Southern Illinois University

  • applications of behavior analysis to rehabilitation
  • evidence-based practice in rehabilitation
  • rehabilitation administration and leadership
  • brain injury rehabilitation
  • scholarship of teaching and learning

Sindiso Mnisi Weeks, LLB, DPhil, University of Oxford

  • law and society
  • governance and participatory democracy
  • indigenous rights
  • gender and women’s rights
  • economic, social, and cultural rights
  • human security and development
  • informal justice and community-based conflict management
  • colonial–postcolonial African history
  • participatory action research

The Programs

The School for Global Inclusion and Social Development (SGISD) offers two programs of graduate study, leading to the doctor of philosophy (PhD) and master of arts (MA) degree in global inclusion and social development, respectively. Program faculty are nationally and internationally recognized for their expertise and research in the field of inclusion. The programs explore the intersection of social development and inclusion internationally from a transdisciplinary perspective. They examine the reasons that populations are excluded on the basis of, for example, age, sexual orientation, disability, gender, demographics, and race, and the challenges that often result, including poverty and a lack of access to education, employment, health, and wellness.

In addition to core coursework and other requirements, students in both the PhD and MA programs can select an area of concentration on which to focus their academic, professional, and research pursuits within the field of the global study of inclusion. PhD students who have completed a master’s degree can elect the post-master’s PhD track which is a 52-credit program and does require the completion of a concentration.

Concentrations and Elective Coursework: PhD and MA

Each concentration track comprises five classes for a total of 15 credits. The tracks include rehabilitation counseling, transition leadership, gerontology, and vision studies. Students who choose the rehabilitation counseling track learn to help people who face barriers to employment, including veterans and people with disabilities, to find fulfilling work. Students who elect the transition leadership track train to work with people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups as they attend college, enter the workforce, or adjust to living independently. A gerontology concentration will prepare a student to work on issues facing individuals who are aging. Students who opt for the vision studies track develop best practices in order to advocate for and support individuals who have low vision so that they may thrive in their daily lives and in their communities worldwide.

For students who want to create a customized concentration, they can develop an individualized plan of study of five courses. This option is for those with specific interests not fully addressed within existing concentrations but who require an important and relevant area of study within global inclusion and social development studies. Students must provide a detailed outline of the plan of study they wish to pursue and its connection to SGISD’s mission.



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