University of Pittsburgh
June 12, 2005

Pitt's Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology to Receive 2005 Chancellor's Affirmative Action Award

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology (RST) in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) will receive the 2005 Chancellor's Affirmative Action Award from Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg during a ceremony today at the University Senate Council meeting in 2700 William Pitt Union. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

The award is presented annually to an outstanding University program area or individual that has made a significant contribution in affirmative action. Nordenberg, in a letter to RST Chair Rory A. Cooper, wrote that this year's Chancellor's Affirmative Action Award recognizes "the many contributions the department has made to ensure that those with disabilities have the opportunity to fully participate in University life, as well as in the larger community."

The award includes a $2,500 prize that will be made in the form of a budget augmentation to RST.

The department was nominated for the award by SHRS Dean Clifford E. Brubaker. In his nomination letter, Brubaker stated that "the culture of RST serves as a model for others in how to effectively recruit, retain, educate, and employ people with disabilities."

Nordenberg noted that RST has been instrumental in launching a campus-wide initiative focusing on the inclusion of disability issues in research projects, curriculum review and development, policy studies, presentations, and social events. The department also has collaborated with Pitt's School of Nursing to establish a course on personal care assistance.

RST is internationally recognized as a premiere center of research and rehabilitation technology, the chancellor pointed out. The department and the Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation maintain "one of the most extensive and comprehensive relationships" of its kind, Nordenberg added, and RST's commitment to inclusion of people with disabilities extends beyond the University—for example, RST has established a virtual community for wheelchair users and providers:

RST faculty, staff, and students volunteer their time to a number of organizations and programs, including the Hope Network, United Cerebral Palsy, and the Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America. And, for the last decade, RST has encouraged middle school and high school students to pursue careers in science and technology.