FYI, the Institute on Community Integration Staff Newsletter

September 2013

ICI Kickoff Celebrates Culture and Disability on October 10

“Culture, Disability, and Us” is the theme of the 2013 Institute on Community Integration (ICI) Fall Kickoff, which will be held on Thursday, October 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University’s McNamara Alumni Center. “The Kickoff is an important way for all of us who work at ICI to connect with colleagues we don’t necessarily see on a daily basis, learn more about what’s going on across ICI, and enjoy fun and good food,” says ICI director David R. Johnson. “I’d encourage everyone in ICI to set aside this time and plan to attend.”

This year’s Kickoff will be held in the A.I. Johnson Great Room at the McNamara Center and will explore culture in its broader sense. “In addition to such traditional dimensions of culture as ethnicity and language, we will focus on the culture of disability, race, family, gender, sexual orientation, age, and other cultural aspects,” says Vitaliy Shyyan, who will lead that exploration as part of the morning agenda. “Let us celebrate our many cultures in our multicultural organization!”

Details are still being finalized by the Kickoff Committee, comprised of Vitaliy, Connie Burkhart, Laurene Christensen, Melissa Critchley, Barb Kleist, Derek Nord, Amanda Ryan, Joe Timmons, and Mia Vang, but the agenda so far includes the following:

  • Joe Timmons as the MC for the event.

  • Comments by David R. Johnson.

  • Presentation by Amy Hewitt on the “Do Children of Somali Descent Have Higher ASD Prevalence?” study.

  • Presentation by Derek Nord on the “Putting Faith to Work” project.

  • Presentation by NCEO staff on the “Improving the Validity of Assessment Results for English Language Learners with Disabilities (IVARED)” and the “Consequential Validity Related to the AZELLA Kindergarten Placement Test” projects.

  • Presentation by Carol Ely about the renewed Black Faculty and Staff Association.

  • Prizes.

  • Breakfast (10-10:30 a.m.) and lunch (12-1 p.m.) catered by D’Amico’s.

  • Poster presentations by staff.

  • Awards and recognitions.

“Evaluations of the Kickoff are always very positive,” says Kickoff Committee Chair Connie Burkhart. “It’s been popular and well-attended, and we expect the same this year.”

E-mail invitations for the Kickoff will be sent soon. The ICI program area (Early Childhood, School Age, Transition, and Adult and Community Living) with the most attendees will win a pizza party.

The Kickoff is also a great opportunity for collaborators and friends of ICI from the community and other parts of the University to gather with Institute staff and learn more about its latest work. Space is limited, and staff must register any guests by September 18 (see the e-mail sent to ICI staff on September 11).

FFI, please contact Connie at or (612) 626-8675.