The Research and Training Center on Community Living

The Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) has operated at the University of Minnesota since 1976. During this time, it has made many substantial contributions that have positively affected the field and the lives of people with disabilities by developing effective, research-based interventions, and creating new knowledge that has influenced practices and policies for increasing community living and participation for people with disabilities. The mission of the RTC/CL has long been to support high-quality lives of people with disabilities through research, training, and dissemination. Community living and participation for people with disabilities is influenced by many factors, including the availability and competence of individuals who provide services necessary to support people with disabilities as participating members of their communities. The RTC/CL is housed within the Institute on Community Integration, a department within the University of Minnesota’s College of the Education and Human Development, and funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The staff and partners of RTC/CL are highly productive and well-respected in their fields. This is exemplified by: highly productive researchers, trainers, evaluators, and knowledge translators; expansive and effective training and technical assistance expertise and approaches; a proven record of dissemination of research outcomes in peer-reviewed publications and highly used translation products targeting non-research audiences; robust collaborative relationships with government, provider, and advocacy agencies; a record of successful management of complex development, research, and dissemination efforts; and substantial institutional resource support.

Over the past five years, the RTC/CL has conducted the following research studies:

  1. National Core Indicators (NCI) Study of Community Living Outcomes.
  2. Targeted National Studies and Analyses of Community Long-Term Supports and Services for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Families.
  3. Effects of a Statewide Online Training Intervention Scale-Up on the Direct Support Professional Workforce and Outcomes for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  4. Competency-Based Training Interventions for DSPs who Provide in Family Home Settings to Improve Outcomes for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  5. A National Study of the Effects, Practices, and Innovations in Employment Supports for Adults and Transition-Age Youth.
  6. Supporting Self-Determination of Adults and Transition-Age Youth within the Family Context.
  7. The Effectiveness of Two Approaches to Expand the Social Inclusion of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Living with Families.
  8. Identifying the Critical Elements Associated with High Fidelity Adoption of Programs that Support and Enhanced Quality of Life for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement

Co-directed by Brian Abery and Renáta Tichá, the Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement (RTC/OM) evaluates measures focused on the outcomes experienced by people with disabilities as well as the quality of services and supports they receive. Despite its importance, the quality of home and community-based services (HCBS) has historically been difficult to define and even more difficult to measure. Through working with researchers, measure developers, policymakers, and advocates, the Research and Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement (RTC/OM) is committed to:

  1. Validating and refining a national framework of HCBS outcomes for persons with disabilities (National Quality Forum).
  2. Implementing the framework to refine and develop measures to assess the impact of HCBS on the lives of people with disabilities in the community.
  3. Training the next generation of researchers who will work in the field of HCBS measurement development.
  4. Proving extensive technical assistance to NIDILRR & ACL grantees, states, and other organizations on the selection and development of HCBS related measures.

During its initial five-year cycle, the RTC/OM is conducting work in six related phases. Each phase targets an important aspect of quality measurement, including social validation of the National Quality Forum (NQF) framework, measure development and validation, developing a database of measures, examining implementation practices of data collection programs, and identifying important risk adjusters. One of the Center’s key products will be a set of measures submitted for endorsement by the NQF. The RTC/OM is also conducting a gap analysis of current HCBS measures and the NQF's HCBS Outcome Measurement Framework, looking at psychometric properties of measurements and their person-centeredness and the extent to which current measures possess the properties that are consistent or conform with NIDILRR/ACL and NQF requirements

Partners of the Institute on Community Integration on the RTC/OM include Temple University, the University of California–San Francisco, Ohio State University, and the National Council on Aging.

Visit rtcom.umn.edu for more information

National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)

The National Center on Educational Outcomes, a center within ICI, provides national leadership in monitoring educational results for all students, including those with disabilities and English learners. Funded by federal, state and other organizations, NCEO produces reports, publications, online tools and other data and training on a wide range of topics related to student performance. NCEO is directed by Sheryl Lazarus

From its inception in 1990 as a research and technical assistance center, NCEO has been a voice for students with disabilities who historically had been mostly excluded from large-scale measures of academic achievement. Since then, its work has ensured that academic assessments are developed from the start with the success of all students in mind.

This work includes advocating for testing access, accommodations, and reporting for students with disabilities, English learners and English learners with disabilities. It includes accessibility in formative and summative assessments in the classroom, as well as on large-scale, comprehensive exams. Reporting results of language learners and students with disabilities is imperative because they influence accountability systems in the same way they do for other students.

These values are evident in federal and state legislation and regulations that have driven the discussion on inclusion since the early 1990s. 

Visit nceo.info for more information.

TIES Center

Increasing Time, Instructional effectiveness, Engagement, and state Support for inclusive practices for students with significant cognitive disabilities is a collaboration led by NCEO that includes the Arizona Department of Education, CAST, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and University of North Carolina-Greensboro. The TIES Center is directed by Sheryl Lazarus and Terri Vandercook. 

The purpose of the TIES Center is to create sustainable changes in school, district and state-level educational systems that foster the full engagement of students with significant cognitive disabilities in the same instructional and social activities as their general education peers.

Working toward 5 main goals that support this vision, the TIES Center aims to:

  1. Develop professional learning communities with partner state and local education agencies.
  2. Develop coaching models for implementation of resources, inclusive practices, and communicative competence.
  3. Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of existing resources.
  4. Support parents to become partners in the practice of inclusion for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
  5. Support systems change within the leadership of state and local education agencies for the implementation of inclusive practices. 

Visit TIES Center for more information.

Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education (GRC)

The Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education is a designated Center within ICI that is also an international initiative of the College of Education and Human Development. The Center works with non-governmental organizations and national education agencies worldwide to improve education programs, practices and policies that serve people with and without disabilities across the life course. Historically, the GRC has provided culturally-responsive services for disadvantaged populations in an effort to contribute to the knowledge base of inclusive and global special education approaches. The GRC is co-directed by Renáta Tichá and Brian Abery.

The GRC evaluates inclusive education programs, trains teachers in on-site and distance-learning coursework, helps international policymakers develop sustainable and cost-effective ways to meet inclusive education goals, and collects assessment data, among other projects.

Learn more about the work of the GRC by visiting the Global Rights and Disability Inclusion program area.