CfDC Minutes — March 13, 2018

ATTENDING: Stephanie Rosen, Chair; Anna Ercoli Schnitzer; Anant Akash; Jason Apap; Sue Bade (BlueJeans); Paul Barrow; Jane Berliss-Vincent; Ethriam Brammer; Lisa Clark; Evan James Copeland; Bonnie Dede; Brad Ebenhoeh; Jeff Edelstein; Russ Ellis (BlueJeans); Jim Eng; Paul Guttman; Nabeela Jaffer; Janet Keller; Julia Kollin; Philip Larson; Kathleen Mozak-Betts; Ody Norkin; Donna Omichinsky; Jason Pinho; Renee Saulter; Yuanru Tan; Martin Warin; Brandon Werner (via BlueJeans); Liam Wiesenberger


Anna announced that the book Diversity Includes Disability will be published in print and online in April or soon after that. Bonnie and Anna wrote the book, which is a history of and personal perspectives about the Council for Disability Concerns, which has now been existent over 30 years and has had no written history to date.

Donna announced that a small grant from RERC will result in a meeting called “Health Hacks” being held at Palmer Commons over a weekend.

Fred gave an update on continuing efforts to get the Detroit Metro Airport to integrate the stops for both disabled and non-disabled users of the Michigan Flyer, and to revise their policies that makes it difficult for people with disabilities and others to use Michigan Flyer at the airport. Members of the National Federation of the Blind-Michigan and other supporters attended the last airport board meeting and then met with the interim airport administrator, and they expect to hear back by the end of March.

Stephanie said she was one of several people who recently met with associate deans from across campus to discuss issues affecting people with disabilities. The principals seem very interested in accessibility issues on campus.

Jane described progress on drafting an SPG with wording which will require that all units of the university adhere to generally accepted guidelines for accessibility of websites regardless of future changes in federal and state law.


The agenda included two topics: Applications for DEI grants related to accessibility, and a project called “BradNav” being developed in Dr. David Chesney’s engineering course to help one specific person navigate campus.

DEI Grant Applications

Stephanie described the application process for DEI grants for 2018. Stephanie encouraged people to develop grant proposals to support inclusion and accessibility for people with disabilities. Individual grants could be awarded for as much as $10,000, and the average award will be between $2,000 and $5,000. The deadline for proposals is March 30. Proposals should emphasize collaboration and innovation.

Paul said proposals should include a list of participants, and provide an attention-grabbing summary, followed by discussion of the need, details about the proposed project, a budget, and description of the team developing the proposal. A DEI source said emphasis would by on innovation and collaboration.

Stephanie invited discussion of three proposals being worked on by Council members:

  • Sue Bade suggested working on a proposal to help faculty and staff who may face issues due to disabilities. The proposal would help establish an office similar to the Services for Students with Disabilities, except serving faculty and staff rather than students.
  • Russ Ellis said he is working on a proposal that would help students and patients with disabilities get help from occupational therapists, physical therapists and others in learning to deal with winter weather and other challenges of being students at the University of Michigan. Logistics would involve the obtaining of personnel and perhaps internships in this area.
  • Stephanie and Jeff described a proposal to create a Disability Cultural Center to help students with disabilities find people with whom they share common experience and interests.

Members of the Council asked questions and offered suggestions to improve the proposals.

The BradNav Project

Dr. Chesney’s classes regularly focus on studying an individual’s special needs and tailoring technology to facilitate activities for that particular person.

A team of four student from an engineering course described their project to focus on Brad, a student with disabilities, to help him navigate around campus and avoid accessibility-related hazards. The group is developing a smart phone app based on WAZE.

The BradNav app attempts to crowd-source information about potential hazards in various routes between locations on campus. The app lets people report hazards, such as icy walkways or construction sites. It also helps the client plan routes between places while avoiding identified hazards. It’s designed to avoid the need to type words into a smart phone. It lets the client do whatever is needed just using his thumb on the device’s screen.

Closing Remarks

Members are free to continue to communicate with each other about the DEI Grant Proposal if they are interested in being part of one of the initiatives.


Selected youtube videos from David Chesney, whose students presented the BradNav project:


Next meeting will be on April 10th at noon in the Regents Conference Room, Fleming Building.

(Anna extends thanks to Jim Eng for the speedy turn-around of the minutes! The Council is always very appreciative of Jason Apap for setting up and facilitating the BlueJeans system.)

Questions/additions/corrections to: <schnitzr at>