Inaugural Disability Studies Award
The University of Winnipeg has awarded its inaugural Disability Studies Scholarship to Evan Wicklund. Wicklund is in his final year of study in the UWinnipeg disability studies program that is a joint degree program with Red River College (RRC) and will be the first student to complete the program* with an honours degree. This program was first established in 2010.
Wicklund has worked in several sub-sectors of the disability field over the past number of years and believes that the critical engagement that occurs in the disability studies program is vital to understanding alternatives to ‘disability’ as a bio-medical phenomenon.
“If we contextualize ‘disability’ through rights, social constructionist, or intersectional frameworks, we will be afforded the opportunity to think about disability in new and imaginative ways,” explains Wicklund. “As someone engaged with community organizations as well as the academy, I advocate for disability studies because it acknowledges the value of critical thinking and reflexivity, while maintaining the fundamental values of diversity and human rights.”
During this past year, Wicklund recently presented his work at an international conference, and has a paper accepted at the Canadian Disability Studies Association annual meeting in Toronto the spring. In addition to his studies, Wicklund works at the Canadian Centre for Disability Studies, where he was hired after completing his disability studies practicum there.
“Evan is an awesome student and we’re thrilled that he’s the inaugural winner of our newly-established award,” shared Dr. Michelle Owen (Women and Gender Studies, and Disability Studies Coordinator, and co-founder of the scholarship). “We have no doubt that he will accomplish great things in the future!”
Drs. Pauline Greenhill (WGS) and Michelle Owen (WGS and DS Coordinator) established the new Disability Studies Award for students in the program who demonstrate academic excellence and community involvement. This scholarship will be awarded annually to a student who has completed at least 30 credit hours and is majoring in disability studies. Preference will be given to a student who self-identifies as having a disability or chronic illness and has made a contribution to the community ($500).
Disability Studies is an interdisciplinary program that offers Bachelor of Arts (three-year, four-year, and honours level) The focus of the this program at the University of Winnipeg is the critical analysis of disability in society. This includes the study of disability as a social, cultural, historical, and political construction. Students are encouraged to examine a wide range of topics such as human rights, ethics, social movements, theory, family, sexuality, employment, socialization, aging, education, international development, and gender issues.
*Disability Studies was established as a joint program with Red River College in 2010. This program came about as a result of the work of community activists and scholars who recognized the need for a Bachelor’s program in disability studies at UWinnipeg. Prior to 2010 there was a diploma program at RRC and a Master’s at the University of Winnipeg, but no way for students in the province to proceed from one to another.