Center on Disability Studies.
Promoting Diverse Abilities
Across the Lifespan

About CDS

The Center on Disability Studies (CDS), College of Education, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa is an Organized Research Unit recognized by the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents. It is also in its 35th year as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), authorized under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act).  As one of the 67 UCEDDs, it continues its commitment to support people with disabilities and their families through research, training, and demonstration activities, and disseminating the results of its work to community members, professionals, students, and policymakers.
CDS is a valued partner with state and regional organizations and responds to their needs for technical assistance. CDS designs and offers many training programs; provides community-based demonstrations to build local capacity to improve services to individuals with disabilities; and conducts numerous statewide, national, and international dissemination activities. 

Screenshot of 25 CDS employees in a Zoom meeting

CDS Highlights

September 2021

Make Art, Change Lives!

Once a month, the CDS eNewsletter will feature a local artist from the Make Art, Change Lives! artist program. We look forward to highlighting the program’s goal to create and nurture artists with developmental disabilities, promote inclusive participation of disabled artists in public artmaking events. Since 2018, Make Art, Change Lives! has hosts art making events. Funding is provided by the Hawaiʻi State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Self-Advocacy Advisory Council (SAAC), and the Hawaiʻi People’s Fund, Kim Coco Iwamoto fund for social justice of the Iwamoto Family Foundation.

Abstract hearts using colored markers
Hi my name is Jamey Burkett I am the Artist, and this is my art that I made by myself. The story behind my art is that the colors represent who we are, and in life always push yourself to be better and never give up and stay positive and stay strong.
Black and white headshot of Jamey Burkett
Jamey Burkett

Review of Disability Studies Journal Pac Rim Conference Proceedings, v17, i3

We are delighted to be publishing the inaugural issue of Pacific Rim Conference Proceedings in the upcoming edition of Review of Disability Studies [RDS]. The special issue (the first such issue of RDS) will be an opportunity to showcase some of the many exciting and cutting edge research that was shared in Pac Rim 2021. It also provides CDS a chance to help generate increasing global awareness of Pac Rim 2022 as a premier international summit for exploration of disability and diversity issues.

Proudly Introducing Project Hōkūlani to the Center on Disability Studies’ ʻOhana

Project Hōkūlani’s overarching goal is to support Native Hawaiian high school students to enter into postsecondary science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields through a culturally responsive, strength- and work-based enrichment program. The project’s 5-component program are:

  • Academic Enrichment in Science – Introduction to science through hands-on activities.
  • Mentoring – Explore the connection between science and Native Hawaiian culture and practices, and STEM careers.
  • College Transition Support – Learn more about college, the application process, where to go to get support and college campus a tour.
  • Internships – Students will gain first-hand and real-world experience working with a local science, technology or engineering organization or laboratory.
  • ʻOhana Gatherings – Parents participate in monthly ‘ohana gatherings, culture-based science hands-on activities, strategies to help children learn science at home, and information and resources related to college.

Interested in Learning More? View our September 2021 Newsletter

An instructor modeling a process for students.

Disability Studies

CDS offers a graduate-level certificate in Disability and Diversity as well as undergraduate courses.

Student at math camp doing a hands on activity.

Core Activities

CDS conducts a wide range of education, research, and service activities in collaboration with other disciplines. 

Two CDS personnel presenting at the Pac Rim Conference

Pacific Rim Conference

CDS hosts the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability & Diversity. Join us for 2022: February 28 – March 1. 

Featured Projects

With over 15 ongoing grants and contracts, learn more about these highlighted projects. 

Ulu A‘e Transitions a tree within the center of a target.
Current Project

Ulu A‘e Transitions

Ulu A‘e Transitions Project Dates: 2021 – 2024 Funded by: USDOE Native Hawaiian Education Program About Ulu A‘e Transitions is a Native Hawaiian Education grant project

Hawaii Statewide Family Engagement Center
Current Project

Hawaii Statewide Family Engagement Center

Hawai’i Statewide Family Engagement Center Project Dates: 2018 – 2023 Funded by: The US Department of Education – Office of Elementary and Secondary Education About

Jobs Now
Current Project

Jobs Now Partnership

Jobs Now Partnership Project Dates: 2016 – 2021 Funded by: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living About JNP is developing

BEAM - Be A Mathematician
Current Project

BE A Mathematician (BEAM)

BE A Mathematician (BEAM) Project Dates: 2017 – 2022 Funded by: US Department of Education, Gifted and Talented Education Program About The goal of the

Graphic of institution with palm tree to show higher education
Current Project

Postsecondary Supports Project

Postsecondary Supports Project Project Dates: 2010 – 2025 Funded by: US Department of Education; Hawai‘i Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; Hawai‘i Developmental Disabilities Division About The

Recent Newsletters

Access project updates, our disability and diversity calendar, disability studies course information, and more! 

CDS Core Activities

CDS conducts a wide range of education, research, and service activities in collaboration with other disciplines.

1. Education, Interdisciplinary Training, and Technical Assistance

CDS offers interdisciplinary pre-service and in-service education and training, technical assistance and education activities, and disseminates data and research-based practices within the field of disability and diversity studies. Projects and activities are responsive to the personnel development needs identified by health, education, and human service agencies providing a wide range of services to people with disabilities and their families in Hawai‘i, the Pacific Region, and the nation. All projects and activities promote consumer and family involvement, community inclusion, self-determination, and systems improvement through interdisciplinary university and community partnerships to improve future choices.

2. Community and University Service

The CDS is committed to developing resources to expand and improve services for persons with disabilities so self-determination will be a realistic option in Hawai‘i, the Pacific Region, and the United States mainland. To achieve this purpose, emphasis is placed on training, consulting, and technical assistance to develop, support, and sustain community-based services. The CDS works closely with other organizations serving persons with disabilities, advocacy groups, and self-advocates within the community to develop grants and other resources to expand opportunities across the life span of people with disabilities. The CDS faculty and staff provide consultation to departments and agencies locally and regionally by serving on national, regional, state and local committees, workgroups and task forces.

3. Research and Evaluation

The CDS focuses its activities to promote consumer and family involvement, community inclusion, self-determination, and systems improvement through research, dissemination, and evaluation agendas that respond to local and national initiatives. Research-based practices are an important part of program improvement and systems-change projects and are conducted in partnership with consumers, self-advocates, and federal and state agencies. Research activities include controlled interventions, longitudinal studies, participatory action research, and evaluation strategies that assess the implementation of values-based practices.