Purpose and Mission

Established in 1986, the President’s Commission on Disability Issues is responsible for advising the President on issues of concern to people with disabilities and bringing awareness to the campus community on disability and equal access issues. The Commission investigates and studies these issues as part of the University’s commitment to the full participation of all members of its community in the educational, cultural, and social life of the campus. Its mission is to provide programs, advocacy, recommendations, and resources that will help the University create a respectful, inclusive, and universally accessible environment for people with disabilities. The Commission works collaboratively with other UMD departments and units that support community members with disabilities including but not limited to the ADA/504 Coordinator, and Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS). We are part of a larger disability support network and complement other resources.

PCDI fulfills an important leadership role in advancing the goals of the University’s Strategic Plan for Diversity and Inclusion and in ensuring proactive compliance with federal legal requirements.

What Do We Do?

The Commission meets monthly, and members represent a variety of campus units that may interact with or impact individuals with disabilities. Commission members, including the Student Advisory Council (PCDI SAC), can raise issues they have become aware of during these meetings as well as receive updates from service providers.

Since its inception, PCDI has been involved in numerous scholarly, advocacy, and awareness-raising activities. We led the creation of the UMD Accessibility Hub, now Accessibility, to consolidate information and resources for University community members and visitors with disabilities. Continuing activities include:

Programming, Training, and Outreach

Building a Disability Community

  • Partner in building the UMD Cultural Center for Students with Disabilities

  • Manage disability community listserv, UMD-Disability@umd.edu.

  • Provide “listening sessions” on the climate for University community members with disabilities.

  • Represent the disability community in different campus-wide groups (e.g. search committees, advisory committees, task forces, strategic planning initiatives, and others). 

Awards