Understanding Diversity

Full Course Title: 
Human Exceptionality: Understanding Diversity in the 21st Century
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
127: TR 12:30 - 1:45 pm
Fall 2016

This course will use self-reflection to critically review issues related to our outlook on others, especially on individuals who may be perceived as different due to their disabilities. Disadvantaged individuals inhabit a sometimes intolerant world in which success and acceptance are defined in strict terms, creating a mold into which they areexpected to fit and making life harder for them.  No matter the eventual profession each of you get, it is important to understand the rights and privilegeseveryone is entitled to, and to understand our responsibilities--as members of families, educational institutions, community organizations, and our professions—for ensuring that everyone enjoys the same rights and privileges.  This course examines the transformations in understanding the rights of the individuals with disabilities in the United States and beyond.   Beginning with the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Act(IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 Vocational Rehabilitation Act, UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Covenants on Human Rights and moving on to examine the impact of differences in socioeconomic circumstances, culture, gender, nationality, faith, developmental characteristics on how disability and individuals with disabilities are viewed, to trace the struggles of and for people with diverse abilities in educational systems, the workplace, and the larger culture.


Dr. Suad Sakalli Gumus has a Bachelor of Science degree in general Elementary Education from Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University in Turkey, and a Master's degree and a PhD in special education from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She has taught at the college level for almost 15 years, teaching a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses. Human exceptionality and at-risk individuals are of special interest to Dr. Sakallı Gumus. She has directed several European funded projects to help disadvantaged individuals. She also has long taught a wide variety of teacher education majors how to achieve successful inclusion by overcoming attitudinal barriers and diversifying methodologies. With a diverse background herself (in different cultures, various educational systems, at different levels including elementary, undergraduate and graduate, different languages, disability groups., etc.), Dr. Sakalli Gumus strives to increase understanding of diversity and exceptionality far beyond just lip-service to a level where we can think critically about human-centeredness, fairness, equity, and respect in our lives and practices.

Contact FYS

The First Year Seminar is part of the General Education Program located in Anne Belk Hall, Room 250.

Phone: 828-262-2028

Our mailing address:
First Year Seminar
ASU Box 32065
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608

Director of First Year Seminar:
Dr. Martha McCaughey

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