Understanding Diversity

Full Course Title: 
Human Exceptionality: Understanding Diversity in the 21st Century
Course Number: 
Section Number(s) and Day/Times Taught: 
153: MW 3:30-4:45PM
Fall 2017

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.


Elin Hoffman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Reading and Special Education (RESE). She earned her PhD in Special Education from Indiana University in May 2010, focusing her studies on learning disabilities, child and adolescent development, and teacher education. Dr. Hoffman teaches a wide variety of special education coursework at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including courses on mild disabilities, math methods, research methods, autism, and preparing literature reviews.

 Dr. Hoffman has taught special education in Indiana and North Carolina for several years at both middle and high school levels. She is also certified to teach elementary education. Her research interests include disability studies, autism, student/teacher relationships, inclusion, and teaching at the post-secondary level.  She has presented at national and international conferences. Her publications can be found in the American Journal of Epidemiology, Remedial and Special Education, Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, and Teacher Education and Special Education among others. 

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:
Rick Klima

QEP Global Learning