Dr. Patricia Morrissey

Dr. Patricia Morrissey, the new director of the Center on Disabilities Studies (CDS) in the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Education (COE), began her appointment on September 1, 2016.

“Becoming director of the Center on Disability Studies was at the top of my bucket list!” Morrissey said. “The people I have met are kind, welcoming, and talented individuals. I am very honored to be their colleague. I intend to pursue and promote collaboration and partnerships on campus, in communities, and with State Government so that people with disabilities thrive.”

Morrissey has served as President of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities since 2014 and was part of a team that provided disability policy training in Istanbul to Iranian activists in 2015. For nearly a decade, she was Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities (2001–2009). Prior to that, she was a senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton where she provided consulting services to federal agencies, especially on accessibility in technology.

With a career in Washington, D.C. spanning more than 30 years, Morrissey has worked in both the public and private sector. She worked for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for several years and played a central role in the drafting of numerous disability legislation. Working for the U.S. House of Representatives, she also played a major role drafting disability legislation, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Morrissey was a member of the U.S. Delegation to a United Nations committee while it drafted the Convention on Civil Rights for Persons with Disabilities. In addition to being on the board of the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, she is a member of the Government Affairs Committee of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America. She has written four books, co-produced training videos on the ADA, and launched social media projects to promote the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and civic engagement on disability policy.

“We are most fortunate to have Dr. Morrissey join us as the new CDS Director,” Dean Donald B. Young said. “She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and contacts that will serve CDS and the College of Education well.”

With 100 faculty, staff, and support personnel, the CDS generates numerous federally funded projects across Hawai‘i, the Pacific region, and the nation. Since 1988, the CDS has sponsored the International Pacific Rim Conference (Pac Rim) on Disability and Diversity, an annual event showcasing the center’s broad range of collaborations and expertise in diverse subject matters.

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