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Research Partners – Ohio State & Inclusion

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In the 1936 Olympics, track and field star Jesse Owens from Ohio State University upstaged a dictator, Adolf Hitler. When Owens took the field, he not only won an unprecedented four Olympic gold medals, he slapped eugenics in the face. In the 39.8 seconds that it took him to complete the 4×100-meter relay, Owens showed the world that ability was not based on being a member of a “master race.” The recipe for his Olympic success was hard work and being afforded the opportunity to try.

While the eyes of the world were on Owens, it was Ohio State University that first supported his efforts. At Ohio State Owens was undefeated and the first-ever black team captain. Today Ohio State still leads the discussion of inclusion and equity. Issues of race and discrimination rightly are at the forefront, disability is often avoided in the inclusion conversation, not so at Ohio State.

That is why we have partnered with Ohio State for our Military Special Education Survey. Not only do we seek to learn more about the experiences of military families in special education, but we also want to learn more about how we as a society treat and protect disability. 

Our Research Team

Our research team is led by Partners in PROMISE Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Barnhill, the lead researcher for our 2021 Military Special Education Survey. Jennifer is thrilled to partner with Dr. Amy Shuman of Ohio State University. Not only does Dr. Shuman love data as much as the Partners in PROMISE team, she is a research-based storyteller.

The collaborations of Margo Izzo (left) and Amy Shuman led to the TOPS program, which has put Ohio State on the map as an innovator in postsecondary services for individuals with disabilities.

Amy Shuman is a Professor in the English department specializing in folklore, narrative, and critical theory at Ohio State University. She is the author of books and articles on conversational narrative, literacy, political asylum, disability, food customs, feminist theory, and critical theory. Shuman is a Guggenheim Fellow, the recipient of the 2007 College of Humanities Exemplary Faculty Award, the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Service Award, and the recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Scholar Award. She served as Director of the Center for Folklore Studies (1995-2005) and also served as Director of Disability Studies (1995-2005). She is a Fellow of the Mershon Center for International Security. Shuman is the author of Storytelling Rights: The Uses of Oral and Written Texts by Urban Adolescents; Other People’s Stories: Entitlement Claims and the Critique of Empathy; and (with Carol Bohmer) Rejecting Refugees: Political Asylum in the 21st Century and Political Asylum Deceptions: The Culture of Suspicion. 

In addition to her professional accomplishments, she has a personal motivation to better understand and support disability. Her son, Colin, has SATB2-associated syndrome and has an intellectual disability. Dr. Shuman has experience acting as his advocate and encouraging his self-advocacy. She was a co-founder of Ohio State’s TOPS program, a post-secondary inclusive program designed to give young adults with intellectual disabilities a college experience leading to community employment. Colin works at the Columbus Zoo.

2022 Research Focus Areas

Historically learning and developmental disabilities have been hidden whenever possible. However, with the advent of the special education system and IDEA protections, designed to support children with exceptional learning and physical needs, disability is no longer something to be feared. But it is something to be studied in order to be better supported. 

This year’s survey will focus on timelines experienced by military families, covering diagnosis, evaluation and the receipt of medical and special education services. Other areas of interest include the utilization and efficiency of available programming. Our partnership with Ohio State will allow us to not only learn more about our families, but continue to use this information to inform Partners in PROMISE programs and recommendations.

Want to learn more about Partners in PROMISE 2022 Military Special Education Survey and our partnership with Ohio State?



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