Newsmakers 2019: Pamela Cushing


Today, Western News presents its 10th annual Newsmakers of the Year – a celebration of some of the people, places and things that shaped the year at this institution. Before we start looking ahead to 2020, join us as we take one last look at 2019. Visit the entire list.

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In recognition of her efforts towards identifying disability not as a deficit but as a difference, King’s University College professor Pamela Cushing was named the 2019 recipient of the Canadian Disability Studies Association’s Tanis Doe Award, which honours a professor who advances the study and culture of disability in research, teaching or activism.

Cushing launched the Disability Studies program at King’s University College seven years ago with a trial-ran four courses within Interdisciplinary Studies. Today, it is an independent program that offers 25 courses.

Key to the Kings’ program, Cushing said, is presenting case studies and multiple perspectives on disabilities. This helps students gain the context, knowledge and insight to shift their approach and influence sustainable change.

The disabilities studies courses help students examine the cultural, structural, economic, legal and political barriers that show how stereotypes are unhelpful to the broader conversation.

Cushing also founded the Jean Vanier Research Centre this year,  launched the inaugural symposium on insights into Vanier’s works and insights and was awarded a recent grant to run another conference aimed at building strategies to achieve inclusion.