The first of its kind in Texas, the Disability Cultural Center (DCC) positions UT Austin as a leader in exploring more equitable futures for disabled people who study, teach and work in higher education. Establishing a DCC sends the message that UT Austin recognizes disabled people as an integral part of the campus community. The DCC will serve as a hub on campus for organizing, community-building and expression for students with disabilities and all members of the university community.
Below is a timeline and short description of how the DCC was established at UT Austin.
A group of students, faculty and staff expressed interest in establishing a DCC and began meetings to discuss goals, ideas and plans for a DCC on the UT campus. Student groups, including the Disability Advocacy Student Coalition, Student Government Disabilities and Inclusion Agency and Student Senate, created and distributed a survey to assess student interest in a DCC, receiving an overwhelming response with support for a DCC.
The DCC Working Group developed and submitted a proposal for funding for a DCC Director salary to the Student Services Budget Committee, with the support of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) and the Division of Student Affairs.
DDCE received termed funding for a Founding Director salary.
The DCC Working Group conducted a nationwide search and interviewed candidates for the DCC Founding Director position, successfully hiring a candidate to start in early 2023. In addition, the DCC Working Group developed a proposal and recommendations for the physical location of the DCC that was reviewed and approved by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and Division of Student Affairs leadership.
The DCC’s founding director starts in the full-time position. The DCC begins hosting events and establishes a digital presence with a website and social media platforms. The DCC receives funding to cover costs of renovations of the existing space on the first floor of the Student Services Building that was approved for use as the future location of the DCC. Work on planning and design for the physical space begins. The DCC is awarded three years of funding for DCC programming through the university’s You Belong Here strategic direction.