Radford University School of Teacher Education and Leadership faculty member appointed to Disability Rights Advocates board of directors
Radford University associate professor of special education Darren Minarik, Ph.D., has been appointed to serve on the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) board of directors.
Minarik will serve a three-year term on the DRA board with a possible renewal of an additional three years.
DRA is a national nonprofit disability rights legal center with a mission to advance equal rights and opportunities for people with all types of disabilities.
Minarik will give a presentation at DRA’s yearly retreat, scheduled for March 19-20. At the retreat, he also will be assigned to subcommittee groups.
“I felt that my presence on the board as a teacher educator and former public school teacher would provide additional perspective to the DRA outside of the tremendous legal expertise that already exists,” Minarik said. “As an educator, I believe that real change can take place in our schools and in society if we empower our youth with effective civic engagement, self-advocacy and self-determination skills.
At the moment, Minarik is the only DRA board of directors member representing an institution of higher education.
At Radford, Minarik is a faculty member in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership (STEL) within the College of Education and Human Development. He teaches secondary social studies and special education teacher preparation and serves as co-director for the Virginia Inclusive Practices Center at Radford University.
Minarik has spent more than 25 years in social studies and special education advocating for inclusive practices that open opportunities for young people and adults to become active, responsible and independent citizens. He currently serves as graduate advisor for students in the five-year special education program, coordinates the secondary social studies teacher education program, and teaches courses and provides field supervision at the undergraduate and graduate level.
In addition, Minarik works in collaboration with the STEL secondary social science teacher education program, supporting pre-service secondary social studies teachers who work in inclusive educational settings.
Outside of his work at Radford University, Minarik is positively impacting the community by serving as a senior staff member for the American Civics Center, a nonpartisan civic education organization based in Washington, D.C. He has presented at the state, national and international levels and has written numerous publications, including the book he co-authored, “Social Studies and Exceptional Learners,” the first comprehensive guide to teaching students with disabilities in inclusive K-12 social studies classrooms.
Minarik’s research interests include citizenship education and self-determination for youth with disabilities, instructional strategies, postsecondary transition, collaboration, inclusive practices and the perceptual and pedagogical intersections between social studies, disability studies and special education.