BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands will become the seventh Indiana Institute on Disability and Community research center this summer, Indiana University Bloomington has announced.
As Indiana’s federally designated University Center for Excellence in Disabilities, the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, established in 1970, is known across the state and nation as a leader in research, education and service to advance inclusive and equitable communities for all people, including those with significant disabilities. The inclusion of the Eppley Institute under the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community umbrella provides a unique opportunity to expand the impact of the Indiana Institute into new spaces – national, state and local parks and public lands.
“Our campus is committed to inclusion and fostering multidisciplinary work that supports Indiana communities,” said Lauren Robel, IU Bloomington provost and executive vice president. “Uniting the research missions of the Eppley Institute and the IIDC will enable both organizations to more effectively impact our partner communities.”
“All people have the right to live, recreate and be fully included in their community,” said Derek Nord, director of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community and associate professor of special education in the School of Education at IU Bloomington. “One’s disability status should not dictate these outcomes. Through the Eppley Institute’s extensive work with park systems and the collaborative opportunities that exist with the IIDC’s six centers, the research and innovation opportunities are many.”
Established in 1993 by Indiana University, the Eppley Institute partners with recreation, park and public land organizations to enhance access, choice and quality of natural, cultural and recreational experiences for all people.
“Our mission and values dovetail with the work of the IIDC,” said Steve Wolter, Eppley Institute director. “The projects conducted by Eppley have had significant impacts to community health, quality of place and experiences for all peoples. The way in which Eppley will interconnect with the six centers at IIDC will be an extraordinary force for Indiana University and also for the professions and agencies that we serve.”
The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community is one of 21 research centers, institutes and museums overseen by IU Bloomington’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research, which works to foster excellence in research and creative activities.
“The IIDC is a leader in interdisciplinary, applied research that advances change in the state and country,” said Jeff Zaleski, interim vice provost for research. “Together, the Indiana Institute and programs at Eppley will be even better positioned to create new opportunities for sharing of ideas and innovations that benefit everyone.”