Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession Committee


The Status of People with Disabilities in the Profession Committee (PWD) works to assure the full access of people with disabilities within the Academy and to advance their status within the profession.

Duties and Responsibilities

Members of the People with Disabilities in the Profession Committee are invited to participate in the following:

  • Two committee members conduct a site visit each year of the host location of the Annual Meetings, if the city hasn’t been a past meeting site since 2013. A site visit will be conducted if the Annual Meetings are held in a new city; or in a duplicate city if another property with space is added, or if there are significant renovations to existing venues.
  • Events at the Annual Meetings in November:
    • Committee meeting
    • One to two Special Topics Forums
    • Committee hosted workshop
    • Committee hosted luncheon
  • Mentoring Program: If there is a PWD mentee, one of the committee members who knows best about that disability will volunteer to be a mentor, or will recruit a colleague who does.

Meeting Schedule

  • One in-person meeting at the Annual Meetings in November
  • Winter virtual meeting via Zoom. Video option is not utilized for this meeting

Strategic Plan

  • Consult with AAR staff regarding best practices for accessibility related to the Employment Center, the website, the Program Book, and the Call for Papers
  • Address accessibility issues regarding Annual Meetings, through advance site visits and proactive efforts to ensure access for all members
  • Provide advisory assistance to Program Unit Chairs, including best practices for promoting the full inclusion of members with disabilities
  • Support students with disabilities seeking advanced degrees in Religious Studies and Theology, assist with mentorship and career planning, and encourage their full integration into the Academy
  • Address employment barriers faced by scholars with disabilities and facilitate scholars’ advancement within the profession
  • Assist employers with best practices for interviewing and hiring candidates with disabilities, including resources for addressing preconceptions, avoiding illegal questions, and providing reasonable accommodations during the interview process at the Annual Meeting as well as at home institutions
  • Promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the Academy and the profession, highlighting the importance of disability cultures and Deaf cultures, and emphasizing disability as an oft-overlooked diversity issue
  • Collaborate with the other AAR committees to ensure the full inclusion of all members of the Academy, and explore the intersection of disability and Deaf culture with other identities

Committee Members

  • Term of Service: Four years, non-renewable
  • Committee Composition: Up to seven members
Full NameTerm StartTerm EndPosition
Nicholas Shrubsole1/1/202412/31/2027Chair
Sarah Jean Barton1/1/202112/31/2024Committee Member
Dr. Leonard Curry1/1/202112/31/2024Committee Member
Mr. Bob Furtado1/1/202412/31/2027Committee Member
Cassie Houtz1/1/202312/31/2026Committee Member
Mary Jo Iozzio1/1/202412/31/2027Committee Member
Jacob Robinson8/1/2022 Staff Liaison
Claudia Schippert8/1/2023 Staff Liaison