Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, working professional, a student with a disability, or are looking for a research assistantship, HDI is committed to training the next generation of leaders in the area of disabilities. We have a Graduate Certificate program that can be completed in-house or online, we teach a Freshman Discovery course each year, and provide diverse opportunities to graduate students as research assistants on our projects.
Graduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities
The purpose of the Graduate Certificate is to prepare professionals from a broad range of disciplines to play a leadership role in providing services and supports for people with developmental disabilities and their families. The curriculum emphasizes a life span and interdisciplinary perspective. Students will learn from experts in various disciplines including Social Work, Special Education, Communication Disorders, Pediatrics, Child Development, Assistive Technology, Protection and Advocacy, Psychology, Law, and Early Childhood Interventions. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a practicum and learn directly from individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
Graduates from our Certificate Program have taken their knowledge of developmental disabilities and found jobs in a wide variety of fields including university (college) teaching, school and clinical psychology, social work, physical therapy, and special education.
To learn more about this program, click here
Graduate Certificate Program – Online Edition
Can’t make it to UK’s campus to participate in the graduate certificate program, but would like to learn more about developmental disabilities? HDI has created an online version of our popular Graduate Certificate Program. It offers the same content as the on-campus Certificate, but is offered through distance education. In addition, students need not be enrolled in a graduate program at UK, but simply must possess a baccalaureate degree from any university. This makes it great for professionals in the field, as well as families, community members, and self-advocates who want to expand their knowledge base.
To learn more about this program, click here
Across many of our projects at HDI, we have opportunities for students to gain an in-depth knowledge of the field and gain invaluable, hands-on experiences. Most of our RA appointment decisions are made for the next academic year during the spring and summer months. Contact the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in your degree department during the spring semester and let him or her know that you are interested in an RA position at HDI. Learn more about becoming a RA at HDI here.
To apply, submit a cover letter, resume/vitae, and references to Walt Bower. Your information will be forwarded to Project Directors who are interviewing. At your request, your information will be kept on file in an applicant pool for any mid-year openings.
Testimonials from previous Research Assistants
“I was a research assistant at the Human Development Institute during my second year as a school psychology graduate student. I am currently a school psychologist intern at a high school in the Chicago area. My role as a research assistant at HDI has allowed me to be involved with research related to large scale literacy assessment as well as given me knowledge that will allow me to align research with practice in making data-based decisions as a school psychologist.”
“I was a research assistant at HDI while working on my degree in School Psychology. I worked with great people who helped me grow as a student, practitioner, and researcher. Having research experience relevant to my field made me more marketable to internship sites and I believe my work at HDI was one of the reasons that I was able to secure my first choice during the internship process. In addition, through our research projects, I visited special education teachers and classrooms across the state. I was better prepared to begin working in the schools as a direct result of these experiences. It was a fantastic opportunity and I feel fortunate to have been a part of HDI during my time at UK.”
“I’ve worked at HDI since I was a research assistant (RA) beginning in January of 2000. While I was completing my Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, I worked as an RA for five years, then transferred into a full time role as the Director of Alternate Assessment Research where I was the research coordinator for the National Alternate Assessment Center, a five-year grant funded by the Office of Special Education Programs.”
“Professionally, I have published more than a dozen research reports and articles, the majority of which have appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals. I have developed several research instruments for wider use, including an index of learner characteristics; authored several book chapters, and presented regularly at national and regional conferences since 2003.”
“After 10 years with HDI, I have accepted a position with edCount, a woman-owned small business, committed to working with teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders to support high quality practices and to expand educators’ capacity to interpret, build, implement, and evaluate policy in the areas of standards, assessments, and accountability.”
Helpful Resources for Students
- University of Kentucky Disability Resource Center
- Preservice Health Training Project
- Disability Connect Brochure for UK Faculty and Staff (PDF)
- Acronyms within the Disability Field (PDF)
One of our Core Functions as a University Center for Excellence is that of Research – the generation of new knowledge that can directly and positively impact the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families. Research has steadily become a more important priority for HDI over the past decade, and we currently have several areas of concentration, for which we are nationally recognized:
- Alternate Assessments, Inclusive Assessments, and Access to the General Curriculum for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities:
National Alternate Assessment Center
- Education for Health Care Professionals in Caring for Patients with Developmental Disabilities
Pre-service Health Training Project
- Early Childhood Education
National Early Childhood Transition Center
Kentucky Partnership for Early Childhood Services
HDI Evaluation Unit
In addition, we conduct research in a variety of other topics, including life satisfaction and life outcomes for adults with developmental disabilities, as well as recreation opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities, disability education for other professionals (e.g., seminarians), and community-based work experiences.
Moreover, much of our research is conducted with our students – our Research Assistants and our Graduate Certificate Students. We greatly value their contributions and see this participation as an essential part of their training for their future careers. For example, our Graduate Certificate Students have an opportunity to conduct a research project as part of their Certificate completion. Many of our Research Assistants have opportunities to conduct research as part of their assistantship responsibilities.
Click here to view some of our recent, nationally refereed publications (with our HDI trainees/research assistants in bold print)
While our research focus continues to broaden and our project activities increase, so does the need to evaluate project goals and program effectiveness. As a result, HDI’s Evaluation Unit has expanded to keep pace. Our Evaluation Unit provides many services including strategic planning, data collection and analysis, focus groups, technical assistance, as well as, technical writing of grant proposals, research and policy briefs.