SDS Senior Scholar

Announcement of 2016 Annual SDS Award for Senior Scholar!

Dear SDS Members,

On behalf of the SDS Board-- in conjunction with the first announcement of these awards made at the SDS Annual Membership Meeting on August 23, 2016--we are now excited to announce to all of you the 2016 Award recipients.

This year’s Senior Scholar Award will go to: Katherine Ott. As one of her nominators and letter writers characterized her:

Katherine is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading public historian, curator, and scholar. Her works have fundamentally shaped disability studies broadly and disability history specifically. At the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Katherine has been the project director and curator of numerous disability history exhibits, including "30 Years of HIV-AIDS,” NMAH showcase and website (June-Dec. 2011), “EveryBody: the History of Disability in America” (2008-2013); “Whatever Happened to Polio?” (2005-6); "History Through Deaf Eyes" (May-Sept. 2002), and “ADA: 25 Years of Disability Civil Rights” (2015). Millions of people annually visit the Smithsonian. Katherine consistently makes disability history and disabled people a significant part of the story visitors experience.

Ott’s profile at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum can be viewed here:

Past awardees include David Gerber (2015), Devva Kasnitz (2014), Richard K. Scotch (2013), Carol Gill (2012), Tobin Siebers (2011), Rosemarie Garland Thomson (2010), Elizabeth Depoy and Stephen Gilson (2009), and Steve Taylor (2008).

A special thank you to all the applicants who applied (or nominated someone) for the competition. In addition, to our reviewers who contributed to the nomination process. The SDS Awards would not be possible without your generous feedback. As SDS survives this difficult year, your support is vital to our success and future.

Congratulations to the 2016 Senior Scholar Award recipient!

Brenda Jo Brueggemann
Professor, English
Aetna Endowed Chair of Writing
The University of Connecticut
brenda [dot] brueggemann [at} uconn [dot] edu

General Qualifications

SDS Senior Scholar qualifications include:

    • a terminal degree in his/her relevant field (PhD, EdD, MFA, DOT, DPT, etc.)
    • a minimum of a decade of experience as a scholar in the field (such experience can include published scholarship, creative/artistic production, significant grants/applied research, or other equivalent activities).
    • scholarship that has made a significant contribution to and/or impact on the field of Disability Studies.
    • demonstrated excellence in and commitment to teaching, mentoring, or other kinds of leadership.
      There are no restrictions on a nominee’s discipline or area of study (films, performances, on-line publications, traditional academic books and articles are all viewed as equally acceptable and deserving of recognition).
    • People who are not members of SDS are eligible for the Senior Scholar Award.


Members of the SDS Board are ineligible for the award during their tenure on the board.

SDS Senior Scholar Application

The following must be submitted for an individual to be considered for the award:

    • A brief letter of nomination. We encourage self-nominations, as well as nominations of other individuals. If you wish to nominate someone other than yourself, please consult with that individual. We will ask that individual to confirm that she/he is willing to be considered.
    • A minimum of two letters of support from individuals other than the nominee.
    • A copy of the nominee’s CV.
    • Contact information for the nominee.
    • Additional material may be requested (i.e., if the review committee is unable to locate and/or retrieve the nominee’s materials through databases and libraries).

Application packets can be sent electronically to: sds (at) disstudies (dot) org with SENIOR SCHOLAR in the subject line.


The recipient of the SDS Senior Scholar Award will receive the following recognition:

      • her/his name permanently posted on the SDS website as a recipient of the award;
      • a certificate of recognition.


Complete submissions must be received by June 10, 2016. The 2016 recipient will be announced on or around August 1.

Previous Awardees of the SDS Senior Scholar Award

    • 2015: David Gerber
    • 2014: Devva Kasnitz
    • 2013: Richard K. Scotch
    • 2012: Carol Gill
    • 2011: Tobin Siebers
    • 2010: Rosemarie Garland Thomson
    • 2009: Elizabeth Depoy and Stephen Gilson
    • 2008: Steve Taylor