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Internationally renowned disability law and policy expert Peter Blanck named University Professor at SU
Internationally renowned disability law and policy expert Peter Blanck named University Professor at SUMay 01, 2006Jaclyn D. Grossojgrosso@law.syr.edu
Peter Blanck, one of the world’s leading scholars and experts on disability law and policy, has been appointed a University Professor at Syracuse University. Blanck also has been named chair of the new Burton Blatt Institute: Centers of Innovation on Disability (BBI) at Syracuse University.
The Burton Blatt Institute takes its name from Burton Blatt (1927-85), a pioneer in humanizing services for people with mental retardation, a staunch advocate of deinstitutionalization, and a national leader in special education.
Its new chair is a leading expert on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), representing clients in ADA-related cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and testifying before Congress. His recent work, a treatise on disability civil rights law and policy, is used at some of the world’s most prestigious law schools, including Harvard Law School and the University of Ireland.
“Professor Blanck has been deeply committed to the advancement of persons with disabilities at home and abroad,” says Chancellor Nancy Cantor. “Under his leadership, I expect the Burton Blatt Institute to be a national and world leader in this area.”
Blanck holds SU appointments at the College of Law, the School of Education, The College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Human Services and Health Professions and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. His appointment as a University Professor, the highest faculty rank, is only the eighth such appointment in the history of Syracuse University.
“Peter is internationally renowned in the field of disability law and policy,” says Vice Chancellor and Provost Deborah A. Freund. “As chair of the new University-wide initiative, the Burton Blatt Institute, he is building the premier organization to advance civic, economic and social participation of persons with disabilities in a global society. “
BBI is a collaborative environment that fosters public-private dialogue and seeks to transform policy, systems and people through inclusive education, the workforce and communities.
“I am delighted that BBI already is partnering on activities with virtually all of SU’s academic units, from the College of Law, to the Maxwell and Newhouse schools, to the Schools of Education, Management and Architecture, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts,” says Blanck.
“At SU, it is our mandate, in the name of a pioneering disability rights scholar and champion, Dr. Burton Blatt, to help transform law and policy, and, importantly, attitudes that hold people with disabilities back from their full realization,” Blanck says. BBI has planned several Burton Blatt legacy projects, including a series of commissioned lectures that focus on Blatt’s work and impact.
Blatt was dean of the School of Education and Centennial Professor at SU, served as director of SU’s Division of Special Education and Rehabilitation, and founded the Center on Human Policy to promote a more open and accepting society for persons with disabilities.
Prior to Blanck’s appointment at SU, he was the Charles M. and Marion Kierscht Professor of Law and director of the Law, Health Policy, and Disability Center at the University of Iowa. Before that, Blanck practiced law at the Washington, D.C., firm Covington & Burling, and served as a law clerk to the late Carl McGowan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Blanck received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester, a juris doctorate from Stanford University (where he was president of the Stanford Law Review), and a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is a former member of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, a former senior fellow of the Annenberg Washington Program, a former fellow at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School and a Mary Switzer Scholar.
He is a board member of the National Organization on Disability, Disability Legal Rights Center and of Disability Rights Advocates. He is a trustee of YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network.
Blanck has appointed an executive director, Brian McLane ’69, who will work with BBI satellite offices in Washington, D.C., and New York City, which are headed by leading disability law and policy thinkers Michael Morris and Charlie Hammerman, respectively. Each of these individuals is dedicated to creating an accessible and inclusive world of employment and public access in every aspect of life.
BBI has introduced a new 2006 summer law and disability policy leadership program, a six-week program in Washington, D.C. Dean Hannah Arterian of the SU College of Law notes that “BBI has provided funding for a first-of-its-kind program where four SU law students will learn first hand about the public policy making process from a disability perspective.”
To reinforce its unprecedented University-wide reach and collaboration, BBI is also awarding “innovation grants” to SU faculty and students in areas from the humanities to the basic sciences to stimulate fresh and visionary thinking about disability.
Likewise, the School of Information Studies is working with BBI to design cutting-edge approaches to distance learning and building social networks. At its Crouse-Hinds Hall headquarters, BBI is establishing a new world-class survey center to focus on the analysis of disability policy.
For more information about Blanck and the BBI, visit http://bbi.syr.edu.