Dr. Robert Stensrud
BA: Wartburg College
I have conducted research on disability since 1977. My focus has evolved and included disability in higher education and public institutions, disability and the health care delivery system, and disability employment. My interest is in understanding the pervasive impact of disability on individuals and families and how it can be addressed through systemic interventions that do not perpetuate stigmatizing stereotypes. My current research focuses on social network analysis and the development of social capital as a way for people with disabilities to improve their integration into work and community settings.
The introduction into any profession involves learning the language of that profession and the critical thinking skills to reason with that language. This is especially true of the counseling profession because our language so permeates the popular culture that everyone thinks they can be counselors. Beyond that, the Internet is awash with information and the ability to critically search and select relevant information has become an essential skill. My intention is to introduce students to the language of our profession and the lived experiences of the people we serve. From that, I expect students to develop the critical thinking skills to understand how to work effectively with any clients they encounter regardless of their heritage of situation.
I have worked in the field of counseling and disability for over 30 years as a counselor, consultant, and professor. A substantial aspect of my experience has involved working with people with serious and persistent mental illness and all of the related educational, treatment, legal, and vocational issues they confront. I have consulted to private and public organizations regarding organizational change, program evaluation, and quality improvement.