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Dr. Janet Shapiro

 

Annual Faculty Lecturer 2003-2004

Janet Halliwell was born in Manchester, England, to Irene and Ernest Halliwell. When Janet was seven, the family moved from Manchester to a small country town, Ilkley, Yorkshire, where Janet and her younger sister, Katherine, were raised.

A year after the family moved, Janet's father died of a heart attack. Irene worked hard as a single parent, attempting to break the glass ceiling for women. Meanwhile, Leonard Booth arrived in their lives, married Irene, and brought laughter, fun, and joy as Janet's second "dad."

In 1966 Janet left home for University, the first in her family to go to college, and completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology from London University.

Janet left England for her first job, in Uganda, East Africa, where she worked as a teacher for two years under the auspices of the British "Voluntary Service Overseas." It was there she met Harvey Shapiro, an American Peace Corps volunteer from Philadelphia. In 1971 Janet left Uganda at the beginning of the tyrannical reign of Idi Amin and traveled to Philadelphia where Janet changed her name to Shapiro when she married Harvey. The Shapiros fed their interest in multi-culturalism by moving to Jamaica where they taught high school English and math in Kingston.

Two years later they sailed by banana boat back to England from the West Indies. After a year teaching multi-cultural education in England, the Shapiros moved back to Philadelphia where they returned to college. Janet completed her Masters in Special Education at Antioch University.

At the end of the seventies, Harvey and Janet studied the map. They chose a town where the mountains meet the sea and the climate is next to perfect. In 1981 they moved to Santa Barbara where Janet was hired as a Learning Disabilities Specialist at Santa Barbara City College.
Janet's educational philosophy is one of celebrating diversity, promoting universal design for access, and creating opportunity for all students to demonstrate ability. Since 1988 Janet has worked as the Coordinator of Disabled Student Programs and Services at Santa Barbara City College, providing community leadership on access and civil rights for students with disabilities. Her service to the state has been extensive, including being the chairperson of the Central California Branch of the International Dyslexia Association and on the executive committee for the California Association for Post-Secondary Education and Disability. In the Santa Barbara community Janet has served on the advisory boards of Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, United Cerebral Palsy, Santa Barbara City Adapted Recreation, UCSB Disabled Student Services, and was the founding coordinator of the Santa Barbara Coalition for Community Access.

In 1994 Janet completed her doctorate in Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University. Her doctoral dissertation was on the topic of building self-advocacy skills for community college students with disabilities.

Janet has traveled across the state and nation presenting workshops on disability and access issues. In 1999 Janet received the Hayward Award for Excellence in Education in recognition of her service to California Community Colleges.

Janet will lecture on the social construct of disability. The purpose of Janet's lecture is for the audience to reflect on attitudes regarding our fragile, organic selves; consider various models of public disability policy from the past; choose a reasonable approach to public disability policy for our future; and decide on their role in influencing future direction.

Janet's chosen lecture topic reflects her belief in a universal civil right: each person not only has the opportunity to live and participate in the community of his or her choice but also the opportunity to demonstrate ability. Janet believes this opportunity is a function of public policy. Reasonable public policy is a reflection of our society's attitudes. Janet's attitudes have been influenced by the philosophies of Kant and Gandhi. Janet believes, "I should act as if the principle of my action were to become by my will a universal law. If I wouldn't want everyone else to act in a certain way then I shouldn't act that way myself. In all actions I should respect the intrinsic value of our organic, fragile, human life."

Janet defines the concepts in her lecture title as follows:

Disability is society's barriers to the opportunity to demonstrate ability.
The Search is a careful examination in order to find something missing.
Reasonable is defined as agreeable to judgment based on moral intuitions and principles shaped by contemporary culture.
Public means affecting all the people of the nation or state and shared by all members of a community.
Policy is a definite course of action selected from among alternatives and, in light of given conditions, used to guide and determine future decisions.

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