Vicki Pappas, PhD, Retires from IN UCEDD

September 29, 2011

Dr. Vicki Pappas and Dr. David Mank
Dr. Vicki Pappas and Dr. David Mank

Dr. Vicki Pappas retired recently from Indiana University and the Indiana Institute under IU's Early Retirement Incentive Program. Dr. Pappas came to the Institute in 1974, when it was called the Developmental Training Center (DTC). She was a graduate student in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program on Young Children (IDPYC) and held a graduate assistantship with Dr. Michael Tracy on the Deinstitutionalization project, which was an early effort to bring Muscatatuck residents back to their home communities with jobs, a home, and friends. From there, she began work with IEP implementation and state planning. Upon receiving her doctorate in 1982, Dr. Pappas was assigned to create the Office of Training and Evaluation for the DTC. In 1986, then-Director Dr. Henry Schroeder asked her to take over the leadership of the Collaborative Work Lab and named her Director of the Center for Planning and Policy Studies.

Since that time, Dr. Pappas has provided extensive advocacy in the disability field, especially in promoting the involvement of people with disabilities in the public policy process and in promoting accessible communities. She conducted many important statewide needs assessments, gathering and reporting information from people with disabilities and their family members to affect changes in public policy, such as the "Tell It Like It Is! Statewide Survey," the "Indiana Independent Living Survey," and most recently, annual "Indiana Disability Polls" focusing on health issues (2007), voting and civic engagement (2008), transportation (2009), ADA implementation (2010), and disability policy priorities (2011). She has also made a variety of presentations to leaders in the university, business, political, and community sectors about advocacy and increasing access, especially related to universal design, accessible materials and meetings, and ADA implementation for businesses and communities. Further, as Director of the Institute's Collaborative Work Lab, Dr. Pappas facilitated a variety of collaborative planning sessions, and conducted focus groups to assist a variety of local and state organizations. In particular, she has used her planning expertise to encourage and support people with disabilities to provide input at focus groups and town meetings in the development of many of Indiana's State Disability Plans. Last, she was an active member of ADA-Indiana, Indiana Partners in Justice, and the Indiana Inclusion Council at the state level. At the national level, she was involved with the Association of University Centers on Disabilities at the national level, having served on its Board of Directors and as Chair of the National Training Directors Council.

Dr. Pappas has been active at Indiana University as well. She served as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, teaching Child Development and the Interdisciplinary Seminar on Developmental Disabilities. More recently, she served as the co-convener of IUB's Disability Roundtable and helped to initiate and carry on the Roundtable's Accessible University series and March Awareness month activities on campus.

Retirement will be as active for Dr. Pappas as was her professional career! She plans to continue her involvement in City of Bloomington and Monroe County issues, currently serving on the Council for Community Accessibility and the Voting Center Advisory Committee, and also as a member of ADA-Indiana, the State Steering Committee for implementation of the ADA. Dr. Pappas will also continue to play a national role in her church, serving since 1982 as National Chairman of the National Forum of Greek Orthodox Church Musicians and also as a member of Detroit's Metropolis Council and the national Archdiocesan Council. In her "spare time," she'll remain active as a member of the University's Gourmet Club, and plans to continue attending theater, music, and opera productions and other city events as well as keeping in touch with her colleagues. While the Institute will miss Dr. Pappas's presence and leadership tremendously, they wish her a pleasurable retirement and continued successful ventures!