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Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Melissa Winger
Name David R. Johnson
Preferred Mailing Address 102 Pattee Hall
150 Pillsbury Dr SE
Minneapolis MN 55455
Contact Phone Business:: 612-624-1062
Home: 763-682-3815
Fax Fax: 612-624-9344
Education BA: Sociology, University of Minnesota
MS: Rehabilitation Counseling, Mankato State University
PhD: Educational Policy and Administration (Special Education), University of Minnesota
Interest in developmental disabilities I am currently the director at the Institute on Community Integration (a federally designated University Center for Excellence and Developmental Disabilities) and Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota.

The Institute on Community Integration (ICI) is a comprehensive center that addresses challenges facing persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, other disabilities, and those who support them, through interdisciplinary training, community service, technical assistance, research, and dissemination. ICI has, since its founding in 1985, developed a highly productive, community engaged program focused on the improving the performance of organizations providing services and supports for persons with developmental disabilities across the life span. I joined ICI during its founding year, in 1985, and have served as its director since 1997.
Experience in developmental disabilities I have more than 30 years of experience in the field of developmental disability policy and services. I started in this field as a public school rehabilitation counselor with the St. Paul Public Schools in 1976. During my early career, I developed a strong interest in what happens to individuals with developmental disabilities in terms of their education, employment, and community living opportunities. I eventually went on to earn a doctorate in Special Education policy and administration with a specialization in the design of transition and employment training programs for individuals with disabilities.

In addition to directing the Institute on Community Integration, I am a professor of Educational Policy and Leadership. My research interests include studies on the post-school outcomes of youth with disabilities, access and participation of young adults with disabilities and postsecondary education programs, studies on systems change and program improvement, cost benefit analysis, and other policy related research.

Over the years, I have served as principal investigator and director or numerous federal and state research, training, demonstration projects with a focus on these and other research interests. I also routinely serve as a consultant to several national, regional, and state organizations, including the U.S. Department of Education, Department of Labor, Rehabilitation Service Administration, National Institute on Disability on Rehabilitation Research, Office of Special Education Programs, Senate and House Congressional Committees, and others. I also serve on the editorial boards of several professional journals in special education and disability policy.
Anything else about yourself I also came into this field heavily influence by my experiences in living with my older brother (now deceased), with a significant developmental disability. This experience has created for me an important perspective on the challenges and needs individuals with developmental disabilities and their families experience in terms of accessing services and supports essential in creating opportunities for community integration and inclusion. I also served as my brother's guardian for a period of approximately 18 years, helping him to navigate the service delivery system to achieve community-based living experience. My career direction has been greatly influenced by this personal, family, experience.


©2018 The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
 370 Centennial Office Building  658 Cedar Street   St. Paul, Minnesota 55155 
Phone: 651.296.4018   Toll-free number: 877.348.0505   MN Relay Service: 800.627.3529 OR 711   Fax: 651.297.7200 
Email:   View Privacy Policy   An Equal Opportunity Employer 

The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center,the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.