This site was first established on Friday, September 19, 2008 - just a few days after I had been accepted into UCR's Ph.D. program in Education with an emphasis in Special Education. I immediately affirmed my acceptance and subsequently learned that I had been invited to a Graduate School of Education (GSOE) meeting on Monday, September 15th. What made this answer to my prayers even more exciting is that, for the first time in years, many other wonderful things were also happening; some, but certainly not all of these included:
- September 11, 2008 - The United States Senate unanimously approved the American's with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (previously entitled the "ADA Restoration Act of 2007") which rightfully overturned numerous Supreme Court rulings that had essentially destroyed most of the protections afforded by the ADA since its original passage by Congress in 1990. My favorite quote from the Congressional Record from the Senate's passage of the ADA Amendments Act (September 11, 2008, page S.8349, bottom right corner) was made by one of the bill's original sponsors, Senator Tom Harkin:
"the Supreme Court decisions have led to a supreme absurdity, a Catch-22 situation that so many people with disabilities find themselves in today. For example, the more successful a person is at coping with a disability, the more likely it is the Court will find that they are no longer disabled and therefore no longer covered under the ADA. If they are not covered under ADA, then any request that they might make for a reasonable accommodation can be denied. If they do not get the reasonable accommodation, they cannot do their job; and they can get fired and they will not be covered by the ADA and they will not have any recourse" (emphasis added).
- September 12, 2008 - Around 4:00 P.M., I received an e-mail stating that I had been accepted into a Ph.D. Program at UCR. I immediately accepted and then received an e-mail inviting me to a Graduate School of Education orientation meeting on Monday (Sept. 15)
- September 17, 2008 - The United States House of Representatives unanimously approved the Senate's slight change to the ADA Amendments Acts (the House had overwhelmingly approved the ADA Restoration Act and forwarded the original bill on to the Senate back in June 2008) and held a ceremony to pass the bill onto the President for his signature (as of the date of this entry, Bush has not yet done so but the White House did issue a press release, on Sept. 17th, stating that he will sign it into law).
- September 18, 2008 - I enrolled in my first classes at UCR for the doctoral program and was, ironically, also the first National Attention Deficit Disorder Awareness Day as per a formal resolution made by the United States Senate. On a more personal note, when I arrived home later that evening, I received an e-mail from a text book publisher asking if I would be willing to permit one of my photographs (I'm not a photographer, although my father was) that I had taken last year as part of one of my many hobbies, Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) of the Dana Point Harbor: that photograph may be found on my Flickr site.
- September 25, 2008 - The day started of with a bang - President George W. Bush signed the American's with Disabilities Act Amendments Act into law (thereby helping millions of special needs Americans) and I attended my first classes at UCR (both of which I enjoyed immensely). Then, when I arrived home, I checked my e-mail only to learn that my photograph (mentioned above) had been accepted for publication!
Clearly, these are fabulous events, all of which I am personally very proud to have watched transpire. The future, for all Americans, including those with special needs, is now brighter and, for me - my own future hasn't look this wonderful in many, many years.
. . . Several Years Later
It's hard to believe but so much has transpired since I first created this site; I was remiss in keeping it updated. However, on October 1, 2013 at 11:16 A.M. (yes, I even remember the exact time), I was informed that my dissertation defense was successful! Without question, that was one of the greatest moments of my life! After many years (five, to be precise), of extraordinarily gruelling work, I had reached my goal of obtaining a Ph.D. from a Tier 1 research institution. A copy of my dissertation may be viewed here.
At UCR, I was impressed with the entire program; all of professors were highly competent, intelligent and among the most brilliant scholars in their respective fields. This was an extremely refreshing experience in that I've taken courses elsewhere where the "instructors" were, at best, incompetent. I had an equally wonderful experience, many years ago when I earned a Masters degree at California State University, San Bernardino although my coursework there dealt primarily with pedagogy - at UCR, the emphasis is entirely on research (as any great Ph.D. program should be).