Elizabeth W. Bauer Papers

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Elizabeth W. Bauer Papers

The materials in this online repository form part of a larger Elizabeth W. Bauer manuscript collection held by the Bentley Historical Library. For a more complete index to the materials, please consult the collection's online finding aid.

For questions or more information, please contact the Bentley Historical Library's Division of Reference and Access Services

Abstract: Elizabeth W. Bauer (1937-) was a disability rights activist who served many years defending the rights of the disabled within Michigan, across the country, and internationally. She also served an eight year term on Michigan’s State Board of Education. This collection contains materials relating to different disability rights issues—such as deinstitutionalization, community placement, euthanasia, sterilization, and disability legislation—as well as papers regarding the many organizations through which Bauer enacted her work.

Biography: Elizabeth W. Bauer, born December 28, 1937, received her Bachelor of Arts in Religion with a Minor in Speech Pathology from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass. Upon her graduation, Bauer conducted post graduate study in Speech Pathology at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. Bauer then continued her education at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where she received her Mast of Arts in Education for Exceptional Children. She completed her studies by conducting doctoral studies at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich., in Education Administration.

After moving to Michigan in 1975, Bauer began her career in public service as an Adult Special Education Services Administrator and Special Education Teaching Consultant within the School District of the City of Pontiac in Pontiac, Mich. During this time, Bauer was responsible for identifying and creating education placements for people with disabilities over the age of 18. Within this position, she helped more than 200 people complete educational programs (Adult Basic Education, GED, High School Diploma) and become gainfully employed.

Bauer then went on to serve as Director of training for the Michigan Department of Mental Health at its Plymouth Center for Human Development in Northville, Mich. In this position, she was responsible for selecting and directing a staff of 30 professional and paraprofessional educators to provide staff development programs for more than 1,000 facility personnel. At the time, the Plymouth Center for Human Development was under court order to upgrade its services. Bauer directed that staff receive 120 hours of pre-service and 80 hours of in-service training, and built a training program that became the model of public mental health facilities in Michigan.

Next, Bauer worked as an administrator within the Developmental Disabilities Community Residential Services Division of the Michigan Department of Mental Health. In this position, Bauer directed a staff to coordinate the task of four Michigan Mental Health agencies to develop community-based residential services for persons with developmental disabilities in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. This effort resulted in helping more than 1,000 persons with mental and developmental disabilities to leave institutional settings for real homes in the community, in addition to school programs and community jobs.

In 1981, Elizabeth Bauer founded and became the executive director of Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS)—Michigan’s federally mandated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities. The organization was designated to implement protection and advocacy systems for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, HIV/AIDS and other disabilities pursuant to federal and state laws. During her time as executive director, MPAS was able to help more than 500,000 people with disabilities achieve their objectives of protection from abuse, neglect, and discrimination and trained more than 500,000 people to advocate for themselves and others.

After retiring from MPAS in 2001, Bauer was elected in 2002 to the State Board of Education for an eight year term during which time she led the State Board’s educational technology initiative and was a member of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Work Group on Career and Technical Education. She received the NASBE Distinguished Service Award in 2012.

In addition to her work with MPAS and the Michigan School Board of Education, beginning in 1994, Bauer began to work as a self-employed consultant, focusing on human rights, civil society, and organization development with particular attention to rights and opportunities for people with disabilities in the United States, as well as countries including Armenia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam. As of 2014, in addition to her continuing work as a consultant, Bauer serves as president of the Board of Directors for the Widening Advancements for Youth (WAY) Academy of Detroit, a Charter school for students in need in South West Detroit, Mich.

Please note:

Copyright has been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan.

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