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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

Image of Memorial Hall with the HDI 50th Anniversary logo, text that says Spotlight: Dabera Harley, and an overlaid image of a middle-aged African American woman

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight — Debra Harley

Published: March 12, 2019

To me, HDI means community – a community of consumers and professionals working for the common good. — Debra Harley, Developmental Disabilities Certificate Program Faculty

How did you come to know HDI? 

My relationship with HDI is a natural fit because of the study of and service to people with disabilities. What HDI does is provide an instantaneous application of best practices to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities. 

How long have you been with HDI and what is your role? 

My association with HDI started almost immediately when I arrived at UK twenty-five years ago. I have been able to collaborate with HDI on various projects, to involve my students with their projects, and to be an affiliated faculty member with them. 

During your time at HDI, of which accomplishments are you most proud? 

During my time at HDI, I am proud to not only teach in their certificate program in developmental disabilities, but to have the researchers and staff there as colleagues.  

Looking back, can you please share with us a fun or fond moment you had at HDI?

Looking back, I have fond memories of anyone who greets me when I walk in the door because it involves a conversation and a pleasant moment. 

Do you have any advice you would like to share with current and future staff and students at HDI? 

My advice to current and future staff and students at HDI is to always look for learning and teaching moments. Sometimes they find us when we are not looking for them. 

What do you think the future holds for HDI? 

Based on their national reputation and what they do to benefit the Commonwealth, HDI will be relevant for decades in the future. They do good work and that cannot be overlooked or undervalued.