Scholarship on disabilities and the policies shaping university research


The Merrill Advanced Studies Center is a catalyst for scholarship on disabilities and the polices that shape university research. World-class experts often meet as a group for the first time at Merrill conferences. From this experience they develop nationally competitive projects that answer key questions in science. The Center excels at building bridges between academic disciplines and institutions. In science today, no single course of research can unravel the causes of disability, the process of aging, or the mystery of human development.

Merrill scientific books may be purchased from commercial publishers on the topics of: Language Acquisition in Children; Mental Retardation and Autism; Aging and Communication; Genetics and Disability. Policy papers are available online and in print from the Merrill series: The Research Mission of Public Universities.

In 2002, The Center launched a public outreach project -- In The Know -- with online fact sheets and articles written for the general public on a variety of hot topics in science and policy.

The Mission

  • To promote advanced study topics that will influence national policy decisions.
  • To provide leadership in establishing interdisciplinary research directions.
  • To advance scientific knowledge about human development and disability across the life span, from infancy to old age.
  • To share information from its conferences in print and online.

The Creed

The Merrill Advanced Studies Center was established in 1990 by Virginia Urban Merrill and her husband, Fred Merrill, President of Cereal Food Processors. The Merrills are are deeply committed to the creed of the Center:

All individuals, regardless of their opportunities and capabilities, should be encouraged and aided in attaining dignity and quality in the full course of their lives. The cumulative force of knowledge, science and technology must be employed to discover and direct all means for advancing this human purpose.



photo of Richard SchiefelbuschDirector Emeritus

Richard L. Schiefelbusch, Ph.D. served as the first director of the Merrill Center. He is a world leader in speech-language pathology, language development and disorders, special education, and research on mental retardation. The Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies >> is named after him. He guided the development of the Institute from a small, non-academic division to an eminent three-campus interdisciplinary research, training, and service organization during his nearly 40-year tenure. 



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