Candidate Statements

Nominee: Dallas Swafford
Institution: Angelo State University
Nominated for: President-Elect

I am beginning my 25th year as a full-time employee at Angelo State University. I have been lucky to serve in various positions at ASU, increasing in responsibility as I progressed. I obtained both my B.B.A. in Marketing and my M.Ed. in Student Development and Leadership in Higher Education from Angelo State. I currently serve as the Director of Student Disability Services, and moved to this position in November of 2013.

While serving in my current position, I have attended a few conferences regarding disability services, and was fortunate to be invited to present with some of the Education faculty regarding accessibility of online classes at the Texas Distance Learning Association conference this year. I also attended my first AHEAD in Texas meeting this year, and immediately asked Dr. Phillippe how I can become more involved. I’m excited (and a little surprised) that he chose to nominate me for this position. I look forward to working with the organization to help it grow stronger and more active each year.

Nominee: Jayne Withers
Institution: Galveston College
Nominated for: Director-at-Large

I have served as the Special Services Counselor and general academic advisor at 2500 community college (Galveston College) for a little over nine years. When I first began my current position, there was absolutely nothing established for students with disabilities and no training for the faculty, staff or even me! I learned most everything I know about coordinating a disability office from the Texas AHEAD conferences and the wonderful, helpful and experienced disability professionals I met at the conferences.

In the years since, I have created all of the procedures and policies for the disability services office while being the only student disability services professional on my campus. Over time, I have become a disability services ‘go-to’ person for my administration, faculty and staff as well as disability service providers at other campuses in the Gulf Coast region. Through this process I have learned much about disability law and higher education. Because I serve students, I have also seen first-hand, the struggles that students have in an academic environment.

I believe that my years of experience and the knowledge gained by building a disability services office from scratch will bring much to the board. My perspective of being a one-person office in a small community college will allow representation for all of the one-person offices across the state. Small schools (with small budgets) have much in common with larger universities, but they also have many unique challenges. I believe, if elected to the Texas AHEAD board, I would be able to bring into focus some of the challenges that smaller campuses, community colleges and one-person offices face.

Thank you for your nomination! I would be honored to serve and hopefully give back to a wonderful organization that has given me the tools and information I need to assist students who learn differently.

Nominee: Lela V. Lockett-Ware Medical Branch at Galveston
Institution: University of Texas
Nominated for: Secretary

I serve as the Institutional ADA Officer here at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. My responsibilities are inclusive of but not limited to: managing the ADA accommodation process for students, faculty, employee and patients; managing the temporary modified duty process; managing the ergonomic process and managing the leave as a reasonable accommodation process.

I currently am a Licensed Occupational Therapist, with 28 years of experience, as well as Certifications in Ergonomics and ADA. I participate in in-service training throughout our campus to ensure compliance with all federal laws.

I am honored to have been nominated and I feel that I would be an asset to the Board. I am motivated and willing to learn and this organization has aided in my growth within the student disability arena.

Nominee: Barbara Collins
Institution: Texas A&M University Kingsville
Nominated for: Director-at-Large

I Barbara Collins B.B.A., M.S., and Coordinator of the Disability Resource Center have 26 years in Higher Education experience. I work directly with students with disabilities. I’m responsible for the administration and management of the Disability Resource Center (DRC) ensuring compliance with the American with Disability Act of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 as it relates to students with disabilities. My role as coordinator is to evaluate and interpret medical/psychological documentation and DSM-V diagnostic information to determine reasonable academic accommodations for students with disabilities. In addition, I establish university–wide procedures relating to reasonable accommodations for students requesting services. I also provide accommodations counseling, advocacy for students’ rights, and intervention services with faculty members while promoting an inclusive environment at Texas A&M University –Kingsville (TAMUK). This allows disability students with disabilities to engage in a full range of college experiences and aids in the student’s academic success. Working at TAMUK, has afforded me the opportunity to have more than 15 years of administrative and management experience. I have served as the Disability Coordinator for Student Health and Wellness Department since 2010. I graduated with my Bachelor of Business Administration in 1988, received my Master of Science in Counseling and Guidance in 2008 both degrees received from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. I have been in progressively responsible positions during my 26 years at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and have worked in various areas of Student Affairs including Residence Life, the Memorial Student Union, Academic Testing, Counseling and Disability Services. Other areas of the university in which I have worked include Academic Affairs and Finance and Administration.

These experiences have given me the diversity to utilize my skills on an administrative level. In my role as coordinator, my contributions have included establishing best practices in the Disability Resource Center while maintaining standards of quality as set by the Council for the Advancement of Standards of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Association of Higher Education, Disability (AHEAD) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations. I have effectively been successful in the utilization of resources within the department. I present and consult with faculty regarding disability awareness and issues. I network with various departments throughout the university campus by attending workshops and trainings. I have created partnerships and hosted several AHEAD campus–wide webinars to engage and promote disability awareness to the university community.

To enhance my professional growth, I’m interested in serving on the AHEAD Board as Director-at-Large. I have been an AHEAD national member and AHEAD in Texas member for six years and I joined the organization to increase my professional development of working with individuals with disabilities. As a member, I have had the opportunity to work with leaders in my field who are passionate about working with students with disabilities. One of the things I love about this organization is that you encourage new members to learn, grow and provide tools and resources to advance our knowledge in the profession. The members in the organizations are always willing to help a fellow disability professional by providing guidance and advice. I would like to join the board to play a more active role in the organization and to help others grow, learn and develop into great disability professionals