2023 Preconference Sessions

AHEAD is excited to offer 19 flexible Preconference sessions this year, all taught by top experts in the field and offering significantly more depth than the concurrent sessions at the conference.

Why attend the Preconferences?

AHEAD’s Preconference sessions offer an opportunity to get specialized training on a particular topic, as well as opportunities to collaborate with other attendees, so you get to know other professionals and build your network. They are a great add-on to expand your learning and your professional contacts for only a small additional investment. Come to Portland a little early and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge for a more affordable price than ever before!

What's new this year? More Flexibility

AHEAD is excited to announce some small changes to our Pre-Conference format this year that we hope will make them more convenient and relevant than ever before.

  • First, we lowered the preconference fees for our half day and one-day sessions, so that more people can attend.
  • Second, we made the sessions more modular, so that you can build your own training experience.
    • This year, some larger topics are broken down into segments, so attendees can attend just the portions most relevant to their own work.
    • For attendees who would like to get specialized training on a variety of topics, we will offer the ability to pick and choose from among many topics.
    • For those who want a deep dive on a single topic, we continue to offer three of our most popular topics in a two-day-long format.

Preconference Pricing (Monday & Tuesday, July 17 & 18)

  • By May 31: half-day session: $100; 1-day sessions: $199; 2-day sessions: $395
  • On or After June 1: half-day session: $125, 1-day sessions: $ 250; 2-day sessions: $495

Online Registration

Session Scheduling

The two-day sessions are self-contained deep explorations of one topic:

Two-Day Sessions - Monday & Tuesday

  • PC 1: Introduction to Disability Law for Disability Office Directors and Staff and ADA/504 Coordinators
  • PC 2: An Introduction to Access for Newer Disability Resource Professionals
  • PC 3: Diagnostic Testing Reports for Learning Disabilities and Attention Disabilities: What Does it All Mean?

The following sessions may be mixed and matched to build your own Preconference experience!

One-Day Sessions - Monday

  • PC 4: Using Audits of Physical and Digital Environments as Tools for Institutional Change
  • PC 5: Neurodivergence and Executive Function: Intersections and Strategies

One-Day Sessions - Tuesday

  • PC 6: Ableism at Work: Unpacking How Ableism Shapes the Disability Experience and Informs Professional Practice
  • PC 7: Coaching Strategies for Transformational Interactions with Students

Half-Day Sessions - Monday

  • PC 8: ADA Coordinator Session 1 – Introduction to the ADA Coordinator Role and Facilities Accessibility
  • PC9: ADA Coordinator Session 2 – Grievances and complaint processes
  • PC12: Assistive Technology - Exploration and Understanding: The “What, Who, and Why?”
  • PC13: Assistive Technology - Implementation and Decision Making: The “How?”
  • PC14: Examining NonDisabled Privilege in Disability and Higher Education
  • PC15: Writing Accommodations That are Clear and Intentional

Half-Day Sessions – Tuesday

  • PC10: ADA Coordinator Session 3 – Employee Accommodations
  • PC11: ADA Coordinator Session 4 – Policy Development Workshop
  • PC16: Cultivating Leadership As a Future or New Disability Resources Director
  • PC17: Home Sweet Home: Responding to the Rising Requests for Housing Accommodations
  • PC18: The Basics of Document Accessibility: A Hands On Learning Opportunity
  • PC19: A Survivor's Guide: Navigating the Community College Terrain

Monday, July 17, 2023

Time Session Session Session Session Session Session Session Session
9:00 - 12:30

Day 1: Introduction to Disability Law for Disability Office Directors and Staff and ADA/504 Coordinators

(must be taken with Day 2)

Day 1: An Introduction to Access for Newer Disability Resource Professionals

(must be taken with Day 2)

Day 1: Diagnostic Testing Reports for Learning Disabilities and Attention Disabilities: What Does it All Mean?

(must be taken with Day 2)

Using Audits of Physical and Digital Environments as Tools for Institutional Change
Neurodivergence and Executive Function: Intersections and Strategies
ADA Coordinator Session 1 – Introduction to the ADA Coordinator Role and Facilities Accessibility
Assistive Technology - Exploration and Understanding: The “What, Who, and Why?”
Examining NonDisabled Privilege in Disability and Higher Education
12:30 - 2:00  Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
2:00 - 5:30 Day 1 of PC1 Continued Day 1 of PC2 Continued Day 1 of PC3  Continued PC4 Continued PC 5 Continued PC9:
ADA Coordinator Session 2 – Grievances and complaint processes
Assistive Technology - Implementation and Decision Making: The “How?”
Writing Accommodations That are Clear and Intentional


Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Time Session Session Session Session Session Session Session Session
9:00 - 12:30

Day 2 of PC1: Introduction to Disability Law for Disability Office Directors and Staff and ADA/504 Coordinators 

(may only be taken with Day 1) 

Day 2 of PC2: An Introduction to Access for Newer Disability Resource Professionals 

(may only be taken with Day 1) 

Day 2 of PC3: Diagnostic Testing Reports for Learning Disabilities and Attention Disabilities: What Does it All Mean? 

(may only be taken with Day 1) 

PC6: Ableism at Work: Unpacking How Ableism Shapes the Disability Experience and Informs Professional Practice 

PC7:  Coaching Strategies for Transformational Interactions with Students 

PC10:  ADA Coordinator Session 3 – Employee Accommodations 

PC16:  Cultivating Leadership As a Future or New Disability Resources Director 

PC18:  The Basics of Document Accessibility: A Hands On Learning Opportunity 

12:30 - 2:00  Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch Lunch
2:00 - 5:30 Day 2 of PC1  Continued Day 2 of PC2 Continued Day 2 of PC3  Continued PC 6 Continued PC 7 Continued

PC11: ADA Coordinator Session 4 – Policy Development Workshop 

PC17: Home Sweet Home: Responding to the Rising Requests for Housing Accommodations

PC19: A Survivor's Guide: Navigating the Community College Terrain


Two-Day Preconferences; Monday, July 17 and Tuesday, July 18; 9:00 am – 5:30 pm

PC 1: Introduction to Disability Law for Disability Office Directors and Staff and ADA/504 Coordinators 

Paul Grossman, J.D., Executive Counsel of AHEAD, and OCR and Hastings College of Law, retired 
Jamie Axelrod, M.S., Northern Arizona University 
Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D., California State University Sacramento 

Location: C123/124

Participation in this in-depth course on postsecondary student disability law with this highly-respected trio of disability resource/legal experts has become the way hundreds of AHEAD members first gained or solidified their facility with the disability rights laws they must implement daily. This training will give disability practitioners, administrators, and compliance professionals an indispensable set of analytical tools (“paradigms”) and processes to guide them in applying these paradigms. Participants who complete the class will find themselves with a greatly enhanced ability to resolve their most challenging cases and compliance questions under the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. Communicating with supervisors and college counsel in a well-informed manner will be significantly more achievable. 

In six 90-minute segments, the presenters will cover:

  • How we got here: the intersectional social, political, and legal battles that got us the laws and regulations upon which we rely in protecting our students from disability discrimination.
  • Legal paradigms as a tool in analyzing day-to-day compliance questions.
  • An introduction to four paradigms and how they are reflected in the regulations implementing Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as well as Titles II & III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
  • The key paradigm: “qualified student with a disability (QSD)” including its application to alleged denials of accommodation, student academic failure and misconduct.
  • The defenses available to colleges and universities in challenging claims of discrimination against a QSD. 
    Process, process, process: procedures for resolving QSD questions, including whether a proposed accommodation is a fundamental alteration or an undue burden.
  • “Reasonable accommodation” by any other name: “academic adjustments,” “auxiliary aids and services” --- what’s required/what’s not.

PC 2: An Introduction to Access for Newer Disability Resource Professionals

Carol Funckes, AHEAD (retired)

Location: B117-119

This two-day institute will provide a foundational overview of the major concepts important to fostering equitable higher education experiences to those with three or fewer years of experience in higher education disability resources. As colleges and universities transition back from the pandemic, the disability resource office must be both an effective service unit and a vital center of information for campus faculty, staff, and administrators. Disability resource professionals must balance their work in determining and coordinating accommodations for individual students with their equally important role of campus advisor, collaborator, and leader. 

Through instruction, discussion, and active engagement, this workshop will support participants in building onto their existing knowledge, analyzing barriers to access, applying consistent principles to diverse situations, and fostering change within established systems. We will begin with an exploration of disability, access, and equity facilitated by AHEAD’s immediate Past President, Amanda Kraus. We will then explore the foundational underpinnings of the profession, the practical realities of higher education today, and the institutional partnerships essential to creating inclusive, welcoming higher education environments. Guided by participant questions and interests, we will discuss:

  • overarching legal principles that guide the field;
  • the interactive process: disability documentation, the student interview, and accommodation determination; 
    access considerations: working with students and faculty to assess barriers and implement strategies, including accommodations, to achieve access;
  • guidance for determining and implementing commonly requested accommodations; 
  • strategies for designing service delivery practices that minimize extra efforts by disabled students and encourage faculty collaboration; and partnerships that create equitable campus environments.

Unlike online trainings, this two-day institute provides the opportunity for attendees to engage with others to develop a professional network, the most valuable professional development tool available! Whether you work alone, with a large staff, or address disability-related barriers as one component of a larger role, join us for a dynamic introduction to an exciting field.

PC 3: Diagnostic Testing Reports for Learning Disabilities and Attention Disabilities: What Does it All Mean?

Rhonda Rapp, Ph.D., California Institute for Integral Studies

Location: B115

This two-day session will lead attendees through an in-depth examination of “diagnostic assessment” of learning and/or attention disabilities. Through interactive / hands-on activities, participants will learn to use diagnostic assessment information in combination with professional judgment to determine appropriate accommodations. Participants will work through “diagnostic” case studies and investigate their own personal professional “diagnostic” judgment. Concepts covered will include:

  • methods for collecting disability-related background and direct observation information
  • what individual diagnostic tests and subtests are designed to assess
  • exploring the structure and meaning of diagnostic assessments and reports
  • analyzing student documentation and determining accommodations and services

This pre-conference is designed for new or seasoned disability resources staff who want to understand key concepts and practices behind diagnostic assessments to better understand student needs.

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One-Day Preconference; Monday, July 17; 9:00 am – 5:30 pm

PC 4: Using Audits of Physical and Digital Environments as Tools for Institutional Change I

L. Scott Lissner, The Ohio State University

Location: B114

Conducting an internal audit at your institution provides an understanding of how accessible your institution is, and how it needs to improve. Your audit may focus on the built environment and physical plant or your institution’s online offerings and digital assets (public facing, instructional platform, and/or workplace tools). This one-day session will provide an overview of audit strategies and processes and will frame an exploration of how audits can be tools for both compliance and institutional change. A series of short case studies will highlight tools and approaches across institutions that are common across domains as well as those that are unique. The use of risk, compliance, and maturity models will be compared, and structural issues from staffing to sampling will be described. Part of the session will be devoted to allowing participants to develop their own synopsis for a local audit they can bring back to implement at their institutions. 

PC 5: Neurodivergence and Executive Function: Intersections and Strategies

Emily Helft, Ed.S., Landmark College
Rick Bryck, Ph.D., Landmark College

Location: A105-106

Neurodivergence and executive function are two topics currently receiving a lot of attention separately from one another, but have you ever thought about how they go together? In this session, we’ll explore the connections between three neurodivergent diagnoses—LD, ADHD, and Autism—to better understand how they commonly intersect with executive function within the post-secondary environment. We’ll cover two executive function models to understand how neurodivergence is connected to EF, as well as how EF can show us the “WAI” to success. The latter portion of the session will be devoted to a variety of strategies that can be suggested to students, implemented through coaching/skills programs, or used in your own life! This session is designed to be interactive, and numerous experiential activities will be interwoven throughout. Attendees will walk away with both ideas and a hard copy (or digital) artifact to add to their DRO toolbox.

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One-Day Preconference; Tuesday, July 18; 9:00 am – 5:30 pm

PC 6: Ableism at Work: Unpacking How Ableism Shapes the Disability Experience and Informs Professional Practice

Amanda Kraus, University of Arizona

Location: B110-111

Many of us are drawn to professional work in disability services because of our commitment to equity and inclusion. This pre-conference is intended for those with some background on the foundational concepts of disability studies and disability history to explore how ableism has been institutionalized in higher education and informs our professional practice in disability resources. We will discuss systemic and individual dynamics of power and privilege, and how manifestations of ableism contribute to stereotypes, biases and microaggressions that limit the disability experience in higher education and society. 

After reflecting on the impact of bias on disability services and higher education, we will focus specifically on disability-related microaggressions, an emerging area of scholarship with important implications for our work. We will work collectively to unpack examples of microaggressions and the role we play in either perpetuating or dismantling these experiences and explore how these dynamics impact contemporary and professional concepts of disability. By situating disability alongside other community and identity experiences, participants will have time and space to reflect on their personal power and privilege and how their identities may impact building authentic relationships with disabled students and how they may represent disability to campus audiences. Finally, we will discuss our roles as allies and advocates and ways to cultivate effective professional partnerships that promote equity on campus. We will end with participants developing and discussing specific action items.

PC 7: Coaching Strategies for Transformational Interactions with Students

Christina Fabrey, MEd, PCC, BCC, Virginia Tech
Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, BA, MCC, BCC, JST Coaching and Training

Location:  B116

Interactions with disability resource providers are typically transactional, with the resource provider in the driver’s seat, arranging for accommodations and taking care of the student's immediate needs.Topics such as sense of belonging, social issues and health and wellness typically don’t fit into the conversation and are reserved for discussion with other campus partners. This transactional approach limits opportunities for students to develop the skills needed to be happy, healthy and successful because they don’t view the disability office as a resource for personal growth and development. In this one-day preconference session, providers will learn coaching skills to integrate into student conversations, shifting to a transformational approach, learning more about students holistically and leading to an increase in student success, self-determination and a connection to their community. Attendees will learn and practice core coaching skills in this interactive session.

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PC8 through PC11: The ADA Coordinator Role in Higher Education

This preconference series is intended for those who are tasked with being the ADA Coordinator at their institutions and those who are interested in developing related skills. These four interactive preconferences will focus on those topics beyond student accommodations that are important to not just ensure compliance, but to work towards creating inclusive educational environments and sustained institutional change. Material presented will be relevant to all institution types and sizes.

The preconference is broken down into four half-day segments that may be attended together or individually: 

  • Broad ADA Coordinator roles and responsibilities 
  • Employment Accommodations
  • Grievances and Complaint Processes
  • Policy Development

Each half-day will be led by a different pair of co-presenters, and will devote significant time to introducing you to each topic, while also allowing for ample conversation and brainstorming.

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Half-Day Monday, July 17, 2023; 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

PC 8: ADA Coordinator Session 1 – Introduction to the ADA Coordinator Role and Facilities Accessibility

Gabriel Merrell, Oregon State University
Bree Callahan, M.Ed., University of Washington

Location: B110-111

The ADA Coordinators preconference is broken down into four half-day segments - attendees may choose to attend all four or pick and choose among them to customize their learning. 

The first of the four half-day sessions will provide an overview of the work generally performed by the ADA Coordinator role at most higher education institutions, with a focus on introducing the seven administrative requirements in the ADA/504 and general compliance requirements. Participants will gain knowledge about general facilities accessibility considerations that should be taken back to their institution for discussion, and what role the ADA Coordinator should/can play with facilities accessibility. 

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Half-Day Monday, July 17, 2023; 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm

PC 9: ADA Coordinator Session 2 – Grievances and Complaint Processes

Lorre Wolf, Boston University
Emily Lucio, University of Maryland

Location: B110-111

The ADA Coordinators preconference is broken down into four half-day segments - attendees may choose to attend all four or pick and choose among them to customize their learning. 

Public institutions with 50 or more employees are required to adopt and publish procedures for resolving grievances arising under Title II of the ADA. But it is also good practice for private or very small institutions to implement a robust written grievance procedure. Grievance procedures set out a system for resolving complaints of disability discrimination in a prompt and fair manner. This half-day session will facilitate an interactive, deep dive into grievance and complaint processes. 

To navigate the grievance and complaint process, it is important to have a well thought out process that involves steps that start with informal resolution and build towards a more formal process. This session will share information on different formats for a resolution process and what is and what is not required by the ADA Title II regulations. Participants will have opportunities to share issues and provide feedback on what they have encountered when helping students navigate the complaint process at their schools. 

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Half-Day Tuesday, July 18, 2023; 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

PC 10: ADA Coordinator Session 3 – Employee Accommodations

L. Scott Lissner, The Ohio State University
Andrea Vassar, Tulane University

Location: B114

The ADA Coordinators preconference is broken down into four half-day segments - attendees may choose to attend all four or pick and choose among them to customize their learning. 

ADA Coordinators often oversee the provision of disability accommodations to not only students but also employees and those who hold the role of both student and employee simultaneously, such as graduate assistants and Work Study students. However, the process for determining employee accommodations is established by a different Title of the ADA than those that guide student accommodations. Attendees to this half-day session will learn the differences between student accommodation and employee accommodation processes, the role of the ADA Coordinator in both, and have tools to go back to their institutions to review their own employee accommodation processes. Plenty of time will be set aside for interaction.

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Half-Day Tuesday, July 18, 2023; 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm

PC 11: ADA Coordinator Session 4 – Policy Development Workshop

Chris Toutain, Reed College
Maranda Maxey, Appalachian State University

Location: A103-104

The ADA Coordinators preconference is broken down into four half-day segments - attendees may choose to attend all four or pick and choose among them to customize their learning. 

Are you new to policy development? Are you developing a policy for your campus, but have hit a roadblock? Is there a future policy that you have been interested in initiating, but are not sure where to begin? This half-day working session is designed as a venue for ADA Coordinators or others involved in campus disability policy work to exchange ideas and perspectives and work together towards developing policy for their campuses. The session will begin with a broad discussion of policy review and implementation processes, and then narrow to consider common elements of policy development. The presenters will ground policy development within larger policy processes and provide a policy development framework for participants. After these presentations, participants will be split into small groups based on the types of policies they are currently developing, or are interested in developing. Most of the session will spent in small groups discussing the concepts presented and exploring the ways in which they might inform or support participants’ work. Attendees will have an opportunity to interrogate their most challenging policy development issues in an venue that will allow for feedback and idea generation through collaborating and perspective sharing with other ADA Coordinators who are doing similar work and leave the conference with progress made towards their next policy-related project.

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PC12 and PC13: All About Assistive Technology

Whether you have a general understanding of assistive technology but need more training on how to implement it strategically, or would like a full overview of the role of assistive technology and how it supports students, these sessions are for you.

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Half-Day Monday, July 17, 2023; 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

PC 12: Assistive Technology - Exploration and Understanding: The “What, Who, and Why?”

Rachel Kruzel. Texthelp

Location: B116

Assistive technology is found throughout our world and is a central method of accommodating the students we work with. However, many professionals feel as though they lack the skill, understanding, expertise, resources, and time to make these tools a central part of their office structure and accommodations offered to students. These feelings and mindsets persist in our field, despite best practices given to our offices to use and implement these tools with students as often as possible. This is especially true given the known impacts they have on the user. In a time where higher ed continues to focus on resources and personnel scarcity, having the knowledge and understanding of this vital and central accommodation is essential for any Disability Resource professional to have. The reliance on technology as a reasonable accommodation is not going away - it’s only growing. 

This preconference session will take a deep dive into the world of assistive technology and explore the W’s of assistive technology:

  • What: What is assistive technology? What are the different types and categories of assistive technology? What software and tools are commonly used in higher education? What tools might students be using in K12 and as they transition into our offices?
  • Who: Who can benefit from these tools? Who are resources and supports to help the continued learning, understanding, and adoption of the use of these tools?
  • Why: Why should offices embrace assistive technology?

During our time together, we’ll answer these and other questions as we deepen our understanding of this topic. Some of our time together will be spent exploring these tools hands-on, so make sure you bring a device with you. Newer professionals as well as seasoned ones will leave this session with additional knowledge and expertise on assistive technology.

Session Guidance: Attendees are welcome to register for only the morning session on the exploration and understanding of assistive technology. However, consider also attending the afternoon session, where we’ll focus on technology implementation and decision making assistive. Both sessions of content are essential components to support your assistive technology provision and delivery process; ensuring your students are supported holistically with these tools.

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Half-Day Monday, July 17, 2023; 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm

PC 13: Assistive Technology - Implementation and Decision Making: The “How?”

Rachel Kruzel, Texthelp

Location: B116

This session is a continuation of the morning assistive technology (AT) session. Attendance of the morning session is not required to attend this afternoon session, but those new to AT should strongly consider attending both. For those attending only the afternoon session on implementation and decision making, there will be a short pre-reading asked of attendees, to ensure there is a baseline knowledge among all attending to maximize our time together. 

Many professionals who work in the field of disability resources have a basic understanding of assistive technology. They understand what it is and why it can benefit students and know the common types of assistive technology and programs that are commonly used to accommodate students. However, when it comes to making decisions on tools or implementing it strategically with particular learners or more broadly as a support tool across campus, professionals often wish they had more process and strategies.

This half-day preconference session will focus on the components of assistive technology provision, implementation, and decision making. Our time will be focused on the "how" of assistive technology:

  • How do I make decisions around what assistive technology is best for learners?
  • How do I effectively implement assistive technology with students on a wider scale on campus?
    How do I train students on these tools?
  • How do I acquire, track, and organize these resources?
  • How can I address reluctance, fear, or skepticism of use as it relates to student assistive technology implementation and use? 
  • How can I address my own professional reluctance, anxiety, or skepticism around embracing these tools within my office and the students I work with?

During our time together, we’ll focus on these and other “how” questions regarding assistive technology, through exploration, discussion, and collaboration among attendees. To ensure attendees have the skills and knowledge to capitalize on these supports in their offices and on campus, we’ll spend time discussing implementation science and strategies from an individual, office, and systemic perspective. Ideas around budgeting advocacy and procurement will also be touched on to support the process of obtaining these resources. Both new and seasoned professionals will leave with frameworks, strategies, and processes to support this key type of accommodation.

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Half-Day Monday, July 17, 2023; 9:00 am - 12:30 pm


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Half-Day Monday, July 17, 2023; 2:00 am - 5:30 pm

PC 15: Writing Accommodations That are Clear and Intentional

Paul Harwell, Dartmouth College
Mandie Greiwe, Marian University

Location: B113

Writing clear and effective accommodations language is part art and part science. There is no one right way to do this, but getting it right smooths the experience for everyone involved and limits the risk of confusion. The presenters, who have rewritten accommodation language at multiple schools, will offer a very practical “how to” preconference session with seven clear principles to apply when crafting meaningful accommodation language that support clarity, consistency, and action. This workshop will coach participants through the principles with real-world examples and provide an opportunity to apply the principles to either provided examples or your own current accommodation language. This session will be useful for anyone hoping to revisit their current accommodation language, but it will be particularly helpful for those who are addressing language they have recently “inherited” with a new role and those who are in the early stages of implementing an accommodation database system. 

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Half-Day Tuesday, July 18, 2023; 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

PC 16: Cultivating Leadership as a Future or New Disability Resources Director

Katy Washington, J.D., Ph.D., Virginia Commonwealth University

Location: A105-106

New disability office directors have big tasks to achieve. Whether you were promoted internally or you are new to your campus, your first few months as a director are critical. You must get right to work figuring things out - learning, leading, and managing. From day one, you must quickly assess your office, the staff, processes, students, and faculty while understanding campus policies, culture, and politics. In addition to acclimating to a new campus and/or position, directors must balance a multitude of tasks, including developing staff; determining and coordinating accommodations for individual students; serving as the subject matter expert and university leader in addressing inequities; consulting with other campus entities; and developing office policy, procedures, and practices. The Director must quickly learn the nuances specific to the campus and use that knowledge to help shape the direction of the office, form connections to students and faculty, and determine where gaps are and how to resolve them. 

Maybe you are a director who didn't get a great start in your new role and need resources to “right the ship.” Or perhaps you are thinking about applying for your first role as a director. No matter where you are in your career, this session will provide guidance that can be applied to each unique experience's opportunities and challenges. The presenter has over 16 years of experience leading Disability Resources Offices in different institutional settings, and has learned important lessons that have helped her to successfully transition to a new campus in an administrative position in this field.   

Guided by participant questions and shared experiences, we will cover the following topics:

  • Assessing Your Starting Point: Unique Campus and Office Dynamics
  • Building Capacity: The Importance of Progress Markers
  • Bringing YOU to your Position: Intersectionality, your “Why”, and How it Influences Your Leadership and Management Style
  • Creating Synergy: How to Find, Establish, and Maintain Campus Partnerships
  • Bonus Topic - Gleaning Knowledge from the Interview Process: A Two-Way Street of Information

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Half-Day Tuesday, July 18, 2023; 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm

PC 17: Home Sweet Home: Responding to the Rising Requests for Housing Accommodations

Zac Lounsbury, Colorado College
Ann Murphy, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Sara Rotunno, Colorado College
Rebecca Smith, Oberlin College;
Cristin Turner, University of Northern Colorado

Location: A105-106

Since students have returned to campus following remote learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic, housing requests such as single rooms, private bathrooms, and a place to decompress, are increasing, and decision-making has become increasingly complex. Housing Accommodation Committees and Disability Services offices must evaluate these requests to determine whether the request is required for access to housing or whether it is a student preference. Many are struggling with saying “No” to some of these student requests and sometimes experiencing student and parent backlash when they do. Presenters of this session have a plethora of combined experience in disability services, and have worked collaboratively to create and refine effective housing accommodation request decision-making strategies, policies, procedures, and appeal processes over the years. Additionally, the presenters represent various types of institutions and will speak to how the policies and procedures have been tailored to meet the needs of students at their specific campuses. Participants will have the opportunity to review case studies, take a deep dive into their housing processes, and collaborate as a team to discuss tools for managing the increasing requests for single rooms and other housing accommodations.

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Half-Day Tuesday, July 18, 2023; 9:00 am - 12:30 pm

PC 18: The Basics of Document Accessibility: A Hands On Learning Opportunity

Paul Harwell, Dartmouth University

Location: A103-104

Bring your laptop to this session and learn how to create more accessible Microsoft Word documents. The presenter will provide an overview of digital accessibility and document accessibility. Then you’ll get hands-on practice with document accessibility. We’ll work through a document together. You'll be provided with a practice file and learn how to identify and fix accessibility issues. We’ll also cover how to save it to PDF while maintaining accessibility. We'll work through it together and you will get direct assistance as needed. Mac and Windows users are both welcome. The only requirement is that you bring your laptop with Microsoft Word installed.

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Half-Day Tuesday, July 18, 2023; 2:00 pm - 5:30 pm

PC 19: A Survivor's Guide: Navigating the Community College Terrain!

Michelle Mitchell, M.Ed., Lehigh Carbon Community College
Teressa Eastman, MBA, Butler Community College
Marilyn Harren, M.S., LSW3, Collin College

Location: B114

This half-day session will cover various unique issues faced by two-year campuses by providing opportunities for small group discussion, dedicated time for networking, and experiential activities. Whether you work at a traditional community college, two-year regional or state university or some other configuration, we welcome you to join us for a half day filled with practical application and discovery. Topics will include unique characteristics of community colleges, dual/concurrently enrolled students, building relationships with faculty and staff through training on disability issues/accommodations, inclusive higher education programs, open enrollment issues, transitioning to college, evaluating/assessing your office, and more. We will end the session with a brief roundtable discussion: “I have a situation that…”


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Presenter Bios

Jamie Axelrod

Jamie Axelrod, MS, is the director of disability resources at Northern Arizona University, and a past president of AHEAD. He presents regularly on topics related to disability access and higher education, having expertise in disability law and policy, information and communications technology (ICT) access, and the reasonable accommodation process. Axelrod is a respected contributor to professional email lists, having received the Fink-Ryan Award for the quality of his guidance, and is a go-to consultant for complex issues. He has worked for the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s athletic department as a mental health therapist and for Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc., a disability rights advocacy law firm, where he served as an advocate for individuals with disabilities who were claiming that their civil rights had been violated. He has served as cochair of Northern Arizona University’s Commission on Disability Access and Design and on the board of directors for both AHEAD and the Coalition for Disability Access in Health Science Education.

Rick Bryck

Dr. Bryck serves as the Senior Director of the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training. Landmark College exclusively serves neurodivergent students, such as those with learning disabilities, like dyslexia, or ADHD, or autism. His work centers on the study of executive function (EF), including understanding disparities in EF, and testing the efficacy of interventions, programs, and strategies aimed at enhancing EF. He has served as an investigator on grants exploring: a cognitive training program for low income children; the well-being and academic effects of resilience training for neurodivergent college students; the effects of metacognitive and EF scaffolds in math problem solving; and as a program evaluator on an NSF funded project providing STEM mentoring for neurodivergent students. Rick regularly presents professional learning workshops on EF and educational techniques for enhancing learning, and regularly teaches an online course for educators: Student Engagement, Self-Regulation, and Motivation.

Bree Callahan

Bree Callahan, M.Ed. is the ADA Coordinator at the University of Washington and provides leadership, coordination, and oversight to advance the University’s ADA/Section 504 mission, vision, and strategic priorities relating to accessibility. Recent efforts include updating institutional ADA Transition Plans, revising grievance processes, establishing governance structures, and navigating regulatory engagements. Prior to this role, she directed disability services offices for fifteen years across three universities and has worked in a variety of higher education areas: admissions, academic advising, and residential life. She has over 19 years’ experience in higher education, determining accommodations and providing consultation on ADA compliance matters of digital, physical, and program access. Bree currently serves on the DO-IT Advisory Board and is a past Chair of AHEAD’s Standing Committee on Technology. She has presented at local, state, and national conferences on a variety of topics relating to disability and access, transition of students with disabilities to postsecondary education, and systemic change toward more inclusive campuses.

Teressa Eastman

Teressa Eastman earned an MBA from Wichita State University in 1992 and has served as the Director of Disability Services at Butler Community for 20 years. She has previous experience working in Special Education in the public school system. At Butler Community College, Teressa serves as the chairperson of the college’s CARE Team, as well as, a member of the college’s four person Threat Assessment Team. Teressa also serves on the college’s Inclusion Council and Satisfactory Academic Progress Review Team for Financial Aid. Teressa is also active nationally with the Association of Higher Education and Disability by serving as a co-chair of the Community College Special Interest Group. As a person with a disability, Teressa strongly believes in the value of the Americans with Disabilities Act and advocates for the rights and responsibilities of the disabled population.

Christina Fabrey

Christina Fabrey, M.Ed., PCC, BCC (she/her/hers) is the Director of the Student Success Center at Virginia Tech, having previously served as the Associate Dean for Advising and Academic Achievement at Prescott College. With a passion for promoting college student success and retention, Christina has been a higher education administrator for over 15 years, including roles as a disability resource provider and administrator. Christina is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC), a Board-Certified Coach (BCC), and an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator. As a Coach Trainer and Mentor, Christina has trained hundreds of higher education professionals worldwide in coaching skills. Christina is the co-author of numerous articles and book chapters that focus on holistic student support. Christina is the co-chair of the Coaching Knowledge and Practice Community for the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD).

Carol Funckes

Carol Funckes is the retired Chief Operating Officer for the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD). In this position, she designed and oversaw AHEAD’s national professional development agenda, including webinars and in-person and remote workshops and conferences; developed website and print materials on higher education and disability; and consulted individually with members. Prior to assuming this role, Carol worked at the University of Arizona’s Disability Resource Center for over 30 years, leading a staff of access consultants and service coordinators and managing initiatives in faculty development and digital accessibility. Carol is a Past President of AHEAD, has served as a trainer for several disability resource initiatives, and has presented and consulted extensively both nationally and internationally.

Mandie Greiwe

Mandie Greiwe (Gry-Vee) joined the Marian University community as the founding director of the Personalized Learning Center in July of 2022. Prior to becoming a Marian Knight, she has had the opportunity to work within disability offices at Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame, and Emory University over the last 10 years. Mandie enjoys having conversations with faculty, staff and students around accessibility being a shared responsibility and is working diligently to ensure that Marian University is a place where access is at the forefront. Over the last year Mandie has worked hard to support change within the campus culture, through building relationships, updating language and processes, writing policy, and getting buy-in from campus faculty, staff, and students alike.

Paul Grossman

Paul Grossman, J.D., is the Executive Counsel of AHEAD with over 40 years of service at OCR in Washington and San Francisco, most of them as a Chief Regional Attorney. Paul also taught disability law for over 20 years at Hastings College of Law, UC. Paul remains a frequent guest lecturer for AHEAD, CAPED, Hastings, UC Berkeley, the California Community College System and the National Association of ADA Coordinators. Paul served multiple terms on AHEAD’s Board of Directors and remains a member of the AHEAD Public Policy Committee as well as the Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) Expert Advisory Board. Through investigation, decision writing, and negotiations, Paul has addressed every form of discrimination in education including race, national origin, sex and disability, often developing new approaches for protecting the civil rights of students. Paul is the author of AHEAD’s publication, Laws, Policies and Processes. Paul joins Jamie Axelrod, M.S. and Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. in two book chapters on analytical tools and procedures for DSS officers when they face their most complex and challenging questions, planned for publication by AHEAD in late 2022.

Marilyn Harren

Marilyn Harren earned her M.S. in Disability Services in Higher Education from City University of New York in 2019. This combined her years of working as the Director of a disability services office at an open enrollment technical college in Texas, using her background as a certified special education teacher and licensed social worker. She is currently the past-president of AHEAD in Texas. She serves as a mentor to a small group of AHEAD “new to the field” community college disability staff from Texas and Illinois and assists the community college Knowledge and Skills special interest group. She works as the Director of ACCESS at Collin College in Texas.

Paul Harwell

Paul Harwell is currently the Associate Director of ADA/504 Compliance in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity at Dartmouth. Paul is nationally recognized for his work in higher education and disability. His work is grounded in the principles of civil rights and barrier removal being shared responsibilities across institutions. A 16-year higher education and disability resource professional, Paul has extensive experience supporting students, faculty, staff and public access and accommodation. He is passionate about supporting the development and growth of others and serves as a mentor to colleagues and students at Dartmouth and around the country. Currently, Paul is responsible for leadership on campus-wide disability access via policies, procedures, and training. Paul is a doctoral candidate in Higher Education Administration at Texas A&M University, with a focus on higher ed law, policy, and finance. His dissertation topic is about university faculty experiences teaching students with disabilities.

Emily Helft

Emily Helft has over a decade of direct Disabled student support experience in both K12 and higher education. Following her undergraduate work at Wheaton College (MA), where she majored in psychology, she embarked on a career focused on supporting children and young adults with disabilities. She earned her M.Ed. and Ed.S. from the College of William & Mary with an intense focus on psychoeducational assessment and evaluation, and worked as a school psychologist in the greater Richmond (VA) area for 3 years. After seeing the impact of regularly incorporating technology into her everyday field work supporting students, she transitioned into higher education as an assistive technology specialist, eventually expanding her skill set into accessible media, accommodation support, faculty consultation, academic skills development, and community education regarding accessibility and the Disabled community. Once she realized her true passion within the field was clearly tied to education and training, she joined Landmark’s College's LCIRT team to both narrow her focus and broaden her outreach. She is particularly interested in learning and cognition strategies, psychoeducational evaluation, and translating research into accessible content for students, teachers, and parents.

Amanda Kraus

Dr. Amanda Kraus is Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and Executive Director for Disability Resources at the University of Arizona. UA’s Disability Resource Center is one of the largest in the nation, and considered an international model of progressive service delivery, uniquely positioned to approach campus access systemically. Dr. Kraus is also Associate Professor of Practice in UA’s Center for the Study of Higher Education where she coordinates the MA program and teaches courses on student services and disability in higher education. She looks to disability studies to inform research and teaching that challenges deficit or tragedy rhetoric on disability and frame disability in the context of social justice, shaped by dynamics of power and privilege. Dr. Kraus is President of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Board of Directors and has had the privilege of delivering keynote addresses and facilitating workshops around the country and internationally. Dr. Kraus earned her MA and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Higher Education.

Rachel Kruzel

Rachel Kruzel, ATP, is an assistive technology and accessibility professional and currently works as a Territory Director for one of the major assistive technology companies supporting higher ed and K-12 education. She is a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional and spent over ten years working as an Assistive Technology and Accommodations Specialist in Disability Resource Offices in Minnesota. During her time in higher ed, she built and developed assistive technology programs at both schools she worked at, as well as coordinated the provision of accommodations. Rachel is a national expert in the areas of assistive technology, digital accessibility, alternative format course materials, accommodation provision around testing and notetaking, as well as supervising student workers. Rachel presents both regionally and nationally on these topics and others, as well as consults with students, parents, schools, and organizations. She is a member of AHEAD and MNAHEAD, as well as sits on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Assistive Technology Leadership Team.

L. Scott Lissner

ADA Coordinator and 504 Compliance Officer. Scott is also an Associate of the John Glenn School of Public Policy and serves as a lecturer for the Moritz College of Law, the Knowlton School of Architecture and Disability Studies. Scott is a Past President and Public Policy Chair for AHEAD. He is a regular and popular presenter both nationally and internationally.

Zac Lounsbury

Zac Lounsbury is the Access and Accommodation Specialist at Colorado College, focusing on student life accommodations such as housing, emotional support animals, and meal plans. Zac entered the field with a diverse background in education. His experiences range from teaching Shakespeare to middle schoolers to leading instruction in a classroom for students with autism spectrum disorder to helping facilitate post-secondary social justice education curricula. Zac earned his BA in theatre from Middlebury College. He completed his graduate work in higher education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he also worked in the Disability Services Office.

Emily Lucio

ADA/504 Coordinator, AHEAD ADA Coordinators KPC co-chair. Emily has 25+ years’ experience working in both DS director and ADA Coordinator roles, and has been a member of AHEAD since 1992, serving on the Board of Directors from 2007-2010. Emily has also been the Editor for the AHEAD newsletter, chair of the Policy Committee, and JPED reviewer.

Maranda Maxey

Maranda Maxey the University's ADA /504 Coordinator and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer at Appalachian State University. She also is the Director for the Office of Disability Resources. Maranda has nearly 20 years experience working within the field of disability resources and compliance. Maranda is a member of the National ADA Coordinators Association, the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and is heavily involved in North Carolina’s AHEAD affiliate where she has served on the Board of Directors for 8 years. Maranda has experience consulting with various constituencies including other universities and law firms on the Americans with Disabilities Act, specifically Title I and Title II along with process evaluation for efficiencies.

Gabriel Merrell

Gabriel Merrell is a certified ADA Coordinator who has been working in areas directly related to physical access, IT access, accommodations, inclusion, and universal design for 15+ years. He is a Past President of ORAHEAD, and the co-chair of the AHEAD ADA Coordinators Knowledge and Practice Community.

Michelle Mitchell

Michelle Mitchell earned a M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Penn State University and has been in the profession over 18 years. Seeing the inequity of opportunities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Michelle has endeavored to change opportunities by changing the way our culture interprets disability and championing liberation. Through this work, Michelle has developed sustainable relationships opening the doors of inclusion across campus. With over 11 years at Lehigh Carbon Community College as a Disability Learning Specialist and various community connections, Michelle has collaborated on a number of projects to open doors of equity across her community.

Ann Murphy

Ann Murphy currently serves as the Director of Disability Services at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University. Ann has worked diligently to promote access for students with disabilities and to facilitate inclusive education in the university environment for over 20 years. Her career began as a Retention Specialist in TRIO Student Support Services at Black Hills State University, where she developed the framework for their first DS program. She also served as Director of Disability Support Services at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, for ten years. Ann has been instrumental in policy and program development, creative solutions such as the recent development of a Sensory Space, and mentorship of many disability services staff, some progressing from student employees or access coordinators to directorship.

Rhonda Rapp

My name is Rhonda H. Rapp, Ph.D., and I am an educational consultant with a specialty in removing barriers to learning. I have been an Educational Diagnostician since 1979 (in fact, in my practicum, we tested some of the first students for “special education” placement under the new Public Law 94-142 - now known as IDEA); was a diagnostician/prescriptive teacher for the state of Oklahoma (working with both urban schools, rural schools and “institutional” schools); have been a disability services provider at the postsecondary level for over twenty-five years; and continue to provide training focused on diagnostic assessments and working with students with learning disabilities and/or attention disabilities. At the last university I worked at (before I retired), I got the chance to conduct diagnostic assessments for undergraduates, for individuals in our graduate programs, and for our Law School; I also prepared the documentation for the Bar Exam. Over the years, I have had the privilege to conduct in-depth psychoeducational assessments for a widely diverse population of individuals in a variety of settings. My master’s degree is in Educational Counseling Psychology, with post-Master’s certification as a Diagnostician and my doctorate is in Educational Human Resource Development. I have worked in disability services at both a public community college (which was a HBCU & HSI) and at private doctoral-granting universities (which were HSIs).

Sara Rotunno

Sara is currently the Assistant Director of Accessibility Resources at Colorado College. She has worked in this role for eight years and is thrilled to work in a career that requires attention to detail and continued learning. Sara has been involved with student support through housing, programming, crisis management, and social justice initiatives throughout her career. Prior to this role, Sara worked in residential life at three different institutions and has always found it fascinating to assist students in thinking about effective living and learning spaces on a college campus.

Jodi Sleeper-Triplett

Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, BA, MCC, BCC, is a Master Certified Coach, trainer, mentor and speaker. She is the author of Empowering Youth with ADHD, a contributing author of Becoming Self-Determined: Creating Thoughtful Learners in a Standards-Driven, Admissions-Frenzied Culture (2016) and Becoming Self-Determined: Practical Strategies for a Changing World (2021), and co-editor of From Transactional to Transformational: Coaching in Disability Resources (in print). Her company, JST Coaching & Training, provides research-based student and neurodiversity coach training programs to individuals and educational institutions. Jodi is the recipient of the 2016 CHADD Hall of Fame Award & 2017 ADHD Coaches Organization Founders Award. She is seen by many as the foremost authority on student and neurodiversity coaching. During her two-year term as president of the Association of Coach Training Organizations, Jodi's platform was focused on diversity, equity and inclusion in coach training and she continues to forward social justice initiatives. www.jstcoachtraining.com.

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca ‘Bec’ Smith currently serves as the Assistant Dean and Director of the Office for Disability & Access (ODA) at Oberlin College and Conservatory. She has worked with disabled populations for more than 15 years and is committed to ensuring access and equity in the higher education environment. Bec has held various roles in disability services, including Interpreter, Interpreter Coordinator, Access Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Director. Bec wrote her master’s thesis on the effectiveness of accommodations in the higher education setting. Recognizing disability as a critical aspect of equity, diversity, and intersecting identities is one of her core values.

Melanie Thornton

Melanie Thornton is the Coordinator of Access and Equity Outreach at the University of Arkansas - Partners for Inclusive Communities. In this role, she provides training and technical assistance to a variety of organizations on topics related to disability, access, inclusion, and leadership. She is passionate about assisting organizations in creating cultures of access and inclusion and assisting professional colleagues in operationalizing social justice perspectives of disability.

Chris Toutain

Chris Toutain serves as the Title IX and Section 504 Coordinator for Reed College. Chris earned master’s degrees in Communication Arts and Sciences, and Student Affairs Administration in Higher Education, and his Ph.D. in Education, with an emphasis in disability studies. Chris has administrative experience in campus housing, student conduct, and sexual misconduct prevention and response - with expertise in policy and procedure creation and revision across these areas. His research interests focus on issues of student disability across the co-curriculum.

Cristin Turner

Cristin Turner is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked in and studied disability since she was an undergraduate student at the University of South Dakota. There she conducted research and wrote her honors thesis on university students’ attitudes toward persons with disabilities, intending to bring attention to stigma and areas for societal growth around the perception of disability. Cristin now serves as the Director of the Disability Resource Center at the University of Northern Colorado, where she assisted in the initial development of formal Housing and ESA policies and procedures as a Graduate Assistant 8 years ago.

Mary Lee Vance

Mary Lee Vance, Ph.D. is the Director of Services to Students with Disabilities the Disability Access Center  at California State University Sacramento. During her postsecondary career, she has directed multiple student services including academic advising, career services, TRIO (McNair and Student Services), minority recruitment and retention, enrollment management, student teaching and certification, and minority affairs. In addition, she has served as the interim Director for the Office of Equal Opportunity, Title IX and DHR. Mary Lee has directed disability services at the University of California Berkeley, University of Montana, George Mason University, University of Wisconsin Superior and Orange Coast College. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses, including disability studies, and has successfully written federal grants, as well as published in refereed journals, books and periodicals. She is the editor of DISABLED Faculty and Staff in a Disabling Society: Multiple Perspectives in Higher Education, co-editor of Beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act: Proactively Planning for Accessible Post-Secondary Educational Offerings Now and into the Future, and Advising Students with Disabilities: Developing Universal Success. She served two consecutive terms on the AHEAD Board of Directors, has through the years been active with the REDD SIG, and is a reviewer for two refereed journals, the AHEAD JPED and NACADA journal. Among other honors, Mary Lee was presented AHEAD’s Professional Recognition Award in 2012 and the Duraese Hall Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award in 2020.

Tina Vires

Director of the Office of Accessibility Resources and Services, AHEAD ADA Coordinators KPC co-chair. Tina is a certified ADA Coordinator. She has over 18 years’ experience in the field of disability in Higher Ed, including two years as a Title IX Deputy and four years as an ADA Compliance Officer, and has presented on various DS related topics at numerous national, state, and local conferences and events. Tina also previously served as president of SC AHEAD and chair of the SE Regional AHEAD Conference (2017) and currently serves on the NC AHEAD Board of Directors.

Katy Washington

Katy Washington, J.D., PhD., is the inaugural Chief Accessibility Officer at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Office of Institutional Equity, Effectiveness, and Success and serves as the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator. She currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for AHEAD. She has spent over eighteen years working with faculty and staff to facilitate an inclusive campus environment for disabled students. In her current role, Katy uses an innovative approach to proactively remove physical and digital barriers to equal access by collaborating with workgroups and partners across the university; administering the employment-related accommodation process; and ensuring university compliance with relevant state and federal laws which directly impact equal access and inclusion of disabled employees, students, and visitors. Katy received a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from the University of Central Arkansas. She also holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas.

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