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If Your Diversity Doesn’t Include Disability, It’s Not Diverse Enough
During this 90-minute session, each panelist will provide remarks to address challenges, opportunities, and best practices from their campuses. After the panelists’ remarks, the moderator will pose questions and engage the panelists in a conversation about disabilities services.

The session will center on the following 5 points:

1. Implementing Universal Design as a best practice
2. Shifting the culture so that Disability is a core component of D&I
3. Unexpected impact of COVID is the shift for schools to begin to level the playing field for students with disabilities with the increased accommodations for all learners
4. Giving higher education disabilities professionals a seat at the administrative leadership table with groups like Student Support Services and Faculty Development
5. Normalization of disabilities and the implementation of best practices into every aspect of student life

Oct 28, 2021 01:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Jamie Axelrod
@Northern AZ University
Jamie Axelrod, M.S. is the Director of Disability Resources at Northern Arizona University and a past-president of AHEAD. Jamie presents regularly on topics related to disability access and higher education, having expertise in disability law and policy, communication and information technology (ICT) access, and the reasonable accommodation process. Jamie is a respected contributor to professional listservs, having received the Fink-Ryan Award for the quality of his guidance, and 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.
Cheryl Lyons
@The Ohio State University
Cheryl Lyons is a higher education professional with over 25 years of service at mid-size and large universities in California and Ohio. She has expertise in organizational leadership, staff training and development, and change management. She currently serves as the Director of Student Life Disability Services at The Ohio State University, a unit which partners with approximately 5,000 diverse students with disabilities to coordinate services and programs that enable equal access to university life.
Michael Martinez
@University of San Diego
Mike Martinez is the director of the Disability & Learning Difference Resource Center at the University of San Diego. Mike has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology & Elementary Education from Gonzaga University and a M.A. (School Counseling) & Ph.D. (Counseling Psychology) from Marquette University. Prior to his current role, Mike was an elementary school teacher and then mental health counselor.
Paula Possenti-Perez
@Syracuse University
Paula Possenti-Perez M.S. Ed began her tenure at Syracuse University as the Director of the Center for Disability Resources. Her major responsibilities include the oversite and administration of all disability-related resources and supports for undergraduate and graduate students attending Syracuse University and SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry. Committed to a climate of inclusive excellence and incorporating disability as a rich expression of diversity, under her leadership, CDR endeavors to be a national leader in creating a cultural shift in higher education, embracing a critical lens to address social justice and disability, and adopting an equity-minded praxis.
Charnessa Warren
@University of Chicago
Charnessa holds a Bachelor of Science in Speech & Hearing Science, and a Master of Science degree in Disability and Human Development, with a concentration in Rehabilitative Technology. Charnessa is a current doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, majoring in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, with a concentration in Diversity & Equity in Education. Charnessa is also a NCCJ St. Louis certified DEI FaciliTrainer. Charnessa currently works with the University of Chicago as the Director of Student Disability Services, as well as leads the Ivy Plus Disability Services Workgroup for higher education disability service providers. With 23 years of experience as a disability accommodation specialist and assistive technology subject matter expert, she has grown into a well-respected disability accomplice, speaker, leader, and thought partner in establishing innovative ways to incorporate disability as a part of D&I efforts.
Clyde Wilson Pickett
@University of Pittsburgh
Dr. Clyde Wilson Pickett currently serves as the Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Pickett was appointed to this position after a national search in 2020. Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Pickett served and Chief Diversity Officer for Minnesota State and before that he served as Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pittsburgh, PA. Dr. Pickett completed his B.S. degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Kentucky and his M. Ed in Adult and Higher Education Leadership with an emphasis in Counseling and Multiculturalism from Morehead State University. He completed his doctoral study at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education with a focus on Language, Literacy, and Culture.