This spring, the Disability Panel has evolved from a relatively low-profile college committee into an action-oriented group of motivated access advocates.
The Disability Panel is a College committee composed of students, faculty, and staff that has been in place since the early 2000s. The original purposes of the Disability Panel were to address disability-related issues on campus. Historically, the committee has also identified physical barriers that Disability Services then partnered with Facilities Services and others on campus to address.
The committee now includes representatives from across the campus community, which is a change that was suggested by DEI Coordinator Liliana Madrid. She encouraged the Disability Services team to invite campus partners to join the Disability Panel in order to improve communication across the College and to generate access initiatives in every area of the College.
Staff from Student Leadership and Service, Facilities Services, Admissions, Marketing, the Student Success Center, DEI, the Dean of Students office, and the Executive Leadership Team voluntarily joined the committee.
The Disability Panel is co-chaired by Assistant Director for Disability Services Carolyn Koning and Director of Sponsored Programs Janey McMillen. Koning had chaired the committee since 2017, and McMillen joined this year.
“New members and shared leadership have brought innovation and new life to the Disability Panel,” said Koning.
The committee developed an updated Mission Statement, as well as specific Vision, Purpose, Goals, and Objectives. Each member is part of a subcommittee assigned one of the four primary objectives:
McMillen noted that the panel is working to be more proactive in addressing accessibility-related issues on campus.
“The committee is in a time of transition that will include increasing campus awareness of both the benefits of universal accessibility and the importance of recognizing disability as a valued aspect of diversity,” McMillen said. “Our ultimate vision is a college community where programs, services, and environments are universally accessible and usable by all people.”
During the fall 2023 semester, the Disability Panel will begin implementing the activities and strategies planned this spring. Please contact Carolyn Koning (email@example.com or ext. 8427) or Janey McMillen (firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 8479) for more information about the Disability Panel and to get involved in the anticipated accessibility efforts.