When Adrian Autry ’94 led the Syracuse University men’s basketball team into action against the University of New Hampshire to open the 2023-24 season, there were many familiar faces in the stands inside the JMA Wireless Dome cheering on the…
Center for Disability Resources Honors Faculty and Staff During Annual Awards Ceremony
Each year, the Center for Disability Resources (CDR) recognizes faculty and staff members for their work in advocating for students and supporting the center in its mission to empower students, enhance equity and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion.
This year the center received 43 nominations from students who wanted to acknowledge a faculty or staff member who made a difference in their academic lives.
“Elevating the voices of our students, along with promoting disability inclusion as everyone’s responsibility, is an important subtext to the awards,” says Paula Possenti-Perez, director of the Center for Disability Resources.
Many of the nominations had recurring themes: faculty and staff nominees provided guidance and support, were understanding and went above and beyond expectations to provide accommodations.
Since its inception in 2015, the center has honored individuals at an annual in-person event, except during the pandemic. “It’s a chance to gather and connect with faculty and staff from around the University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at the end of each semester and celebrate the work and caring that everyone puts into their work,” says Possenti-Perez. “It is always moving when students share their experiences, and the nominated faculty and staff are given a rare and public opportunity to be acknowledged. We often only hear the complaints, what went wrong, and not the good stuff like we do during this ceremony.”
The CDR staff hopes the awards are affirming and motivational to the rest of the community—and expand on the understanding that creating an inclusive and accessible environment is the responsibility of the entire campus and goes beyond compliance.
This year’s faculty and staff members being recognized are the following:
- Alec Barbour, acting instructor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, for his understanding, patience and support of students enduring mental health challenges.
- Gabriela Bermudez, student success advisor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, for her caring guidance and support of students in need of academic support.
- Emily Brown, assistant teaching professor in the College of Law, for guiding a student during a challenging situation, for listening and validating the student’s feelings and encouraging them to advocate for themselves and sharing the appropriate resources to do so.
- Brian Ehret, part-time forensic science instructor in the College of Arts and Sciences, for his passion to share knowledge about his field in a manner in which the students understand but also takes the extra steps to help accommodate those who need extra assistance and motivates them to succeed.
- Britt Eversole, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, for his respectful and clear communication with students and exceptional understanding of disability-related difficulties affecting student performance in the classroom.
- Jenny Gluck, retired associated chief information officer for academic services, for tirelessly working to advance accessibility for all University employees and students.
- Laura Lape, associate professor in the College of Law, for fostering a classroom environment where students with disabilities feel comfortable learning.
- Dana Olwan, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, for her understanding, compassion and guidance for her students and taking the time to assist them with their struggles.
- Kathleen Roland-Silverstein, associate professor of applied music and performance in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, for encouraging and supporting students to overcome barriers posed by their disabilities.
- Mary Thompson, math instructor at SUNY ESF, for encouraging students who struggle to persevere in an understanding matter and creating a learning environment that was interesting, fun and made connections between the classroom and real-world examples.
- Bradley Gorham, chair of the communications department in the Newhouse School of Public Communications, for his support of all students by making education accessible to students who are struggling with illness, regardless of whether they have accommodations or not.