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Honoring Social Justice Values While Maintaining Rigorous and Appropriate Decision Making (a Panel Discussion)

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AHEAD members frequently express that they have a commitment to the principles of social justice but aren’t always sure how to apply it in their work. Some may even feel that social justice goals can be at odds with current institutional processes. This panel of experienced disability resource providers will discuss issues such as: What exactly is social justice relative to our work? How can we articulate it for ourselves and effectively communicate it on our campus? How do we integrate values of social justice into institutional practices and processes? How do we promote a narrative that embraces social justice for disabled people as a win for our institution?

Panelists with experience with many types of student diversity will share the lessons they’ve learned, the personal principles they follow, and what they wish they had known earlier when balancing the complexities of institutional policies and the nuances of students’ personal situations. Plenty of time will be reserved for Q&A.

Did you miss the live webinar? You can now purchase a recording of this webinar and others from the Fall 2021 Recorded Webinar Series.


  • Karen Andrews

    Karen Andrews, M.Ed. is the Director of the Disability Services Center at the University of California Irvine. She serves on AHEAD’s Board of Directors as a Director-at-Large and has served AHEAD as the Chair of the Racial and Ethnic Diversity and Disability (REDD Knowledge & Practice Community, a conference presenter, session moderator, and proposal reviewer. Karen has a firm foundation in understanding the complexities of eliminating barriers, providing accommodations and services, and fighting to promote inclusive excellence. She is experienced in leading large, diverse teams.

  • L. Scott Lissner

    L. Scott Lissner is the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator and 504 Compliance Officer for The Ohio State University, where he 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. Engaged in community and professional service, Scott is a Past President and Public Policy Chair of the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and serves on the Board of Directors for The Center for Disability Empowerment, VSA Ohio, and the Editorial Board for Thompson’s ADA Compliance Guide. He is a regular and popular presenter both nationally and internationally, serves on numerous boards in support of access and equity. Recent publications include The Impact of the ADAAA of 2008 on Higher Education, Thompsons Publications; Universal Design in the Institutional Setting: Weaving a Philosophy into Campus Planning in Universal Design: From Accessibility to Zoning (J. Cowley-Evans & J. Nasser (Eds.); From Legal Principle to Informed Practice with J. E. Jarrow; and A Long View of Change, Disability Blog, The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.

  • Adam Meyer

    Adam Meyer, Ph.D. is the Director of the Student Accessibility Services office and of Inclusive Education Services at the University of Central Florida. He was previously the Director of disability resource offices at Eastern Michigan University and Saint Louis University. Adam has served on the AHEAD Board of Directors and on AHEAD Standing Committees. He presents regularly on documentation, the social model of disability, leadership and office operations, initial student interviews, office data, and budgetary basics. Adam worked in the intellectual disability field for nearly 10 years prior to working in higher education. Adam can be reached via email at

  • Maria Schiano

    Maria Schiano is the Director of Accessibility Services at County College of Morris (CCM) in New Jersey. She was appointed to AHEAD’s Board of Directors to serve as a Director-At-Large as the Community College representative. She also holds the role of the AHEAD Affiliates liaison, which helps connect affiliate groups across the country. Maria has served as the President of New Jersey AHEAD for the past three years. She holds her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Women’s Studies from Brooklyn College and her Masters in Social Work from New York University. She has over 18 years of higher education experience, specializing in disability services and access, LGBTQ + services and promoting equity and inclusion through a social justice lens.

  • Melanie Thornton

    Melanie Thornton is the Coordinator of Access and Equity Outreach at the University of Arkansas - Partners for Inclusive Communities. In this position, she provides professional development and technical assistance on topics related to disability, diversity, digital access, leadership, and design. Previously, she worked at the Disability Resource Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock where she served as the Associate Director and Director of Project PACE, a Department of Education model demonstration grant. She led the campus community in increasing capacity related to Web accessibility and inclusive curricular design. Melanie has also served as a trainer for Project ShIFT, a project designed to develop the leadership skills of professionals across the country and supporting them in infusing disability studies perspectives into their practices. Melanie has presented at state, national and international conferences on topics related to disability and access and has worked as an independent consultant in a variety of capacities for 10 years.

  • Katy Washington

    Katy Washington serves as the Director in the Office of Disability Access at the University of North Texas. She has spent over fifteen years working with faculty and staff to facilitate an inclusive campus environment for students with disabilities in various educational settings. 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. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) as the President-Elect. Dr. Washington is a highly motivated student affairs administrator with seventeen years of professional experience in various areas of student development such as disability services, standardized testing, student development, academic advising, and student success/retention programming. She has worked within a variety of institutional sizes and types including metropolitan and land-grant universities, a liberal arts college, and urban and Hispanic-serving two-year colleges and universities. She has fifteen years of progressive experience in Disability Services in the postsecondary setting, with eleven years in an administrative capacity.

October 26, 2021
Tue 1:00 PM EDT

Duration 2H 0M

This live web event has ended.

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