Skip to main content

Identifying Policies and Practices that Perpetuate Ableism and Generating Ideas for Change

Thank you

This live web event has ended. Thank you for attending.


Many disability offices have ableism lurking in their policies and procedures and don’t even realize it. Identifying and updating those will make your office significantly more welcoming and supportive for disabled students. This webinar will begin with an exploration of subtle ableism and what it looks like in higher ed, change theory, and models of supporting disabled students in higher education. The presenters will then each discuss a situation in their higher education professional experiences where ableism was a factor, how policy and practices were involved, and how they were able to make small changes that made an enormous difference for the experience of disabled students. The discussion will be guided by the Refocus 2.0 Disability Professionals Toolkit.


  • Susan Mann Dolce

    Susan (Sue) Mann Dolce is an Associate Director of the UB Accessibility Resources office. Sue’s Ph.D. is in Rehabilitation Science and her clinical background is in Occupational Therapy, both which support the Participation Consultation Model she developed and uses in her work with UB students with disabilities. As Co-chair of the AHEAD Disability Studies Special Interest Group (DSSIG) at AHEAD since 2010, and now part of the Leadership Team of the Disability Identity Studies and Culture (DISC) Knowledge and Practice Community (KPC), which emerged from the DSSIG, Sue is committed to working from a Disability Justice Transformational Model and working with others to facilitate change in day to day professional life. Her research and program evaluation interests include participation, disability studies, collaborative programming, and universal design and programming, including Universal Design Yoga, which she started at UB in 2009. Universal Design Yoga was a recipient of a 2014 SUNY award in student programming. Sue has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 40 years and is a registered yoga teacher through the Yoga Alliance (RYT) and certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT).

  • Rosemary Kreston

    Rosemary (Rose) Kreston retired from Colorado State University in 2020 after 40 years as the director of the Student Disability Center (formerly Resources for Disabled Students). In that position, she saw the office develop from a two-person office (director; administrative assistant) to one that employed 10 professionals, 32 student staff, and 20 auxiliary staff. Rose has a M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling and is currently (trying) to complete her Ph.D. in Sociology. Rose identifies as a disabled person and she began her career at a time when documentation was not a requirement for students to receive support in gaining access in higher education. She has always approached her work as a partner with faculty and staff to ensure students with disabilities had access to all programs in which they wanted to participate. Rose has done extensive reading in Disability Studies which has given her a deeper understanding of Ableism and continues to recognize her own culpability in inadvertently being an ableist at times. While she has always been a member of the AHEAD Disability Identity, Studies and Culture (DISC) Knowledge and Practice Community (KPC), she has recently taken on a greater leadership role for this Community.

  • Elizabeth (liz) Anh Thomson

    liz thomson (they/them), PhD, is Director at the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Intercultural Programs and Asst. Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Minneota Morris. They identify as disabled, queer, and a Vietnamese adoptee. They have been working in higher education for nearly 25 years teaching and organizing co-curricular programs. Liz has served as an adjunct instructor in Asian American Studies and Women's Studies, guest lecturer in Disabilities and Human Development, and an academic support course instructor. Their experience includes facilitating programs using dialogue methods; organizing large, campus wide diversity and inclusion programs and events; and working relationships centered in collaboration and community building. Liz recently earned their PhD in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their academic research is exploring the new phenomenon of disability cultural centers in U.S. higher education. They hold an M.A. in Women and Gender Studies from Roosevelt University and a B.A. in German and Sociology/Anthropology from Lake Forest College.

  • Cathie Axe

    Cathie Axe is the Executive Director of Johns Hopkins’ Student Disability Services. She is responsible for overseeing and developing disability services across the university to increase accessibility and inclusion. With over 30 years of higher education experience, and 27 of those years managing disability services at a variety of institutions, she has had the opportunity to actively engage in the evolution of services and perspectives around disability, accessibility and inclusion. Cathie received her Master’s in Education with a focus on Counseling and Development at George Mason University where she also got her start in disability services. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Brown University in Economics. Her work in disability services has spanned a variety of institutions including Northern Virginia Community College and American University where served as an LD/ADHD specialist. Her most recent role was as Associate Dean and Director of Accessibility Services at Brown University where she spent almost 16 years.

October 20, 2022
Thu 3:00 PM EDT

Duration 1H 30M

This live web event has ended.