2013 SAC Excellence Awards

Among the 2013 winners of the Student Accessibility Excellence Awards are (from left) Raymond Fleming, Krislyn World, Gloria Miller and Nicole Heinen. (Photo by Troye Fox)

The UWM Student Accessibility Center (SAC) honored the 2013 winners of the Student Accessibility Center Excellence Awards on May 10. The awards celebrate and honor faculty and staff who have demonstrated awareness of, and sensitivity to, students with unique needs. There are seven equal access winners and two honorable mentions.

Raymond Fleming
Professor, Psychology
College of Letters & Science

According to his student nominator, Raymond Fleming “recognized that I learn very differently than the average student” and accommodated by making sure that student had enough time to complete quizzes and allowances for extended due dates because “I struggle to understand the material in the traditional way.”

In addition, Fleming met with the nominator for an hour every week to go over class material, recognizing that the very best way for her to learn was one-on-one. “Ray has always provided the help and encouragement that has made me feel less like a student with a disability and more like a student gifted with the knowledge to excel in a subject I enjoy.”

Fleming’s views on teaching, like his views on working beyond the classroom, are inclusive: “If a teacher can help his or her students believe in themselves, and in their abilities, there is nothing they cannot achieve.”

Nicole Heinen
Associate Student Services Coordinator
Panther Academic Support Services

Nicole Heinen’s nominator, a SAC counselor, notes: “Nicole displays sensitivity to the needs of SAC students through her efforts to match up students with tutors that will be a good fit. She has also contacted SAC staff to alert us to potential student issues and has thus forged a close working relationship with this department.”

The nominator provided this example of the kind of support Heinen provides: “When a tutor was not available for a student who desperately needed a tutor for History 203, Nicole offered to tutor the student herself over her lunch hour, if necessary. Because of her efforts, the student was able to pass the class with an excellent grade.”

“When working with any student, it is important to allow the student to talk freely,” Heinen says. “Having empathy for the student is key; each student and their experiences are different, so you cannot judge or label the student.”

Lanlan Han
Teaching Assistant, Chemistry
College of Letters & Science

According to her student nominator, Lanlan Han, who is currently teaching assistant for Chemistry 104 and working on her Ph.D. in chemistry, is “extremely patient and observant of my learning strengths and the ways that allow me best understanding of material…. For discussion, she made worksheets that had varying levels of difficulty but always clearly presented enough information so that everyone could work at their own pace.”

In addition, the nominator stated she’s “never had a teaching assistant go to such lengths to ensure ALL students have access and understanding of concepts.”

Han’s own statements on teaching illustrate the points made about her by students. “Be patient with students and encourage them to ask questions,” and “help them as much as I can, even [outside] office time.”

Gloria Mille
Lecturer, Organizations & Strategic Management
Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business

According to her student nominator, Gloria Miller was “a beacon in a sea of darkness. I’m very doubtful I would have been able to complete my first semester back to school without her as my professor. She made me believe in myself. Something I had not felt since my accident.”

Miller worked to ensure that the nominator received required accommodations in a manner that did not single the student out to the rest of the class. In addition, the student nominator said, “She fostered compassion and gave me hope without pity.”

“I stress relevance in everything I teach,” Miller says. “I see a common bond between teaching students with disabilities and making reasonable accommodations for disabled employees – it’s just the right thing to do. Every student deserves respect and every chance to succeed. It’s our job to provide that for all our students.”

Jude Rathburn
Senior Lecturer,
Organizations & Strategic Management
Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business

Jude Rathburn’s student nominator spoke highly of her teaching style: “She makes education interesting, exciting and meaningful…she makes her lessons understandable for all students whether they are disabled or not…. Dr. Jude spends many of her personal hours uploading instructions verbally and visually [onto D2L].”

The student also noted ways in which Rathburn offered support, asking the student if she was doing well, needed any extra support, etc. “She makes time to meet with me to explain assignments or go over any notes.” The student emphasized that this time was outside Rathburn’s normal office hours.

“My primary goal as a teacher is to offer the support and encouragement needed to help every student succeed,” Rathburn explains. “I strive to help all students recognize their talents and develop strategies to overcome their weaknesses and limitations. I believe we can learn a lot about persistence and resilience by listening to the experiences of students with disabilities.”

Jose Torres
Retired Faculty, Social Work
Helen Bader School of Social Welfare

One student who nominated Jose Torres noted the following: “I sent my professor a SAC VISA. He responded with respect, acceptance and warmth. Some of the other professors did not respond. He asked me if there was anything he needs to know to facilitate my experience in the classroom.”

A second student noted that Torres showed professionalism and sensitivity. “The other student wanted to share her story, and Dr. Torres was encouraging. [He] set time aside to have an open discussion with classmates.” The class later participated in question-and-answer sessions.

Finally, the students stated: “Dr. Torres is instrumental and known by many to demonstrate sensitivity for a diverse student population, and I highly recommend him for this award.”

Krislyn World
Senior Lecturer, Dance
Peck School of the Arts

Krislyn World taught her student nominator in both African Dance and Salsa. “During the class, Kris always ensures I have a clear view of my interpreter…oftentimes I lose track of what I am doing because I cannot hear the different beats of the drums. …Kris suggested I take time to watch the drummers to get an idea of the beat. …I have gained a huge understanding due to Kris’ efforts to help me understand and fully include me in every aspect of the class.”

“I learn how to teach better because I am presented with new and sometimes difficult challenges to overcome,” World states. “I have learned that I am fortunate that I do not have a disability to consider when dancing. I find the students that I have taught with disabilities to be most amazing, courageous, and smart…. The signers who partner with the students are extraordinary.”

Honorable Mentions

Honorable mentions were awarded for their overall support to Alan Magayne-Roshak, Senior Photographer, University Relations and Communications, and Barbara Simon, Senior Counselor, Student Accessibility Center.