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Excellence in Access and Inclusion Awards

About the 2020 Excellence in Access and Inclusion Awards

Services for Students with Disabilities annually hosts the Excellence in Access & Inclusion Awards reception to recognize faculty, staff, departments, and programs for contributing to an inclusive and accessible environment at Virginia Tech.

SSD honors award recipients with an Excellence in Access and Inclusion award certificate. Additionally, the Sally Bohland Award for Exceptional Leadership in Access and Inclusion is awarded annually to a faculty member who serves as a model for others in the areas of access, accessibility, and/or inclusion of students with disabilities, and whose leadership fosters a culture of access and inclusion. The Sally Bohland Award for Innovative Service is awarded annually to administrative and professional faculty, staff, or students who serve students with disabilities in new and original ways, and influence our campus structure in such a way that students with disabilities have room to demonstrate their full potential at Virginia Tech.

While we had great plans to honor award recipients this spring with a ceremony, due to current COVID-19 events we had to adapt and change our plans. However, we still wanted to celebrate and honor our award nominees and recipients. We did this during the week of June 8-12, 2020, by sharing nominations and congratulations on SSD social media accounts. Be sure to follow us @VirginiaTechSSD on Facebook and Twitter, and keep scrolling below to see how the week unfolded.

Please contact the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office at 540-231-3788 or ssdoutreach@vt.edu with any questions.

 

June 8, 2020

SSD and Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Frank Shushok, Jr., welcome you to the 2020 Excellence in Access and Inclusion Social Media Celebration!

Stay tuned right here all week as we honor the nominees! #SSDAccessCelebration Virginia Tech Student Affairs

Director of ADA and Accessibility Services, Pam Vickers, says to think of the Americans with Disabilities Act as an umbrella. Watch to learn about the ADA umbrella!

The Sally Bohland Award for Exceptional Leadership in Access and Inclusion is awarded to a faculty member who serves as a model for others in the areas of access, accessibility, and inclusion of students with disabilities. The nominees are:

Gif with pictures of the nominees for the Exceptional Leadership award: Carolyn Shivers, Cassandra McCall, Chase Catalano, Cliff Shaffer, Dave McPherson and Elizabeth McLain.
GIF of Leadership Nominees

June 9, 2020

Our Excellence in Access and Inclusion celebration continues! Today we honor the award recipients for Exceptional Leadership in Access and Inclusion.

 

The first #SSDAccessCelebration certificate winner is Dr. Carolyn Shivers. Congratulations!  Virginia Tech Human Development & Family Science

Check out this video from nominator, Emily Burns.

“Dr. Shivers has been, and is, a champion for accessibility.” - Dr. April Few-Demo, Department Head, Human Development and Family Sciences Virginia Tech Human Development & Family Science

Congratulations to Certificate winner, Dr. Cassandra McCall!  Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

Here's a video from nominator Emily Burns that highlights Dr. McCall's Exceptional Leadership.

“I’ve learned a lot from Cass about being a scholar, mentor and ally. Working with her has helped me think holistically about identity and how important it is to embrace the complexity of student experiences as we seek to improve education”. - Dr. Lisa McNair, Professor, Engineering Education Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

Congratulations to certificate winner Dr. Chase Catalano! ​

Check out this video from Kaylynn Hill to find out why Dr. Catalano was nominated for the #SSDAccessCelebration awards. Virginia Tech School of Education

"Your students are clear in their respect for you and the way that you have created inclusive environments, both inside and outside the classroom." - Dr. Peter Doolittle, Director, School of Education ​

Virginia Tech School of Education

Join us in celebrating #SSDAccessCelebration certificate winner Dr. Cliff Shaffer.​ Virginia Tech - Department of Computer Science

Here's a video from Donna Smith that explains why Dr. Shaffer was nominated for this award.

“Dr. Shaffer is the director of our very large graduate program in computer science, he always leads by example, and also by policy and procedure to make sure that we have the most welcoming community we can possibly have among out graduate students.” - Dr. Cal Ribbens, Department Head, Computer Science

Virginia Tech - Department of Computer Science

Congratulations to #SSDAccessCelebration Certificate winner, Dave McPherson!

Dave was nominated because he always prioritizes SSD services. He offers flexible test times, meets with students during office hours, and makes students feel included in class by using inclusive examples.

Dave McPherson Teaching
Dave McPherson Teaching

"That's when I learned about all you do for student success. The line of students that was out your door in Durham Hall at the time, wanting to ask you questions and how accommodating you were." -Luke Lester, ECE Department Head​

Bradley Dept. of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Virginia Tech

Join us in congratulating​ #SSDAccessCelebration certificate winner Elizabeth McLain! Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts

Here's a video from nominator Martina Svyantek that explains why Elizabeth is deserving of this award.

“Elizabeth’s passion for advocacy for people with disabilities, and topics related to disability, was obvious to me even before she joined our faculty. In the time she’s been here at Virginia Tech, she’s served as a wonderful advocate for our students and a great resource for her colleagues.” - Dr. Jason Crafton, Music Faculty Chair​

Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts

Congratulations to all the certificate winners! You are a model of exceptional leadership in access and inclusion for students with disabilities. 

Photo of the Sally Bohland Award for Exceptional Leadership glass trophy.
Sally Bohland Award

The Sally Bohland Award for Exceptional Leadership in Access and Inclusion goes to Elizabeth McLain. ​​

This award was established by SSD in 2011. This award goes to a faculty member who is a model for others and whose leadership fosters a culture of access and inclusion. Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts

June 10, 2020

Our celebration continues! Ashley Shew, Associate Professor of Science, Technology and Society, and a representative from the Disability Alliance, speaks about the future of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability Alliance at VT

Check out this video, where Ashley Shew continues the discussion on the future of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability Alliance at VT

Vice President for Strategic Affairs and Vice Provost for Inclusion and Diversity sends congratulatory wishes. Thank you, Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke! VT Strategic Affairs

The Sally Bohland Award for Innovative Service is awarded to administrative and professional faculty, staff, or students who serve students with disabilities in new and original ways, and influence our campus structure in such a way that students with disabilities have room to demonstrate their full potential at Virginia Tech. The nominees are: ​

Gif with pictures of the nominees for the Innovative Service award: the Accessible Technologies Team, Jim Thompson, Madelynn Todd, Tara Frank and Hani Awni.
Innovative Service Nominees GIF

June 11, 2020

Our Excellence and Access and Inclusion celebration continues! Today we honor the award recipients for Innovative Service in Access and Inclusion. 

The first certificate winner is Tara Frank. Congratulations! ​

Check out this video from Donna Smith to find out why Tara was nominated for the #SSDAccessCelebration awards.

“Your work to connect with students that live on our margins, all of them, is allowing Virginia Tech to feel more like home to so many.” - Byron Hughes, Dean of Students ​

Congratulations to #SSDAccessCelebration certificate winner Jim Thompson!

Jim reached out to Student Affairs last fall with the idea of beginning to offer wheelchair tennis on campus. When the first event took place in February, more than 120 people showed up to get in the chairs and play tennis.

Virginia Tech Men's Tennis

“Your enthusiasm for wheelchair tennis was contagious from day one. It was your passion that brought so many people from our community together to learn about the sport...” - Kelly McPherson, Events Coordinator, Rec Sports

Virginia Tech Rec Sports Virginia Tech Men's Tennis

Congratulations to the next #SSDAccessCelebration certificate winner!​

The Accessible Technologies team was nominated for their work designing the Keep C.A.L.M. campaign. This campaign educates faculty, staff and students on designing accessible course content and marketing materials. ​

Virginia Tech - TLOS

Image of the Accessible Technologies Team members (Rob Fentress, Mark Nichols, Jonathan Lacson, Bharath Bharadwaj, Christa Miller, and Martina Svyantek) in a zoom session.
Assistive Technologies Team in Zoom Meeting

"The Keep C.A.L.M. Campaign proactively fosters a movement for teaching faculty members, as well as student services offices, to integrate accessibility into their work." - Thanh Doan, Coordinator of Accessible Instruction ​​
Virginia Tech - TLOS

Congratulations to the next #SSDAccessCelebration certificate winner, Madelynn Todd! ​

Madelynn was nominated for her work with the Board of Visitors as the Undergraduate Representative. Check out this video from Emily Burns to learn more.

“We are so grateful for the work you’ve done this year to represent all of the students at Virginia Tech. You have brought important issues to our attention that we have worked on, and will continue to work on, for years to come”. - Horacio Valeiras, Rector, Board of Visitors ​

Congratulations to #SSDAccessCelebration certificate winner Hani Awni!​

Hani's nominator said, "Hani is usually one of the first students in class to ask about how disability relates to course material. This question encourages his classmates to think about disability inclusion and access."

Hani Awni on Observation Platform on a Mountain
Hani Awni on Observation Platform

“Thank you for your ongoing, continuous, and passionate efforts in increasing awareness and understanding of the disability community here at Virginia Tech.” - Karen DePauw, Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education

Virginia Tech Graduate School

Congratulations to Hani Awni for winning the Sally Bohland Award for Innovative Service in Access and Inclusion!

This award was established by SSD in 2017. The award goes to an administrative faculty member, staff member or student who supports students with disabilities in new and original ways, and that influences our campus structure in a way that students with disabilities have room to demonstrate their full potential at Virginia Tech.

Sally Bohland Innovative Service Award
Sally Bohland Innovative Service Award

June 12, 2020

Congratulations to all the certificate winners from the SSD Staff! ​

Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, Chris Wise, gives us closing remarks on our #SSDAccessCelebrationVirginia Tech Student Affairs

Special thanks to Sally Bohland, Dr. Frank Shushok, Pam Vickers, Dr. Ashley Shew, Dr. Menah Pratt-Clarke, Chris Wise, Annalicia DaSilva, Sarah Nguyen, and the SSD staff.

Thank You Sally Bohland GIF
Thank You Sally Bohland GIF