Ursinus staff present at Disability Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania
At the break of dawn on a Friday morning over spring break, staff members Kate Keppen, Dee Singley, and Joanna Timmerman took the train into Philadelphia to arrive at the 21st annual Weingarten Center Disability Symposium at the University of Pennsylvania. The three were honored to have been selected to present at this conference and were especially grateful to have the support of several other colleagues who attended, including Lark Irwin, Adam Linetty, and Lauren Stroud from the Division of Student Affairs.
The symposium’s theme was, “Being a Leader in Disability Services, Being a Leader in Higher Education,” and the morning began with incredible words from many colleagues in the disability field.
In the first workshop session, Dee Singley and Joanna Timmerman, from the office of disability and access, presented to a packed hall on implementing the social model of disability at Ursinus College. The presentation can be found here. The two were grateful for the incredible insights of other higher education professionals, K-12 educators, and individuals with disabilities during and after the presentation.
After many insightful sessions and a delicious lunch, Kate Keppen, director of sustainability, joined Dee and Joanna on stage to present on the conception and introduction of the BASE event program, titled “Breaking down silos to build up our community events.” The three discussed how they were able to collaborate across departments (and even divisions!) to create a guide for planning events with sustainability and accessibility in mind.
On the ride home, Keppen reflected, “I was overjoyed that our bears building accessible, sustainable, and equitable events proposal was picked to be one of the concurrent sessions. As we all think about silos and departmental collaborations, people want to hear examples about how we can all work together towards common and similar goals.”
Overall, the symposium was a great opportunity for learning, sharing, and connecting with other professionals dedicated to creating a more inclusive and equitable world in higher education. Keppen, Singley, and Timmerman were delighted to be considered catalysts of innovative work happening in the field and to be encouraged to reflect on their own philosophies of leadership.
“From the keynote speakers who lead discussions on courageous and authentic leadership, to the individual sessions that provided key strategies to inclusion and equity, to presenting with my very own amazing colleagues, I was reminded of the strength of the Ursinus community through the leadership of Vice President Heather Lobban-Viravong. I’m excited to continue important initiatives and work towards a sustainable and accessible Ursinus that promotes equity, wellness, and sense of belonging for every member of our community,” says Singley.
The work for this trio is far from over, so be on the lookout for more information about these initiatives and more in the spring semester!