On Monday, April 10, several CU Boulder community members were recognized for outstanding work as part of the new Disability Services Awards Ceremony, which was developed over the past year in an effort to steer Disability Services toward a more holistic model in serving students and the campus and better promote the spirit of Inclusive Excellence.
And while Disability Services is still in its infancy of operating under this new approach and integrating Inclusive Excellence in its programming, the office is committed to promoting and recognizing the good work people are doing related to disability.
Jill Schneider, assistant director of program initiatives for Disability Services, stated during opening remarks, "All of our award winners this afternoon are true advocates for disability and their work truly speaks for itself."
The first-ever Disability Services Awards Ceremony recognized individuals in five categories: Commitment to Service, Disability Community Invovlement, Outstanding Alumni, Outstanding Staff and Outstanding Faculty.
Commitment to Service Award
The Commitment to Service Award is given to a Disability Services student-staff member who has excelled and contributed to the office in a meaningful way. This year, two individuals were selected to receive the award.
Aaron Shultz, Student Staff
Shultz was nominated for his consistent level of support and ability to meet deadlines even though much of the material he works on is outside the scope of his degree field—a rare ability in student workers.
His nomination stated, "Aaron learned quickly what needed to be done, and I was able to put him in the position of a 'lead' within the first year."
Eddie Tak, Student Staff
Tak's nomination noted his eager can-do attitude and industrious, reliable nature. "He's always the first person we turn to because he picks up any task quickly and executes without much supervision (if at all)."
He is also said to bring a calm, assured element to what can sometimes be a stressful environment, conveying poise, confidence and relatability to his peers.
Disability Community Involvement Award
The award for Disability Community Involvement is given to a CU Boulder student who is involved in disability issues, advocacy, research, general awareness and activities.
Esha Mehta, Psychology Student
Mehta was nominated for her unrelenting support and advocacy of CU Boulder community members with visual impairments.
In her nomination, Mehta was referred to as "someone who goes beyond just their own needs to work for the rights of the larger community because they see injustices or inadequacies that should be addressed and rectified if we are truly to live in an equitable and humane world."
Outstanding Alumni Award
The Outstanding Alumni Award is presented to a CU Boulder alumnus who is involved in disability issues, advocacy, research, general awareness and activities; was formally registered with Disability Services as a student at CU; and is doing well in his or her career.
Bailey Anderson, Visiting Professor at Davidson College
Anderson was nominated for her tireless work in disability studies and movement studies related to disabilities.
Her nominator noted: "By conflating notions of disability with creativity, Bailey is pressing into new areas of scholarship, expanding the accessibility of disabilities studies [by] opening the field to students and other scholars who might think that disabilities studies has “nothing to do with them."
Outstanding Staff Member Award
The Outstanding Staff Member Award is given to a current CU Boulder staff member who has worked well with students and Disability Services and/or has performed disability-related research.
Hilary Love, Student Support and Case Management
According to her nominator, Love is known for consistently going above and beyond to assist students with disabilities as a case manager for Student Support and Case Management in the Division of Student Affairs.
"Once a student is connected with Hilary, she does everything possible to ensure that the student is getting every opportunity to demonstrate their true abilities regardless or disability."
Outstanding Faculty Member Award
The Outstanding Faculty Member Award is presented to a current CU Boulder faculty member who has worked well with students and Disability Services and/or has performed disability-related research.
Samuel Flaxman, Assistant Professor
Flaxman was nominated for his dedication to increasing awareness and promoting accessibility and inclusiveness efforts in his own courses and among the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
When it comes to influencing and inspiring instructors to make large lecture courses more accessible for all students, Flaxman is a champion, according to his nominators.
"Sam Flaxman cares deeply about his students and their success and satisfaction with their learning experiences at CU Boulder."
In closing, the host once again praised the award recipients, stating, "[They] truly represent the heart of what Inclusive Excellence is all about, and their work around disability is genuinely, genuinely appreciated and worth recognizing."