Office of Disability Support Services recognize faculty for expanding access in learning

Six members of the Lehigh faculty were recently recognized by the Office of Disability Support Services and the Peer Mentor program for their work in supporting students with disabilities by providing equal access in the form of University Design in Learning.

The professors were honored at an annual, year-end luncheon held in the Asa Packer Dining Room. On hand were members of the staff of the Office of Academic Support Services and of the Peer Mentors Program, which assists first-year students with the transition from high school to a rigorous academic university.

Faculty honored include:

Stephen Buell, professor of finance, who was credited with being an “accessible and great teacher” who posts every exam he has ever given, including solutions and practice problems.

Sabrina Jedlicka, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, who was praised for always making herself available to her students, and actively encouraging her students to meet with her about related concerns. “She provides great advice on everything from coursework to major life decisions,” her nominator said.

Kashi Johnson, associate professor in the theatre department, who was described as “one of the best pure teachers at Lehigh.” Said a student: “You don't realize how much you are learning during her class. She is able to teach effectively with very little lecturing. Her acting 101 class is still one of my favorite classes.”

Jack Lule, professor and chair of journalism and communication, and professor and director of Global Studies, who was nominated by a student who said she would have transferred out of Lehigh if not for Lule, who “made the journalism and Global Studies department feel like home to me.”

Alex Nikolsko Rzhevskyy, assistant professor of economics, who tapes his lectures so students can review them later. His nominator also noted that he “speaks clearly and explains each concept,” along with making effective use of the My ECON lab, which provides additional homework problems and other formats for learning materials.

Richard Weisman, professor of water resources engineering, who has earned a reputation for being one of the disability office’s most avid supporters” who has “always been an advocate for our students.”

An ability to educate all

Assistant Dean of Academic Support Services Cheryl Ashcroft said that each of the professors honored “demonstrated the ability to educate all students by employing multiple forms of teaching techniques and strategies.”

Ashcroft said that these professors, along with many Lehigh faculty who advocate for students with disabilities across the university “play a tremendous role in the lives of our students by working to find appropriate, acceptable and adaptable strategies.”

Liebman said he stands as just one example of the effectiveness of Ashcroft’s department.

“As a freshman, the disabilities office was a huge part of my early success,” said Liebman, an economics major who also serves as the student coordinator for the Peer Mentors program that matches first-years with mentors in their college or major. “The coaching sessions, coupled with peer mentor guidance, really helped me adjust to college life both academically and socially, and the office was quickly able to get my academic accommodations. That was really helpful.”

Liebman became a mentor for other students during his sophomore and junior years, and he characterized that as a great and rewarding experience. “I enjoyed helping the students,” he said. “It also helped me grow and reflect as an individual.”

He is planning on building on his Lehigh success through a position with Acacia Financial Group, Inc., a South Jersey-based municipal finance firm.


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