For many, Grace was the first person they connected with at Rollins. Madelyn Wilson, 20 remembers, “I met her before I came to Rollins and she was one of my first impressions of Rollins.” Nicole Lindenberg, 20 shares the same sentiment, “I met her before I came to Rollins and meeting her and the other people in charge were one of the reasons I came because I was confident [once] I knew her and how the system worked.”
There were some valid concerns regarding the continued appeal and effectiveness of the Office. After all, the quality of an accessibility services office can make or break one’s decision to attend a college. At least that was the case for Wilson and Lindenberg.
For those unfamiliar with receiving accommodations or with Accessibility Services, it is instrumental in ensuring equal access to all aspects of college life. “I wouldn’t be able to be here if I didn’t have [accommodations]. It was nice coming to college and knowing that I had some sort of support,” shares Lindenberg. As a result, the significance of this office’s role in a student’s admission decision and comfort level upon entering the rigorous college life puts it at an elevated concern level when a change occurs.
Luckily, Rollins is confident in their ability to find a new candidate who will be just as welcoming and accommodating as Grace was for incoming and current students. The Dean of Students, Dr. Meghan Harte Weyant, believes that it is “a truly Rollins experience to find the actual person, not just the office” when students are connecting with resources at Rollins. “I don’t foresee that as something we’ll lose,” assures Harte Weyant, “we’ll be looking for someone who has the same level of care and connection” as Grace, and “someone who really understands [both] removing barriers for student success, and Accessibility technology.”
Harte Weyant hopes to reassure students that Rollins’s Student Affairs and Student Care offices are eager to work with students who have any questions or concerns regarding this time of transition within the Accessibility Services office. Furthermore “I hope that the community will give us feedback on what they’re looking for” in our next Director shared Harte Weyant. And of course, once a new director is on campus, “we’ll do a whole lot of outreach” promised the Dean.
To conclude, Harte Weyant emphasizes the importance of human connection at Rollins College. “We are so centered on human relationships, so when a staff member moves on to follow their dreams…it’s hard for us…but it’s important that we support them in doing that.”