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New accessibility director hopes to fulfill 2019 audit recommendations

Photo by Alexander Knobloch

Following the departure of Whitney Horton, Accessibility Services has hired a new director, Bethann Durlin. Durlin plans to implement recommendations from the third-party accessibility audit that was administered in 2019. 

Over the summer, Horton accepted a position as a college counselor with Lake Highland Prep after 14 academic years with Rollins. She began as a graduate hall director in Residential Life & Explorations in 2007, and after two additional promotions, she became the director of Accessibility Services in June 2018.

Durlin is originally from the California Bay Area and grew up in Southern Arizona. She moved to Orlando 18 years ago to pursue higher education accessibility services, and she has over 30 years of experience in education. 

Prior to coming to Rollins, Durlin was the director of Student Success at Full Sail University. She said she was attracted to Rollins because she wanted to do something different and serve a new community of students. 

“I have committed my career to helping and supporting students and facilitating their engagement with the curriculum,” Durlin said.

As previously covered in The Sandspur, Accessibility Services had ordered an accessibility audit of the college in Spring 2019 after concerns were raised about the accessibility of on-campus buildings. The audit primarily focused on physical barriers to accessibility. 

The report is in the process of being reviewed by various stakeholders, including President Grant Cornwell, Facilities Services, and the Office of Accessibility Services. However, the college has already begun to implement small changes across campus. 

“The college plans on putting opportunities found in the audit into place in the future in order to make the college more accessible to all students,” Durlin said. “Where there are opportunities and where there is the ability to implement those changes, we will.” 

Dean of Students Leon Hayner said that administration in Accessibility Services will begin to make changes that take less time and resources before addressing bigger issues, based on the recommendations of the audit. These changes range from how furniture is arranged in classrooms to the structure of buildings themselves. 

Durlin said her approach to developments in the department and throughout campus are all-inclusive: “One thing I’m very passionate about implementing and expanding at Rollins is a universal design, which is a philosophy about making content available to everyone; not just students with disability barriers, but all manners of barriers,” Durlin said.

Hayner hopes that Durlin continues to be “a good advocate for our students so students feel like they have a voice and a place to go if they have questions or concerns.”  

“I hope students continue to share with us where they see areas that need improvement so that we can continue to advocate for those types of changes and meet their needs as best as we can,” Hayner said.

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