April 05, 2012

Open forums set for DSS director finalists

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Five finalists seeking to become director of Disability Support Services at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will participate in open forums beginning next week.

The candidates are: Christopher Stone, formerly a learning specialist in disability services at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; Rita VanPelt, interim director of Disability Support Services at SIU Carbondale; Luisa Ballester-Concepción, director of the Hispanic Resource Center at SIU Carbondale; Bryan Dallas, coordinator of learning disability and assistive technology services at SIU Carbondale; and Sam Goodin, assistant dean of students at the University of Michigan.

The open sessions are as follows:

April 9, 1:45-2:45 p.m., Christopher Stone

April 12, 11 a.m.-noon, Rita VanPelt

April 16, 1:45-2:45 p.m., Luisa Ballester-Concepción

April 18, 1:45-2:45 p.m., Bryan Dallas

April 20, 1:45-2:45 p.m., Sam Goodin

All sessions are in Activity Rooms A and B in the Student Center.

Stone returned to graduate studies to pursue a doctoral degree at The George Washington University, holding already a master’s degree in education-post secondary disabilities services, earned from St. Ambrose University in 2002.  He anticipates beginning his dissertation this fall.  He served as learning specialist in disability services at the University of North Carolina, and was assistant director of Student Achievement Services from 2005 to 2009, when he returned to the status of full-time student.  At present, he is a graduate intern for research and programming for the American College Personnel Association.  He has been a graduate administrative assistant for the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University, where he was participated in administration and policy activities.

VanPelt is a two-degree alumna of SIU Carbondale, holding a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.  She has been part of Disability Support Services at SIU Carbondale for 25 years, including 10 years as an administrator.  During that time, she has been part of a team that launched new programs and services, and collaborated with outside agencies such as the Veterans Administration and the Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services.  She has been interim director since August 2011, and served as assistant director since 2009.  Her responsibilities include keeping abreast of and keeping the University community aware of relevant disability legislation.  She also pursues applicable grants, and participated in several successful grant proposals, including multi-year grants from the Illinois Board of Higher Education-Higher Education Cooperation Act.

Ballester-Concepción holds a doctoral degree in psychology and special education, and a master’s degree in education with a specialization in special education from SIU Carbondale.  Her bachelor’s degree is from the University of Puerto Rico.  In addition, she has pursued specialized training in education, education administration and attention deficit disorder.  As director of the Hispanic Resource Center, she developed a mentoring program and served as adviser for relevant Registered Student Organizations, as well as represented the interests of Hispanic students on several college committees.  She has teaching experience at James Madison University, Southeast Missouri State University and SIU Carbondale.  She has taught methodology courses for teaching exceptional children, and for teaching those labeled learning disabled.

Dallas, in addition to serving as coordinator of learning disability and assistive technology services for Disability Support Services at SIU Carbondale, a position he has held since 2004, is a doctoral student in the rehabilitation counseling program. He expects to graduate this May.  He also holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees from SIU Carbondale.  His current duties include determining eligibility for services, maintaining knowledge of disability laws, managing a text conversion office to make print materials accessible to students, completing assistive technology evaluations, and managing databases, technologies and accessible Internet.  Before he joined the staff full time, Dallas served as a graduate assistant in the Disability Support Services office, and was a student employee there beginning in 1997.  He has several successful grant proposals and journal articles to his credit.

Goodin has been assistant dean of students at the University of Michigan since 2010, and served as interim in that position from 2008.  Before that, he was director of Services for Students with Disabilities at University of Michigan beginning in 1992.  He was director of the Office for Students with Disabilities at California State University, Los Angeles from 1989 to 1992, and was director of Disabled Student Services and Veterans Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington from 1983 to 1989.  He has been part of the SIU Carbondale community previously, which he notes as a reason for pursuing the current position here.  He also notes a desire to work again with students with disabilities.  At SIU Carbondale, he was graduate assistant to the coordinator of specialized student services, and was a program coordinator and counselor at Touch of Nature camps for specialized populations.  He holds both a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree from SIU Carbondale.