FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) has a mission that puts students first. Therefore it comes as no surprise that the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) has made it their mission to be the best in the state, working to give students the tools and resources they need to succeed academically.
“We are changing the idea of what success is when it comes to students with disabilities,” said Eric Wagenfeld, director of SSD and assistant dean of students at IPFW. “We are making sure everyone has a seat at the table.”
Wagenfeld has made a national name for himself working on public policy and best practices for institutions of higher education when it comes to students with disabilities. His efforts culminated this year in his being appointed to the Standing Committee on Public Policy by AHEAD, the Association for Higher Education and Disability.
"Eric's selection for an important national leadership position in his field's professional association is just further proof of something we already firmly believed,” said George S. McClellan, vice chancellor for student affairs. “IPFW is fortunate to have someone with Eric's knowledge and skills to head up our Services for Students with Disabilities."
AHEAD is an international organization for individuals in all areas of higher education who are involved in the development of policy and in providing quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities.
With over 2,500 members worldwide, the organization has created numerous partnerships to advance equity in higher education for people with disabilities.
“IPFW is getting national attention for our efforts,” said Wagenfeld. “Inclusion is a part of our university mission statement, which sends a message that we are making sure students have equal access to the classroom.”
IPFW’s efforts include advocating for a supporting campus environment while providing outreach and education to collaborate with student and academic affairs.
“IPFW offers the opportunity to pursue goals in an environment that is challenging, as well as supportive,” says Chancellor Michael Wartell. “We are extremely honored to be recognized for our best practices and to have a hand in affecting future national and international public policy for students with disabilities.”
Wagenfeld’s national work with AHEAD on the committee for public policy will include monitoring the needs of, educating, and making recommendations to AHEAD members on matters pertaining to disability policies and practices that are linked to higher education.
“ADA compliance can be confusing so it is our job to make sure everyone understands their rights,” says Wagenfeld. “We are extremely proud of our outreach efforts to educate faculty, staff, and students on best practices. People know they can call me anytime to answer their questions. At the end of the day, we are making a difference in higher education, by changing how a university responds to the needs of its students with disabilities.”
For more information, contact Eric Wagenfeld at 260-481-6658 or firstname.lastname@example.org.