We live in a culture that values comfort as a desirable and seemingly necessary outcome in life. However, some of life’s greatest moments and opportunities for growth come from the times when we experience significant discomfort. When we are stretched beyond our capacity through the choices we make or from what life throws our way, we can benefit immeasurably. This session explores the value of embracing the discomfort.
Adam Meyer is the Executive Director of Student Accessibility Services and Inclusive Education Services at the University of Central Florida (UCF). This office works with over 2600 students with disabilities and separately with 20 students with intellectual disabilities each academic year. A team of 55+ professional and hourly employees facilitate resources for these students. Prior to working at UCF, Adam worked at Eastern Michigan University with a team of five professionals for four years and for five years at Saint Louis University where Adam spent much of the time as a one-person office. Adam was part of a now completed national US Department of Education grant from 2009 – 2011 that explored ways in which concepts of social justice could be more regularly and routinely incorporated into the operations of the disability services office. This grant project fell very much in line with how Adam wanted to operate since entering the field and offered a framework for how to do so. AT UCF, Adam works diligently with the team considering what a social justice focus means for disability office functions, including framing of disability, collaborative approaches with campus stakeholders, language used in all communication, initial student connection processes, outreach and programming efforts, budgeting and everything else in between. Adam was previously on the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Board of Directors (2016 – 2018) and has also assisted AHEAD since 2015 in coordinating various leadership resources, including a management and leadership conference session strand for the national AHEAD conference. While at Saint Louis University, Adam served as the President of the Missouri-AHEAD affiliate and learned about coordinating resources at a state level. A professional in the higher education disability field since 2004, Adam was involved in the intellectual disability field for nearly 10 years prior to the transition to the college world. Adam has presented at eight AHEAD national conferences, at three AHEAD Management Institutes, one AHEAD Master Class and over 60 times in total at the local, state (including a number of AHEAD affiliate events) and national conference level on a variety topics such as infusing social justice into the disability operations, effective disability office leadership, rethinking documentation, high school to college transition and successful disability office practices.