Lancaster – There's a new face on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus. Alex Ecklund started at the beginning of August in the role of Accessibility Coordinator. Ecklund will work on both the Lancaster Campus and Chillicothe Campus to improve access to higher education for students with physical and mental disabilities.
"There are students that have physical disabilities that make higher education a challenge, but there are also a number of invisible disabilities," said Ecklund. "Students have learning disabilities, visual disabilities, cognitive impairments and mental health concerns."
Academic Advisor Jim Wellington previously dealt with accessibility issues on the Lancaster Campus. But, the university decided to create a new position, so one person could be dedicated to helping students who have these types of issues.
"Ohio University has seen growth in the number of students with disabilities on the Athens Campus and at the regional campuses," said Assistant Dean of Student Accessibility Services Carey Busch. "We've also seen an increase in the complexity of their needs. We hired Alex and another person to serve the Zanesville and Eastern Campuses to provide a level of support that is similar across all campuses."
Ecklund will work with students in Lancaster and Chillicothe to find the best ways for students to succeed in higher education.
"I will receive and review documentation, medical reports, evaluation reports from school districts, psychiatric testing and then determine the best ways for that student to access the curriculum," said Ecklund.
Ecklund will split his time each week between Lancaster and Chillicothe. But, even when he's not physically present on the Lancaster Campus, he said he will be available to students by email or phone.
"I want to be a resource on campus for students and I also want to help guide the campus when it comes to decisions on how we can be more accessible," said Ecklund.
Ecklund's office is located in Student Services on the Lancaster Campus. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Ecklund grew up in Conneaut, Ohio. But, now lives in Lancaster.