Seader settles in as director of Disability Services
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When Emporia State students with learning or physical disabilities need their test time to be lengthened or a copy of a textbook in braille, they go to the Office of Disability Services, who recently received a new director, Lisken Seader.
When the former director of Disability Services left last fall for a position at Johnson County Community College, ESU started searching for someone to fill the position. During that time, Shelly Gehrke, assistant provost and director of the Student Advising Center, assumed the position temporarily.
Seader’s first encounter with ESU was in October and she officially assumed her functions Jan. 6. She has a Master’s in Higher Education-Leadership and Organizational Change for Professionals.
Seader hails from Littleton, Colo. and worked at the University of Denver for close to 20 years before moving to Kansas with her family to have a chance at more opportunities and responsibility. Seader said her experience at ESU has been good so far.
She said the main job of the Office of Disability Services is to “level the playing field.”
“If you’re a person that needs glasses, and you put your glasses on, glasses level the playing field. It’s the same thing with a disability,” Seader said. “We’re trying to provide something like an eyeglass that’s gonna level the playing field…then you can have as much success as anyone else.”
Most of Seader’s free time is spent with her family. They raise animals. She said she likes “all things sustainability and self-sufficiency.”
The new director is still easing into her role. Davy Dollins, administrative assistant for the Student Advising Center and Disability Services, said Seader’s duties involve making sure her office and the entire university are providing the service students need according to their rights.
“She’s the go-to person for every student with a disability to provide their letters…so that the professors can then know what their accommodations are,” Dollins said. “She’s kind of the advocate for the campus and all the students as well.”
The Office of Disability Services has several functions. Regardless of the exact nature of the disability, it is their job to ensure the success of all students. The services they provide range from providing books printed in braille to formatting to test extensions.
“Anything can be done, even if you have to find an alternate way to do it,” Dollins said. “I’ve never run across anything that we haven’t been able to accommodate for a student.”
Seader said she looks forward to her time at ESU.