The McBurney Disability Resource Center’s mission is “Leading the campus community forward in access for students with disabilities.” The McBurney Center considers disability as a key facet of diversity on campus, and works with faculty, staff, students, and the community to provide an accessible educational experience. “We do not do this work alone,” said McBurney Center’s director Mari Magler. “So many people at UW-Madison are working to support disabled students and to create an inclusive campus environment.”
In order to recognize some of those efforts, eight faculty and staff members were presented with a Forward in Access Award from the McBurney Center in 2022. Learn more about these individuals:
Claudia Calderon, Instructor, Department of Horticulture
Claudia Calderon is a prime example of an instructor going above and beyond to help students get the most out of their college experience.
Calderon creates an open and welcoming environment in her class for all students. Students feel they can be open with Calderon about their disabilities and accommodations, especially when it comes to succeeding in her class. Calderon ensures every student has a chance to do their best in her class, no matter what.
Calderon worked closely with a student last fall semester who was struggling to keep up. Calderon was flexible with the student, supported them, and made sure to keep constant communication. Calderon even went one step further, reaching out to the McBurney Center to make sure the student was able to succeed in their classes. Calderon said she saw a mature student with vision, and she supported that student throughout the semester.
Marcus Cederstrom, Lecturer, Folklore
Last Spring semester, Marcus Cederstrom taught a large Folklore 100 course that included a Deaf student. Cederstrom was both curious about and helpful to two sign language interpretation interns who were working under the supervision of a McBurney Center interpreter. Cederstrom was welcoming and engaging with the interns, helping them gain real-world, pre-professional experience in his class.
Cederstrom emphasizes the importance of culture in his class, so he connected with the Deaf student directly to see how he could foster personal application of course content to Deaf culture experiences.
Cederstrom is an amazing example of small actions going a long way to help all students achieve their potential.
Emily Kite, Associate Dean of Career & Professional Development and Lauren Devine, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, UW Law School
Emily Kite and Lauren Devine have been great partners in ensuring that all accommodations needed are in place and in providing equitable access to Law students. They are champions of access and their contributions to campus are noteworthy.
Kite and Devine have ensured that students with disabilities can complete classes, take exams, and access course materials equitably. They collaborate with the McBurney Center often to decide what are appropriate measures to take, and promote inclusive instructional practices throughout the Law School.
Katherine Charek Briggs, Assistant Director, Gender and Sexuality Campus Center
Katherine has been a wonderful collaborator, partner, and guide for many McBurney Center staff over the years. Katherine is always open to dialoguing, challenging thoughts and “standard” practices, offering constructive feedback, and creating space for all.
Katherine uses language intentionally to create spaces for queer disabled folx on campus, creating a webpage on the GSCC’s site that serves as a landing page and offshoots for a Discord group. In a world where queerness, disability, and difference are not always valued, Katherine makes sure those aspects of each person are appreciated and celebrated.
Katherine is a beloved figure on campus, whose advocacy work is unparalleled and unmatched.
Abe Schrump, Division of Facilities Planning and Management, Space Management Office
When it comes to accessibility and disability, most don’t think about furniture and spaces. That’s where Abe Schrump comes in. Schrump fulfills orders for furniture and facilitates furniture repair for accommodations in spaces all across campus.
In a system that is highly dependent on logistics across a large geographical campus, Schrump is an instrumental partner in ensuring students have what they need where and when they need it. With Schrump’s help, the McBurney Center can fulfill the needs and make sure students can
participate in their classes.
Maria Dahman, DoIT Center for User Experience
Maria Dahman has been a vital partner and collaborator related to the campus eBook pilot “Engage,” as we seek to improve the accessibility of the technology and leverage it for student reading-related accommodations.
Dahman works hard to understand and enact what the McBurney Center would like to achieve in our workflows and end product delivery to students for their reading materials and has helped influence and improve the systems. This has allowed the McBurney Center to more effectively provide related accommodations to students and will hopefully impact the longer-term accessibility of these systems.
Sami Schalk, Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies
Sami Schalk creates a universally more accessible course and classroom for all students, with disabled students in mind. Her course policies include flexibility on assignment due dates and attendance to account for disability-related flare-ups.
Schalk also acknowledges that individuals have different energy levels, which can affect academic performance, and spends class time discussing issues like masks and immunocompromised people on campus. This helps her students understand various needs and creates a positive experience for students with disabilities. Schalk’s practices are fiercely compassionate and she is a beacon for access and inclusion. Schalk’s thinking uniquely helps to push forward in access.
Connect with the McBurney Center
The McBurney Disability Resource Center is the primary location on campus offering resources for students when it comes to disability and accommodations.
The McBurney Center works with UW–Madison students with physical, learning, hearing, vision, psychological, health, and other disabilities substantially affecting a major life activity. The McBurney Center operates with a vision of a universally accessible educational community that fosters the full participation and contribution of every member, with individual accommodation needed in unique or uncommon situations.
If you would like to support the work of the McBurney Center by being a notetaker in one of your courses, read more about becoming a peer notetaker .
The McBurney Center continues to move UW-Madison forward in access, with the help of campus members like the recipients of this year’s awards. Thank you for all you do.