Economics instructor honored for supporting, empowering students with disabilities

Contact: Kayla Lambert
Three people stand together, one of them in the center holding a certificate.

Dr. Jean Kimmel, center, was nominated by Disability Services for Students staff Kellie Skiba, left, and Sammi Parker, right, and was celebrated at a ceremony on April 19.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—In a stroke of inspired effort, this year’s winner of the Disability Services for Students Faculty Advocate Award, Dr. Jean Kimmel of the Department of Economics, went above and beyond to accommodate and advocate for her students. She was honored in a ceremony on April 19.

The annual award’s criteria include engaging in creating and strengthening services provided to Western students who have disabilities; collaborating with the office to provide significant and meaningful resources for Broncos who have disabilities; and serving as an outstanding role model for promoting Disability Services for Students accommodations. 

A portrait of Dr. Jean Kimmel.

Dr. Jean Kimmel is a professor in the WMU economics department.

“Dr. Kimmel has been an incredible partner with the office in implementing accommodations and supporting her students,” says the award description. 

Kimmel went beyond basic accommodations for her students—putting in extra effort with one student in particular who has needs that are non-traditional, effectively becoming a part of the student’s support team. 

She worked with Disability Services for Students to ensure that this student was in a position where they had the opportunity to do their best work while making sure they were meeting course objectives and being evaluated fairly and correctly.

“I’m so honored to receive this award,” says Kimmel. “I feel like it helps to validate, in a sense, my efforts to support all of my students, but particularly those students who have Disability Services for Students accommodations.” 

This award would not be possible without the work of the office and their advocacy for students, Kimmel notes. 

“I’m so appreciative of the support I receive from the Disability Services for Students professional staff who are always willing to work with me, treating me as a part of their student support team."

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