WSU names new disability services director

Thomas Webb

Director of the Office of Disability Services at Wright State University since Feb. 10

Age: 39

Previous job: Director of the Office of Disability Support Services at the University of Delaware

Previous experience: Kennedy Disability Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C., during which time he negotiated and drafted the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008; appointed by the governor of Maryland as chair of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council in 2009.

Education: Bachelor's degree in political science and master's degree in psychology from Washington University in Maryland. Doctoral candidate in education: innovation and leadership at Wilmington University in Delaware.

Wright State University has named Thomas Webb its new director of disability services — a highly-regarded position at the campus that is known nationally and internationally as a pioneer in accessibility.

Webb comes to Wright State from the University of Delaware and has past experience in Washington, D.C., drafting the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008. He replaces Jeffrey Vernooy, who died in August after a 36-year career at Wright State.

“Wright State has really been on my radar I would say 10, 12 years,” Webb said. “In the disability community, Wright State is known as one of the best when it comes to the services we provide.”

Webb, who was born with cerebral palsy, said his goals include promoting what Wright State does to a larger audience. He will also work with faculty to help them develop more accessible curriculum so that “no matter what the disability or ability, the students have an easier way of accessing the content.”

He said he will also work with other colleges and universities so they can replicate some of Wright State’s programs.

Webb said in his first week he has already been consulted on building plans and employee accommodations — evidence that Wright State puts “accessibility and disability at the forefront whenever they make a decision,” he said. “It’s an extremely important position here.”

The office serves as many as 600 students, and Webb said he would like to be involved in making the larger community more accessible for them, as well.

“It’s one thing for them to have a great experience on campus. but if they go off campus it’d be great for them to have a similar level of access,” he said.

Webb received a response that was overwhelmingly positive during his on-campus interviews and that set him apart among the pool of candidates, said Dan Abrahamowicz, vice president for student affairs.