Siena Heights University Director of Accessibility, Cody Mathis, was named President of the Michigan Association on Higher Education and Disability (MI-AHEAD) board. The organization supports professionals in higher education who serve students with disabilities. MI-AHEAD is a state affiliate of AHEAD, which is the leading professional membership association for individuals committed to equity for persons with disabilities in higher education.
Mathis has been in the ‘human service’ industry, with a focus on disability-related work for nearly 20 years. The first half of her career was as an ASL Interpreter, working with all ages/stages. Then, she transitioned to the focus on advocacy and support of disabled persons through service at Lansing Community College as the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Coordinator and Executive Director of Hannah’s House of Lansing. Currently, Mathis is the Director of Accessibility at Siena Heights University.
“I am, myself, a disabled individual, as are my four children, and numerous family members, so disability activism is not a passion, it has been my life’s work. I feel honored and excited about serving MI-AHEAD these next two years as part of this journey,” said Mathis.
MI-AHEAD’s purpose is to “strengthen the professionalism, expertise, competency, and effectiveness of personnel working with students with disabilities and promoting equity and opportunities for students with disabilities in higher education.” Mathis continues, “It is my goal, as president to do just this. I look forward to leading the organization into the post-pandemic season, through servant leadership and collaborative efforts of an incredible board.”
Michael Orlando, Vice President for Student Affairs at Siena Heights University, said, “Cody is an outstanding advocate for students and strong supporter throughout Siena Heights University. Her continued leadership in MI-AHEAD will surely advance their purpose to new heights as well.”
As Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” With the help of the MI-AHEAD Board and all the members, Mathis plans to champion inclusion in the Higher Education setting while continuing to grow as disability professionals. “I look forward to listening to the ‘othered’ voices in the Higher Education community (and beyond), promoting a greater focus on the intersectionality of disabled persons as part of our work with disabled students, and then how we, in our positions, can impact changes on our campuses.”
Mathis obtained her BAS in 2010 from Dallas Baptist University in Psychology and American Sign Language and her MA from Liberty University in Human Services in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2012.
For more information about MI-AHEAD, please visit their web site at https://mi-ahead.org.