DisPatches, winter 1999-2000
Support Services Tech handles in-class accommodations
Kelly Mills finds her new job at DSPS a challenge.
"Accommodations" is a big word, and an even bigger job, which is why Support Services Technician Kelly Mills' position has been expanded from half-time to 80%.
Kelly is in charge of in-class accommodations, which includes everything from recruiting note-takers and aides to placing special chairs and tables in classrooms. She also researches new equipment, oversees the audio taping of textbooks and other materials by a part-time staff of six, trains accommodations providers, and stays in close touch with both students and faculty to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations.
It's a complex juggling act for the 25-year-old Northern California native, who started on the newly-created job in August of 1998.
"One of the challenges has been trying to make sure everyone has the same information," says Kelly, "that students and faculty all know policy and procedures. I really like to get feedback from students and faculty -- if something is working for them, and why or why not."
Kelly, who lives in Berkeley with her web designer husband, attended UC Santa Cruz for a year, then College of Marin, before transferring to San Francisco State, where she received a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree in 1998.
"I took all these interesting classes," says Kelly, "then found what I wanted to do in my last semester," when she happened to take a class in American Sign Language (ASL). She was struck by the parallels between deaf culture and what she had learned in Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies classes. She was fascinated by the question, "What happens to a non-dominant culture in a dominant culture?"
Since returning to College of Marin, Kelly has been getting involved on campus as well. She just received a Professional Growth Award and a scholarship from CSEA, the classified staff union, for her ongoing ASL studies at Vista College. She has also joined the Affirmative Action Committee.
"I really enjoy it here," she says. "What I like most is that the position was so new that I got to come in and structure it the way I wanted to, and try out new things."