After 15 years as director of The University of New Mexico’s Accessibility Resource Center (ARC), Joan Green is retiring, but her dedication and years of service is something Lobos will remember forever.
“Disability services are more important than ever with current trend of higher education courses transitioning to an online format,” Green said. “Students with disabilities cannot adapt to all types of classes without equal access.”
Green said her position as director opened new avenues for her to better understand the needs of her students.
“As a counselor, I would meet with students a handful of times and our interactions would come to an end,” she said. “Disability services allows me to share in the lives of many students involved with ARC for four years or more.”
Throughout her time with ARC, Green served as a strong advocate for her students, and the ‘go-to expert’ on all things related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“For more than a decade Green's commitment to providing support for students, faculty and staff has been invaluable for this institution,” said Tim Gutierrez, Student Services associate vice president. “She has been a strong leader and never afraid to stand up to support her students to meet their needs.”
Green said recent technological advances have been some of the greatest she’s seen for students with disabilities.
“When I started in disability services, departments hired readers to sit with students and read to them, or record readings on cassette tapes for printed materials,” she said. “Now, with the advances in adaptive equipment we are able to convert hundreds of textbooks and articles in a short amount of time.”
Green also played a role in the planning and consulting process of Smith Plaza's renovation.
“The renovation of Smith plaza was one of the most positive changes in allowing students with disabilities to move from one area of campus to another,” she said.
Green said she is retiring from UNM feeling confident, knowing she helped countless students graduate with more self-acceptance, advocacy skills and excitement for the future.
“I am blessed to have worked with a great group of people throughout my time at UNM,” she said. “People who are passionate about working with students with disabilities and ensuring their college experiences are as equal to students without disabilities.”