New coordinator, long-time employee Dustin Cosby joins Accessibility Services
Dustin Cosby, newly-appointed Accessibility Services coordinator and veterans’ advisor, keeps the door to his office frequently ajar, though Cosby himself can be often seen flitting in and out in a hustle-bustle rhythm custom of his novelty to the position.
Many may recognize his trademark suit-and-tie ensemble: previous to the departure of Les Rogers — who held Cosby’s position before him — Cosby had been an UCC enrollment and academic advisor.
Connecting with the community
“I’m looking forward to the development of long-term relationships with student advisees that will come with this office,” Cosby says. Before, Cosby describes, he held the position of a “drop-in advisor,” and while he attributes his extensive familiarity of UCC’s programs to that experience, Cosby is eager to now work more closely with the student body.
Seeing the same students again and again will allow Cosby to form connections and understand them better and thus better address their wants and needs. “Students who are involved — who have connections — are more likely to be academically successful than those who aren’t,” Cosby says.
So too says the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, which identified three characteristics of schools that “help[ed] young people feel connected to school while simultaneously encouraging student achievement.” These are: “(1) high academic standards coupled with strong teacher support; (2) an environment in which adult and student relationships are positive and respectful; and (3) a physically and emotionally safe school environment.”
To visualize this success, Cosby proposes a situation in which a prospective student walks into his office; “I could walk that interested student all the way from their starting point to registration in one day,” he says.
What to discuss with advisors
On Cosby’s desk rests a laminated guide listing a variety of topics he describes as “conversation-starters” for students to refer to during advisory meetings.
The guide suggests students let their advisors know if they are eligible for or involved in programs like TRiO, FAFSA, veteran benefits, athletics, Oregon Promise, OSAC, and UCC Scholars.
The guide also lets students know their advisors may provide information on the following subjects, when prompted: class registration; job, career and/or degree exploration; tutoring; accessibility services; additional financial need; work study; term deadlines; student educational plans; counseling; graduation; appeals; scholarships; and the STEP program.
In an ASUCC board meeting open to the public, ASUCC President Larisa Czernowski, who had sat on Cosby’s interview panel, described Cosby as a “fountain of knowledge.”
With a Bachelor’s degree in Communications; Master’s in Business Administration, Organizational Psychology and Development; certification in mediation; and in current schooling for his Master’s in Communication, Cosby demonstrates intimate knowledge through personal experience of obtaining a college education.
Cosby is no stranger to disability, nor issues of access: when he was in high school, Cosby’s parents fostered then later adopted seven disabled and/or medically-fragile children to which Cosby described himself acting — partly in jest — as a “third parent.”
Similarly, Cosby has experience in K-12 special education, with additional expertise acquired working in a mental health facility, where he interacted with patients dealing with difficulties ranging from addiction to polydipsia.
On the status of the campus’ current accessibility, Cosby says: “I know there are needs for improvement.”
Cosby speaks of discussions started with his supervisor, Jim Pittman, on adapting to these needs — however, Cosby says, he’s only a week or so into the job, and his current priority is “taking care of the students at [his] door.”
Often, Cosby refers to a compact, skinny notepad kept at the ready on his desk: here he details a to-do list of all the tasks required of his position (one bulleted point reminds Cosby to send out email reminders about the letters of introduction, or accommodation, students may choose to send to their instructors.)
Booking an appointment
For now, drop-in advising hours with Cosby are Mondays from 2:45 to 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays from 3:15 to 4:30 p.m., Wednesdays from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., Thursdays from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and Fridays from 8:30 to 10 a.m.; these are apt to change.
Those looking to schedule an appointment themselves may speak to Lori Yeo in the Student Services offices or contact Cosby at (541) 440-7655 and Dustin.Cosby@umpqua.edu.
Contact me at:
For more articles by Robin Bruns, please click here.