Green Retires as Accessibility Resources Director
April 16, 2020 - Dorene DiNaro
Just as the UNM community has been adjusting to a new remote, virtual, way of working to serve our students, Dr. Joan Green, current director for UNM Accessibility Resource Center or ARC, will soon be adjusting to a new way of life—retirement. After 15 years in her current role at UNM, Green will be turning in her Lobo card, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be working—just that she will be taking her talents outside of UNM.
Green will continue to fulfill her passion in working with students in the Midwest or somewhere north of New Mexico depending on where she finds her next job. “Disability services are more important than ever with current trend of higher education courses transitioning to an online format,” she says. “Students with disabilities cannot adapt to all types of classes without equal access,” she says.
As director, Green has enjoyed being able to interact with students throughout their entire time at UNM. “In previous employment as counselor, I would meet students, spend 2-10 counseling sessions with them, and have no further interaction with them,” she says. “Disability Services allows me to share in the semester-to-semester 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 (ADA).
“Dr. Green has been the foundation on ADA matters at UNM for over a decade and her commitment to providing support for students, faculty and staff has been invaluable for this institution,” says Dr. Tim Gutierrez, Associate Vice President for Student Services at UNM. “She has been a strong leader not afraid to stand up to support her students to meet their needs.”
She was instrumental in ensuring that the ARC provided needed access for students such as closed captioning of lectures or videos, screen reading capabilities of printed materials, signed language interpreting, and conversion of printed text to Braille.
Green says that the technological advances over the years have been some of the greatest she’s seen for evening the playing field 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 says. “Now with the advances in adaptive equipment we are able to convert hundreds of textbooks and articles in a short amount of time.”
Outside of the classroom, Green was an instrumental part of the planning and consulting process for the renovation of UNM’s Smith Plaza. Thanks to her guidance and support, the once large concrete slab with only a “maze-like” accessibility ramp to get to the second level was transformed into a friendlier space for students will disabilities. “The renovation of Smith plaza was one of the biggest positive changes in allowing students with disabilities to move from one area of campus to another,” she says.
And while her career at UNM comes to an end, Green can be confident in knowing that she played a large part in helping countless students who may have started out at UNM uninformed, apprehensive, and reluctant to use accommodations, are subsequently able to graduate with self-advocacy skills, acceptance of self, and excitement as starting the next phase of their lives.
“I am blessed to have worked with a great group of people throughout my time at UNM,” she says. “People I will remember fondly as passionate about working with students with disabilities and ensuring their college experiences are equal to students without disabilities.”
Likewise, Green will be remembered as the foundation on ADA matters at UNM for the entire time she served. “We have been fortunate to have an invaluable asset like Dr. Green with such a vast knowledge base and unequivocal experience on compliance matters,” Gutierrez says.
To get more information on the services provided by the UNM Accessibility Resource Center, visit the ARC website.