- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 28 October 2015
- Written by ALLISON PERRINE | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Ten years ago, Skip Carey was hired at the University as the Director of the Department of Disability Services (DDS). He attended Marist College and currently resides in Long Beach Island, NJ.
After he graduated from college, he taught English and Special Education at a high school, and eventually became a school social worker on a child study team.
“From there, I ran a district-wide student assistance counseling program before becoming a guidance counselor and lead counselor at a different high school,” Carey said.
“I retired from that district in 2005 as the Supervisor of Guidance and after three months, I started working here at MU. Having worked in a guidance office for many years, I’ve always had an interest in higher education. Given my background and experience, working in a disability services office at a university seemed like a good fit for my ‘second career,’” he continued.
On weekdays, Carey commutes from his home in LBI and comes to work in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center.
“As the Director of Disability Services, I am responsible for making sure that students who are registered with my office have equal access to academic programs, extracurricular activities, and social opportunities that are available to all MU students,” Carey said.
But what exactly does DDS do? According to Carey, “The Department of Disability Services provides reasonable accommodations and services to students who, under the laws that govern accommodations in higher education (ADA & Section 504 laws), have a diagnosis or a disability that qualifies them to seek such assistance.”
However, Carey has many other responsibilities. “My routine varies day-to-day. Each day includes individual meetings with students, attending committee meetings across campus, replying to emails and returning phone calls, meetings with prospective students and parents, time spent with professors and other administrators, and responding to emergencies and crises that arise,” he explained.
“An important part of my daily job is to make sure the University is in compliance with the laws that govern what we can and can’t do in higher ed, and what we should and shouldn’t be doing.”
Carey continued, “I work closely with staff members from the General Counsel’s Office and the Office of Equity and Diversity almost daily, and they are an incredible source of help and support to my office and the University at large.”
Aside from his position with DDS, Carey also teaches at the University. “I teach ED 101: Transition to College, a course offered to first year students who are registered with the DDS office,” Carey said.
“I enjoy teaching the class, as it covers a variety of issues that students experience as they transition from high school to college, and allows them an opportunity to share those experiences with each other.”
Erin MacDonald, a sophomore history student, has been working in the DDS office since the fall of her freshman year. “I love working at DDS,” she said. “I enjoy working with Skip and everyone else in the office. He is very approachable and you can see how the students find him helpful. He always makes students feel welcome and they know they can confide in him. He always has the best interest of the students.”
A student of Carey’s who has asked to remain anonymous shares the same feelings as MacDonald, “Skip has helped me whenever I’ve needed it. He and all of the other staff at DDS have been nothing but helpful.”
The student also added that the DDS system has greatly helped control feelings of nervousness regarding schoolwork, knowing that the office staff is always there to help and make everything more comfortable for the people involved.
When Carey isn’t working, he takes advantage of living in the beach town of LBI. “I enjoy water sports and spending as much time on the beach as I can, even in the winter, following football and basketball, and playing the bagpipes with the Ocean County Emerald Society Pipes & Drums band,” Carey said.