University hires alumnus as new disability services director

The new director for the office of Disability Support Services said he hopes to bring better understanding, maximized independence and an enhanced learning experience for disabled students.

Sam Goodin, current dean of students at Michigan University and SIU alumnus, has led a career at multiple universities in different positions since 1981 before he was hired to work at SIUC. He was hired early June and will begin his duties July 2.

During his time working at schools such as University of North Dakota, California State University, Los Angeles and Indiana University, Goodin’s positions included the director of disabled student services and veterans affairs as well as counselor for disabled student services.

Former director of disabilities support services Ron Blosser was in charge when Goodin was an undergraduate student at SIUC and he played a major role in Goodin’s interest in disability services.

Goodin said he is excited to begin his work with disability services because he gets to work at the school where he graduated from in an area where he grew up.

“When I was in grade school I worked as a volunteer at the SIU museum, also when I was in grade school I used to skateboard down the hill there at Pulliam. My father and mother both worked at SIU and retired from SIU… you could say I have a great historical knowledge of the area,” Goodin said.

The office of Disability Support Services at SIUC provides a range of academic accomodations for disabled students such as note takers for students who need them in the classroom, interpreters, lab assistants and tutors.

Goodin said his first order of business will be differentiating between the disability support services and the achieve office.

“People could become unclear as to sort of the connection of the two programs and they’re very different so what I want to do is take a look at how they interact with each other as well as what the public perceptions of the two programs are,” Goodin said.

Rita Vanpelt, interim director of the disability support services, said the organization has had a long and successful history serving disabled students and she is excited to spend some time with the new director.

“It’s hard to believe that I’ve worked at DSS for over 25 years already; it’s a great place to work and a privilege to serve our students with disabilities,” Vanpelt said. “I look forward to working with Sam in the coming months.”

Katherine Sermersheim, associate dean of students, said she is also happy to see a new director because the disability support services plays a vital role within the campus by maximizing the independence of disabled students. She said Goodin will help compliment the organization.

“(The department of disability support services) has a great staff who stand ready to assist our students. The addition of Mr. Sam Goodin will complement the team, while assisting the unit to stay cutting edge with its programs and services,” Sermersheim said.

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About Austin Flynn

Austin Flynn can be reached at or 536-3311 ext.252.

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