During her 17 years at Temple, Associate Director of Disability Resources and Services Wendy Kohler has promoted a belief that there’s “not one size that fits all when it comes to learning.” Kohler will take that belief with her to her new job at the Community College of Philadelphia.
Kohler, who has also worked in Residential Life during her time at Temple, recently accepted the position of director of the Center on Disability at CCP and will spend her last day at Temple today, Nov. 27.
“I will miss Temple tremendously,” Kohler said. “It wasn’t easy [deciding to leave].”
During her time, she has helped many CCP transfer students adjust to Temple. She said she enjoys the high level of energy and the dynamic environment Temple students bring into her office, but she also sees the same characteristics in CCP students.
“[There’s a] heightened energy level at Temple and I have the same feeling at CCP,” Kohler said.
Kohler said she always found the interaction with Temple students mutually inspiring and beneficial. In her position at Disability Resources and Services, she said she was able to combine her qualification as a school psychologist as well as knowledge gained as a residential director at Peabody Hall.
Kohler said her main goal was to make Temple a more accessible environment for all students. Rather than attempting to work directly toward an individual’s problems, she said she would try to accommodate the needs of the students so that they enter a system and said Disability Resources and Services staff are basically “working themselves out of their own jobs” so they won’t be needed in the future.
During her time at Temple, Kohler worked with the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, which supports Temple with scholarships for students with disabilities. The endowment has awarded Temple $1.1 million since 1981, which is used for scholarships and a fund endowment, according to Disability Resources and Services’ website.
Thomas Wilfrid, the executive director of the Newcombe Foundation, said Kohler stands out among the administrators dealing with disability issues.
“In my five years of experience administering annual scholarship grants to more than 40 colleges and universities,” Wilfrid said in an email. “Wendy Kohler stands out as a thoughtful, caring administrator whose insights have helped Temple improve its office of Disability Resources and Services and also helped the Newcombe Foundation improve its Newcombe Scholarships for Students with Disabilities program.”
Wilfrid recalled that in 2008, the foundation asked eight colleges where they provide scholarships and asked how the foundation could adjust to allow university staff to do their jobs better.
“[Kohler] and her Temple colleagues had the courage to respond honestly, explaining how some of our guidelines were mismatched to student needs and how alternate guidelines would help them improve services,” Wilfrid said. “After we bounced Temple’s ideas off the other institutions in our program, our Foundation’s Trustees approved changes to their policy, which have now been in effect for several years.”
When Kohler leaves, Disability Resources and Services will go into a transitional phase and she is convinced that, “everything will be covered.”
A replacement for her position has not yet been named.
Kim Fuellenbach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.