Two University of Victoria McPherson Library staff members will be receiving a National Inclusive Education award from the CACL and the British Columbia Association for Community Living. Shailoo Bedi and Carlie Graham are being recognized for their leadership in making the McPherson Library an inclusive learning environment and workplace for students with developmental disabilities.
For a student, being fully included in a University or College means more than just attending class. It means having equal access to all aspects of post-secondary life: recreational activities, employment opportunities and access to common learning spaces such as the library. Carlie and Shailo have taken the initiative and to advance inclusive education at a post secondary level.
Shailo Bedi, the Director of Systems and Client Services at UVic’s McPherson Library, has been instrumental in creating a way for students with developmental disabilities to access part-time “student assistant” employment at the library.
Typically these positions have only been open to students taking courses for credit.
Carlie Graham, Manager of the Music and Media department at McPherson Library, has employed a student with a developmental disability for the last three years, taking leadership within the University as a whole to promote what needs to happen to make student positions successful within the University.
“Both Shailoo and Carlie model to the university community as a whole what it means to be a fully inclusive service,” writes Jessica Humphrey, Director at the STEPS Forward Inclusive Post-Secondary Education. “Because the library has taken leadership in defining auditing students with developmental disabilities as fully participating, it changes the way that others within the University – students, faculty and staff – see the value and potential of students with developmental disabilities.”
These two individuals are shining examples of how accommodations and changes in approach for one student can help others to see the value and potential of students with developmental disabilities in all aspects of university life.