Pitt State alumna Kerri Hanson is returning to the Jungle, this time as the university’s new Center for Accommodations coordinator.
Hanson graduated in 1998 with a degree in psychology and minor in developmental disabilities. She returned in 2014 to receive her master’s in family counseling, graduating in May 2018. Now, she is settling into her new position with eager anticipation of what opportunities it will bring.
“It’s exhilarating, amazing,” Hanson said. “(I’m) so thrilled (because) I graduated from Pitt State and so just being back and in a different role is just wonderful and I’m just so excited to be here.”
Hanson said she hopes to work closely with students, staff, and faculty to ensure students receive the help they need.
“Basically, to continue making sure students who are needing accommodations are getting it, but as well as keeping up their side of it, their responsibility to communicate and do the best they can while in class,” she said. “I’m wanting to just reach out and make sure staff and faculty and departments know I’m here and I’m open and I’m easy to work with. If there’s any questions anybody has I hope they feel comfortable to call or come in and let me know what they need or what they have questions about.”
After graduating, Hanson began work in Kansas City and later moved back to Pittsburg to pursue employment there.
“… I started working for a group home in Kansas City for several years for children who were on the verge of going to jail …” she said. “I was the manager, I represented the home, public relations kind of thing, made sure their treatments plans were written and up-to-date and followed. I worked for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City as a site director for school age services and there I … managed accounting, staff, and supervised … before school and after school services. Then we moved back to Pittsburg in 2005 and for 13 years I worked for the Headstart program. …”
During the application process, Hanson’s neighbor encouraged her to apply for the position without knowing she had already applied.
“I was out looking for jobs and the job description was very similar to school counseling and what I was looking for …” Hanson said. “It just happened to work out where my neighbor was super excited that she knew something … I was out looking for employment and thought how cool would it be to be back at Pitt State but at a different level.”
While Hanson is looking forward to her new position at PSU, she said she is still learning every day.
“… So basically students seek the assistance and come to the office and will request for accommodations in the classroom, then they provide me with supporting documentation of why they are needing some accommodations in the classroom … so then we can in turn help them and they will be approved for that process,” she said. “Lately I’ve been returning emails and phone calls from instructors wanting to know how they fit their class around the accommodation, I’ve been answering students’ emails and calls about questioning the accommodation in the class, a lot of communication between all departments … Keeping up-to-date with technology assistance, so students who are needing more accommodations in regards to taking notes, recording lectures for their benefit, audio books, keeping up-to-date with new programs. So I’m still learning, every day is different and new, so I enjoy it and am just thrilled to be a part of this on this campus.”
Any students needing accommodations in the classroom are encouraged to contact Hanson.
“I would mention that we are here to help support you, but I also want to emphasize that you as the student are still responsible for yourself, for your learning,” she said. “We’re here for some assistance, but at the same time I reiterate over and over, it sounds like, you have to advocate for yourself as well. We can be here to be beside you and help however possible, but I’m still going to push for that self-advocation and responsibility to take care of things and make sure they succeed at learning while here at Pitt State.”