Nikeshia Arthur '07, formerly of the Office for Equity and Accessibility (OEA) at Virginia Tech, is the new director of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), a department within Student Affairs, as of May 1.

Arthur is passionate about civil rights and has spent most of her career in that area. She previously worked as the assistant director for civil rights compliance and deputy Title IX coordinator for OEA. Prior to that, she served as equal opportunity and affirmative action manager through June 2017 and equal opportunity compliance specialist through March 2015, also for OEA. She earned her B.A. in political science from Virginia Tech and her J.D. from The College of William and Mary School of Law.

“Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand the good work that comes out of SSD, and it really created a desire in me to be part of that,” said Arthur. “The university is growing and expanding, and with that, we’re going to grow in the populations we serve. I think we’re at a really interesting time in the university’s history where we’re moving beyond what we’ve always done or perhaps what we’re simply required to do, and we’re considering how we can make this environment more accessible for everyone.”

SSD assists Student Affairs and the university in advancing Virginia Tech’s efforts to create and maintain a campus climate in which students with disabilities experience full access and inclusion in curricular and co-curricular opportunities. Through collaborative partnerships with campus stakeholders, SSD provides progressive services to promote student learning, personal growth, and development of life skills.  

“While we provide accommodations to students with disabilities, we also want to explore how we can make our teaching accessible to everyone. We might not need as many accommodations if we establish a more inclusive environment altogether.”

Arthur mentioned one of the challenges students with disabilities face is the feeling of isolation, especially if they perceive themselves to be the only ones facing a specific challenge. Support from SSD — whether through direct, individual services or indirect, universal accessibility features — improves student success and well-being.

“There really is so much more that we can do, and it’s in the spirit of the university that we continue to serve all students with fidelity,” said Arthur. “The last director of SSD made a tremendous impact, and I’m so grateful to follow in her footsteps.”

Written by Tiffany Woodall