Adjunct Instructor of History and Chaplaincy Coordinator Bill Plants (right) receives the Outstanding Service to Students with Disabilities Award from Director of Accessibility and Mental Health Services Dr. Courtney Ruggles (Left). Submitted photo.

Rio Professor Receives Outstanding Service Award

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College Office of Accessibility and Mental Health is proud to honor Adjunct Instructor of History and Chaplaincy Coordinator Bill Plants with the Outstanding Service to Students with Disabilities Award. The award is presented to an employee who has gone above the call of duty to advocate for and empower students with disabilities or who need accommodations on campus. Plants said he is grateful for the recognition of his efforts to further student success.

“It’s an honor to receive this award. I was very surprised, and I’m grateful that I was even nominated for this award. I have a relative who needs accommodations so this is something I can relate to on a personal level,” Plants said. “As an institution of higher education it’s important for us to focus on students as individuals and provide them with the opportunity for a quality educational experience. In some cases, that means making sure the necessary accommodations for them to succeed are readily available.”

The Outstanding Service to Students with Disabilities Award was first awarded in 2018, with Plants being the first adjunct faculty member to receive the honor. Director of Accessibility and Mental Health Services Dr. Courtney Ruggles said she is grateful for the efforts Plants has put into providing accessibility accommodations for his students.

“We’re so grateful for all of the faculty and staff who have worked to advocate for our students with disabilities to make sure they have a quality experience on campus. We chose Professor Plants for this year’s award because he has been devoted to advocating not only for students who currently have accessibility, but to make sure those would benefit also gain those opportunities. He has been very involved in following up with his referrals and doing everything he can to set up accommodations for those students,” Ruggles said. “We present this award because we want to recognize the faculty and staff who go beyond what is expected to advocate for this group of students on campus. Here at Rio, we focus on making sure all of our students are included and have access to the same opportunities.”

For more information on the Office of Accessibility and Mental Health, contact the Dr. Courtney Ruggles at (740) 245-7439.