Get to Know Your: Disability Resource Center director

Zach Sweat

Kristine Webb has a passion for working with college students who have diagnosed disabilities.

For the past six years, Webb has used that passion to benefit UNF students as the director of UNF’s Disability Resource Center.

Since Webb has been DRC director, the number of students who are registered with the DRC has tripled and the number of graduates from the DRC has increased significantly.

In 2005 the DRC had 11 students graduate. This past year, there were 96 graduates and their mean GPA was above a 3.0.

“What [we’re] doing is moving the stigma of disability, and so we are able to make folks comfortable with having a disability and using accommodations,” Webb said. “It doesn’t define them; it’s just a piece of whom they are.”

Webb said the most rewarding part of her job is seeing her students succeed and become independent not just in the classroom, but in their lives.

“It’s seeing a student graduate and secure employment, but further beyond that, it’s seeing a confident student embark on their futures,” she said.

Webb was recently honored for her accomplishments with Jacksonville.com’s prestigious EVE award in the field of education.

The EVE Awards is an annual event hosted by The Florida Times-Union that recognizes women in the areas of education, volunteer service and employment. Out of the three categories, four finalists receive honor for their important contributions of the previous year, and only one from each earns the most coveted award, the golden apple.

Webb was the recipient of the golden apple June 1 in the area of education for her significant accomplishments since arriving at UNF in 1998 and becoming director of the disability resource center in January 2006.

“It was humbling, thrilling, just amazing,” Webb said about receiving the award “I guess I see myself as a mere representative of the hundreds of women in our community who make life better for others.”

Webb graduated of the University of New Mexico with degrees in both adult education and disability studies. She said she always wanted to go into education. Even as a small child she wanted to be a teacher.

Before coming to UNF, Webb worked for three years at the University of Florida where she served as the director of the Florida Network: Information and Services for Adolescents and Adults with Special Needs.

When a faculty position opened up at UNF, Webb jumped on the opportunity.

“I was really about coming to UNF because it had a reputation about being a very student-centered institution,” Webb said.

After arriving at UNF, Webb served on the advisory board at the DRC in addition to being a professor at the college of education and human services.

When Webb’s predecessor Dr. Robert Lee wanted to step down from director to an associate position and look at retirement, Webb assumed the position of DRC director.

“It was the perfect opportunity for me to come in and be able to continue to be a professor but also to give direct service daily to students with disabilities,” Webb said.

Adrianna Fuentes, an exam specialist, has worked with Webb for several years in the DRC. Fuentes says Webb is both a wonderful professor and director.

“There is nothing to dislike. She is one of those people that it doesn’t matter what’s going on wrong, she finds a way to spin it right,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes said she did not know if Webb was going to get the EVE award in the end and was surprised, but said she could not think of anyone who could have deserved it more.

“I was invited to go [to the EVE luncheon] but could not,” she said. “When I got the text message about her winning I screamed. There’s no one more deserving.”