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Dr. Charlie Jones, professor of business administration at East Central University, has been honored for his contributions to the achievements of post-secondary students with disabilities.

Jones received the 2008 Advocacy, Cooperation and Concern for Encouraging Student Success (ACCESS) award from the Oklahoma Association on Higher Education and Disability (OK-AHEAD). The presentation was made at the association's yearly conference.

"The ACCESS award is given to someone whose efforts and work address issues that impact students with disabilities," said Michael Shuttic, Student Disability Services/ADA compliance officer at Oklahoma State University. "It is someone who does so outside the scope of their usual job where it would be expected, such as a disability service provider or vocational rehabilitation counselor."

Shuttic also is a past OK-AHEAD president and board member.

Jones was selected for being a strong advocate, mentor and teacher who has helped to encourage students to pursue their educational goals, as well as to create a physical and attitudinal environment that enables success.

"As a person with a disability for almost 35 years," Jones said, "I am probably more aware of the struggles that persons with disabilities have on a day-to-day basis than the average person. One of the reasons I was able to attend the University of Oklahoma, which led to my present career, was because of the efforts of other persons with disabilities to try to secure equal access to education.

"After being hired at ECU, I was now in a position where I could help other persons with disabilities advocate for their rights," Jones said.

This fall Jones will begin his 22nd year at ECU. He has received numerous honors including ECU's Teaching Excellence Award and the Oscar L. Parker Center for the Advancement of Ethical Standards in Business and Society Professorship

He was appointed to the Governor's Advisory Committee to the Office of Disability Concerns and received the Governor's Commendation for Service to the State of Oklahoma. Jones was named Oklahoma's 1994 Outstanding Disabled Employee/Professional of the Year and the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Association's 1993 Citizen of the Year.

This spring Jones published "The Future of Disability Harassment Law in the Workplace" in the Advanced Management Journal.

"I feel very honored to receive this award. OK-AHEAD members are a special group of people. They work every day to help ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to succeed in higher education," Jones said.

OK-AHEAD's mission is to further full participation for individuals with disabilities in Oklahoma post-secondary education through collaboration and information dissemination, advocacy, professional and policy development, and research.

OK-AHEAD is an affiliate chapter of the international Association on Higher Education and Disability which is the premiere professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in post-secondary education.

Past Oklahoma ACCESS award recipients include Greg Burns, artist, 2007; E. Kirby Jr., Grace Ann Productions, 2006; Sen. Gilmer Capps and Rep. Abe Deutschendorf, 2005; Rodney Pratz and Kristie Long, Dream Institute, 2004; Sen. Bernest Cain Jr., 2003; Dean Van Trease, president, Tulsa Community College, 2002; and Ned Bastow, general counsel, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, 2001.

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