Meet Josef Mogharreban, the new director of WWU's Disability Access Center
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Josef Mogharreban was hired last fall to serve as director for Western's Disability Access Center and deputy ADA coordinator and since his arrival, he has been working to get a clear picture of how he can best serve the University community.
Before coming to Western, Mogharreban directed disability services at North Seattle College, conducted rehabilitation counseling for the California Department of Rehabilitation and for Colorado’s Division of Vocation Rehabilitation, and worked at the University of Washington’s Access Technology Center. He also taught at Northern Illinois University and the University of Washington.
With a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and a doctorate in rehabilitation science, Mogharreban provides for Western valuable insight on the many ways disability affects our lives. Specifically, his education has explored disability from an employment perspective and the lifespan development of people with disability.
“Through that work, I was also able to engage in a fair amount of teaching and was able to find Western’s rehabilitation counseling program through those efforts,” Mogharreban said. “Western’s the only rehabilitation counseling master’s program in the state of Washington, so I was very interested in engaging with folks here and providing some education and guest lecturing as I could.”
In addition to his primary role as director of the Disability Access Center, Mogharreban will also teach for Western’s Rehabilitation Counseling program.
Michael Sledge, the executive director for Student Life at Western, said Mogharreban’s extensive professional background working with people with disabilities will be a real benefit to the university.
“We’re excited that Josef accepted the position,” Sledge said. “He brings 15 years of experience working with, and advocating for, people with disabilities at nonprofits, state agencies and in higher education.”
Mogharreban is currently in the process of gathering information to determine his staffing needs, and he intends to refine the model of the DAC to emphasize the needs of Western students and provide the best support it can. He’d also like to work with people across Washington on initiatives such as the Institute for Disabilities Studies.
Through his efforts, he hopes to impart on Western students a perspective on disability that counters the ableist perspectives and stigma that pervade society.
I really like the opportunity to share the perspective that disability is a very normal part of society, a very normal part of our human experience.
“I really like the opportunity to share the perspective that disability is a very normal part of society, a very normal part of our human experience. Folks with disabilities are in some ways different, but not less than anyone else,” Mogharreban said.
“My entire professional experience has led to a position like this, and I’m certainly grateful that Western has given me the opportunity to extend my reach, serving a much larger population at a four-year institution with such a stellar reputation.”
Mogharreban likes to spend his free time with his family outside of the office, with two young children keeping him on his toes. Now that his family has finally settled in Bellingham, he also plans to take advantage of all the local recreational possibilities.
“I would love to get on a paddleboard and take a look around. Even though it’s cold this time of year, I can see how breathtaking it will be when the sun comes out,” he said.