Article update: Julie DeGraw passed away in August 2023. Although Julie is no longer with us, we celebrate her legacy of compassion, partnership and commitment, advancing accessibility for the university community.
Julie DeGraw served as the accommodations specialist in the Human Resources Office of Employee Relations at Michigan State University. In this role, she acted as a neutral party on behalf of the university to bring forward disability-related workplace accommodation requests. Julie was with MSU Human Resources since 2020. Prior to joining MSU, she worked at Bluffton University in Ohio and College of Lake County in Illinois.
The MSU 2030 Strategic Plan prioritizes creating an environment in which excellence and opportunity thrive, attracting and retaining talent in a space where staff and faculty can do their best work. Along with everything we do in HR, my work as an accommodations specialist does just that. I coordinate between the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities and the Office of Employee Relations to process workplace accommodation requests for employees with disabilities.
Employees with disabilities looking for workplace accommodations begin by registering with the RCPD and providing documentation of a disability. I then work with the employee and an RCPD specialist to complete a needs assessment and bring forward accommodation requests to discuss with the employee’s unit leadership. My work with the employee, their unit leadership and the RCPD equip the unit to provide the necessary accommodation for the employee to thrive at work. The final product is a Statement of Employee Accommodation Determination, or SEAD. Between May 2021 and May 2022, our office has completed nearly 200 SEADs for MSU faculty and staff.
I’ve spent my entire career in higher education, and I’m passionate about its power and impact on someone’s future. At MSU, I’m proud to work with people in HR who recognize the importance of our employees with disabilities. Workplace accommodations are a win-win for employees and the university.
The strategic plan confirms that “MSU’s biggest investment — and most important asset — is the exceptionally talented staff and faculty at the core of the Spartan community.” Whether through disability accommodation, employee benefits, leave programs and time off, customer service for employment and benefits or the many other services MSU Human Resources provides staff and faculty, we all support these imperatives and help make MSU a workplace of choice.
Employees with disabilities seeking workplace accommodation can get started at the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities.