2024 Focus Award Recipient - Staff

Phelan Tinsley

Phelan Tinsley is an Academic Advisor within the John Martinson Honors College.  When he joined their staff in the fall 2022 semester, Mr. Tinsley immediately saw a need for disability access and advocacy. Phelan communicates often with the Disability Resource Center and the Office of Institutional Equity regarding accessibility concerns.  Among the issues Phelan has flagged, Phelan has been outspoken about the parking of e-bikes and scooters on campus, especially since this was causing inaccessible pathways for students. Through his communications with OIE, parking services, and Veo (the company that has contracted the e-bikes and scooters), Phelan motivated a change in practice on campus to fine users who do not properly stow the devices after use. 

Phelan has also presented work on disability justice and inclusive advising. His fall 2023 presentation titled “Access This! An Unofficial Purdue Accessibility Guide” urged faculty and staff to place themselves in the position of their differently-abled colleagues and students and make sure they were not just assisting but also advocating for better services on our campus. Last spring, Phelan presented at the NACADA Regional Conference on how advisors can create safe and inclusive spaces for their students.

Phelan’s efforts have been noticed not only by the faculty and staff at Purdue but also by the students he advises.  His nominators stated: “he shows true care and nonjudgement, and we are so lucky to work with him every single day.”