Services to Students with Disabilities (SSD) at Cal State San Bernardino has welcomed Lori Palmerton as the department’s new director. Palmerton comes to CSUSB from Cal State Fullerton where she was the director of Disability Support Services (DSS) for seven years.

“I am honored to have become a member of the pack here at CSUSB and look forward to contributing to the incredible work already happening on this campus in support of our students with disabilities in providing equal and meaningful access to every part of their educational experience,” Palmerton said. “The SSD team is amazing to work with and I look forward to all of the great work we will do as we frame our work through a social justice lens. I look forward to collaborating with all of the talented and dedicated leaders on this campus as we empower students and help change the conversations around disability. So happy to be here!”

In this role, Palmerton serves as CSUSB’s lead administrator for SSD, under the associate vice president of student success and educational equity, Molly Springer, in the Division of Student Affairs.

“Lori Palmerton comes with just a huge wealth of experience in disability student services and disability studies,” said Springer. “This work is complex, and we are incredibly fortunate that she is now here with us at CSUSB after already running the DSS at CSU Fullerton. She is a valuable to this work within the CSU, across the state and sits on a number of CSU statewide committees. I firmly believe that our students are in the good hands of an equity centered leader.”

In this role, Palmerton provides vision, planning and implementation of a program for students with disabilities that creates equal access to the curriculum, activities and physical campus in adherence to university, state and federal regulations. As a member of the CSU Chancellor’s Office’s Services to Students with Disabilities committee, she is the primary liaison to the CSUSB campus community and the Chancellor’s Office, spending much of her time collaborating with faculty and staff to promote equity and support the academic success of our students.

Before joining CSUSB, Palmerton was also the associate director and interim director for the Disability Service Center at University of California, Irvine where she trained and led the disability specialist team and oversaw front operations and the cart transportation system. In her tenure at UCI, she created a disability ally program and drafted new university policies and procedures to better meet the needs of students with disabilities. She also was a strong advocate for student success in her alliances with faculty and staff. 

Prior to her role at UC Irvine, Palmerton served as a disability specialist at UC Riverside where she oversaw the caseload of all students with medical, learning and psychological disabilities. In this role she was instrumental in creating the Veteran Ally program along with increasing outreach and awareness for students with disabilities across campus. 

Before moving into disability services in higher education, Palmerton served as a PPS (pupil personnel services) counselor in the K-12 setting, advocating for students with disabilities and providing individual and group counseling. 

Palmerton has a long history in higher education within student affairs, beginning as a peer advisor at the University of Oregon as she completed her bachelor’s degree, then working in admissions, advising and financial aid, finally landing in disability services where she has remained. 

Palmerton earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oregon, a master’s in counseling psychology from California Baptist University and a master’s in education from the University of Redlands. She is currently working toward her doctorate in education at Cal Poly Pomona with an emphasis on higher education, focusing on women with psychological disabilities persisting toward their degree. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist with the state of California and holds a credential in school counseling for K-12. 

In her free time, Palmerton loves spending time with her two granddaughters, gardening and hanging out with her three rescue cats and her family.