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Wendy Strobel Gower and Andrew Karhan  headshots

Yang-Tan Institute Announces Directors

The ILR School’s Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability has named Andrew Karhan and Wendy Strobel Gower as Thomas P. Golden Directors.

Karhan will serve as the director of Disability Workforce Development and New York State Policy and Legislative Initiatives, and Strobel Gower will serve as the director of Disability-Inclusive Workplaces and Employer Fee-for-Service Initiatives.

Both positions are named in honor of Thomas Golden, a national disability policy and practice leader who was serving as the institute’s executive director when he died in 2020. In 2021, K. Lisa Yang ’74, benefactor of the K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan Institute on Employment and Disability, established a named directorship, as well as a named courtyard at ILR, through gifts honoring Golden’s legacy.

“After a national search last fall, deep reflection about the contemporary needs of our institute, and in recognition of internal leadership talent, we have decided to create two director positions to best serve the current and future needs of our organization,” said Susanne M. Bruyère, who will continue as the institute’s academic director.

The institute’s staff has doubled to nearly 70 people in the past 10 years with the expansion of regional, state, national and global projects to promote disability equity, she said. Yang-Tan Institute focus areas include: Workplace Issues, Health & Wellbeing, Community Inclusion, Data, Education & Learning and Emerging Topics.

Alex Colvin, Ph.D. ’99, ILR’s Kenneth F. Kahn ’69 Dean and Martin F. Scheinman ’75, M.S. ’76, Professor of Conflict Resolution, said, “For nearly 60 years, the Yang-Tan Institute has advanced knowledge, policies and practices to support people with disabilities in workplaces, schools and communities. The new positions reflect the continued deepening of our commitment.”

Associate Dean for Outreach and Sponsored Research Ariel Avgar, Ph.D. ’08, said, “We are incredibly grateful to Lisa Yang for supporting the institute’s mission, especially in a way that memorializes Thomas Golden, who modeled inclusion every day, not only in the national disabilities policies he helped shape, but in his interpersonal interactions. Leadership by Wendy and Andrew through the new positions will help extend the vision that Thomas personified.”