Office of Disability Services
In alignment with our college mission of scholarship, participation, and service, McPherson College strives to create an inclusive learning environment that provides equal access to all students. Working in collaboration with students, faculty, and staff, Academic Disability Services provides accommodation to students with a variety of needs. To request accommodation, please contact the Director of Academic Development at the Royer Center for Academic Development located on the main floor of Miller Library.
Student FAQ About Accommodation
What is ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act?
The Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 ensures that agencies that offer federal financial assistance do not subject individuals with physical and mental disabilities to exclusion, segregation, or unequal treatment. By complying with ADA and Section 504, the college meets basic nondiscrimination requirements, meaning it provides access or alternatives for access to facilities; makes reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures as necessary; and communicates effectively with people with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities.
How do I request accommodation?
If possible, contact the Royer Center for Academic Development to request accommodation two weeks prior to the start of the semester. It is the responsibility of the student to make the request. Please remember that if a student does not request services, services will not be provided. Although it is helpful for all students needing accommodation to meet with Academic Disability Services staff as soon as possible, accommodations requests can be accepted at any time. You can contact Carole Barr at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.Students should make accommodation requests to the Royer Center for Academic Development rather than making them directly to faculty members who are teaching their classes. Faculty members are instructed not to grant or deny accommodation requests from students and to refer such requests to Academic Disability Services staff.
Do I need to bring documentation of disability to my initial meeting with Academic Disability Services staff?
While it is helpful for our staff to have as much information as you feel comfortable sharing at our first meeting, documentation of disability is NOT required for the initial meeting. In fact, we encourage all students needing services to make an appointment with our staff as soon as they arrive on campus even if they do not have current documentation of disability.
What documentation is required to receive services?
Several different forms of documentation can be used to establish disability, and the extent of documentation required may vary depending on the claimed disability and requested accommodations. Third party documentation is requested to help clarify the nature of disability and provide insight into the ways the learning environment may impact disability. This documentation is used to supplement information gathered in the initial student interview and in the assessment by our staff. Additional documentation may be requested as deemed necessary to adequately meet the needs of each student and maintain a standard of reasonable accommodation. In some cases (but not in others), recent evaluations or final IEP evaluations, can aid our staff in ensuring that you receive the best possible accommodation.
What determines reasonable accommodation?
Reasonable accommodations are granted on a case-by-case basis pursuant to an interactive process between the institution and student. Reasonable accommodation will not and should not:
- substantially alter the educational standards ;
- fundamentally alter the nature of the program, course, service, activity, or policy/practice as written and applied;
- allow access to a program when a student is not otherwise qualified (with or without accommodations) to meet the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in an education program, course, service and/or activity;
- cause undue financial or administrative hardship (college-wide);
- be of a personal service in nature (personal aid or study coach);
- pose a direct threat to the health or safety of the student with a disability or others as a result of accommodation implementation.
Not all accommodation requests will be granted. Temporary accommodation may be available while the college engages in the interactive process to determine whether ongoing accommodation is appropriate and, if so, which reasonable accommodations are needed. Temporary accommodations do not reflect a determination that ongoing accommodation will be granted and/or which reasonable accommodations are appropriate, and do not create an obligation on the part of the college to continue accommodation.
Are granted accommodations retroactive?
No. Once a student requests and is granted an accommodation, the student is not able to redo assignments or retake exams that they originally completed before they requested and received accommodations.
Is my conversation with Academic Disability Services staff confidential?
Yes, you can meet to discuss possible accommodation with our staff and be assured that all conversations will be confidential. If you decide to request accommodation, our staff will explain how information will be communicated to appropriate parties on campus and ask you to sign an approval to release disability information for the purpose of accommodation.
Do I need to meet regularly with the Academic Disability Services staff?
Although regular meetings during the semester are not required, students are encouraged to meet with the Academic Disability Staff at the beginning of each semester. This meeting allows student and staff to review the past semester and discuss any additional accommodation or issues with accommodation. Of course, our staff is willing to meet regularly with any student wishing to do so.
What are some common accommodations?
- Extended time on in classroom exams
- A quiet, distraction-reduced testing environment
- Course note-taker (student volunteer)
- Books in an alternate format when available
- Use of the digital reader (in Miller Library Writing Center) to read texts or exams
- Preferential seating
- Use of assistive technologies
- Use of service animal
Is there a grievance procedure if I feel I am not receiving my approved accommodations?
Yes, grievances concerning accommodation and appeal (if accommodation has been denied) can be filed through the Director of Academic Development. If grievances cannot be mediated through the Director, they can be filed with the Chief Academic Officer.
Can my parents contact the academic disability services staff to ask about my academic progress?
Our staff believes that the best source of information concerning a student’s disability is the student. Release of any specific information concerning disability, academic progress, or accommodation plan will not be discussed with parents without a signed consent form. This form can be signed by the student at the time of request for services (at the initial confidential meeting) or anytime thereafter.
How do I arrange to use my accommodations?
To receive most services, the student must work directly with faculty and academic disability services to arrange accommodation. When your request for accommodation has been approved, you will be given a letter specifying your approved accommodations and the process necessary to arrange each accommodation. You should make an appointment to share this letter and discuss your accommodation plan with the professor of any of your courses for which you would like accommodation. Please remember that in college (unlike in high school), the students are expected to be self-advocates and managers of the accommodation process.
- early advisement and assistance with registration;
- substitution of course requirements, where such substitution does not compromise the integrity of an academic plan or diminish academic standards;
- extended time for exams, taped or oral exams, use of a digital reader for an exam, being allowed to eat or rest during an exam, use of a distraction-reduced testing environment, alternative testing schedule, or other special testing procedures;
- extended time for papers and projects;
- substitution of similar or related work for non-essential course requirements;
- advance notice regarding booklists or vocabulary lists for visually impaired and some learning disabled students;
- classroom aids, such as note-takers, computers, sign language interpreters, or the taping of lectures;
- classroom, study lab, or computer lab accessibility for students with impaired mobility, including the relocation of classes; *
- special equipment or furniture in classrooms, study areas, or computer labs (enlargers, amplifiers, captioners, etc);
*In an attempt to make all classroom areas more accessible, faculty is asked to be sensitive to seating arrangements and should see that the aisles and doorways are free of obstacles.
The key principle is “accommodation,” not the altering of academic standards or course content. The student must make his or her abilities and limitations known and must meet the instructor’s expectations regarding class participation, attendance, and performance.
In addition to the approved accommodations, we provide other academic support services that may be beneficial to the student.
- The Royer Center provides tutoring in almost all subject areas. Tutoring may include study groups and/or individual appointments.
- The Royer Center offers courses in college reading and college study skills.
The Director of Academic Development is available for regular meetings with students who may need special assistance with time management, study skills, and academic counseling. The Royer Center also partners with faculty and the Director of Library Services to provide exam proctoring services for the campus community.
Please contact the Royer Center for Academic Development to request accommodation. It is the responsibility of the student to make the request. Please remember that if a student does not request services, services will not be provided. Therefore, it is essential for all students needing accommodation to meet with Academic Disability Services staff as soon as possible.
Although no student may be required by the school to disclose information regarding his or her disability, the student must inform the school of his or her disability in order to secure the needed accommodations. This “self-disclosure” must follow the procedures outlined below.
- Schedule a meeting with the Director of Academic Development and complete the following: a) Request for Disability Services Form; b) an academic services plan, designed, and established cooperatively by the student and the director.
- Submit verifiable, professional documentation of the disability to the Royer Center for Academic Development when requested by the Director of Academic Development.
- Sign the “Release of Information Statement,” allowing the college to inform key personnel of relevant information regarding the student’s disability and receive an Accommodation Letter specifying approved accommodations.
- Meet with course professors to share the Accommodation Letter.
- Work in cooperation with the Director of Academic Development, faculty members, and other staff in implementing the required accommodations.
- Meet with the Director of Academic Development at the beginning of each semester to review accommodation plan and make any necessary updates or changes.
Grievances concerning accommodation and appeal (if accommodation has been denied) can be filed through the Director of Academic Development. If grievances cannot be mediated through the Director, they can be filed with the Chief Academic Officer.
Policy of Non-Discrimination and Confidentiality
McPherson College does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the recruitment of students, faculty, staff, or in the operation of any of its educational programs and activities, as required by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states: “No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of . . . disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” McPherson College is committed to full compliance with the federal laws named above.
Students who have or are regarded as having either a temporary or permanent disability are welcome at McPherson College under the regular admissions requirements. McPherson College seeks to create an environment in which all members of the community are free from harassment, discrimination, and threats of violence. Efforts are made in every department to inform students and prospective students of the rights of persons with disabilities under the law and the commitment of McPherson College to non-discrimination toward persons with disabilities.
It is the specific responsibility of the college administration and all faculty serving in a teaching capacity to ensure the college’s full compliance with the policies and procedures described above.
McPherson College is committed to protecting the privacy and dignity of all students who attend this school. In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, no applicant, or student, or potential user of the facilities or services of McPherson College shall be required to disclose in writing or orally that he or she has a disability. It is the right of the student voluntarily to self-disclose; the college may request information about a student’s disability only after the student has voluntarily disclosed his or her disability.
McPherson College will maintain the confidentiality of a student’s medical and academic records, except under the following conditions and for the following purposes:
- supervisors, managers, residence hall assistants, faculty, and other appropriate parties, including tutors, may be informed of a student’s disability for the purpose of facilitating essential aid and accommodations. Every attempt will be made to inform the student when confidential information has been passed on.
- first aid and safety personnel may be informed where necessary, if the student requires emergency treatment.
- government officials investigating compliance with the Acts shall be provided with relevant information upon request.
McPherson College supports the use of service animals and emotional support animals on campus by those with disabilities in appropriate circumstances and in accordance with this policy. Those with questions about the use of service animals or emotional support animals should refer to this policy and/or contact the Royer Center for Academic Development on the main level of Miller Library. Policy: Animals on Campus including Service and Emotional Support