Services for Students with Disabilities engages campus perspectives to improve accessibility
Deliberate consultation with students and faculty drives service improvements.
Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) has applied the results of its first full-scale survey of faculty toward improving academic accommodations for students.
The results of the faculty survey, combined with feedback from a restructured version of an annual survey of students, led to a new online portal for students and instructors to manage information related to instructional accommodations. The portal, Accessible Information Management, launched this semester.
The portal enables
- Students to request initial accommodation or see current accommodations
- Students already connected with SSD to request their digital course accessibility letter (formerly accommodations letter)
- Faculty to review student accommodations requested for each of their courses and to acknowledge receipt for each student’s request
- Faculty to communicate directly with SSD about specific requests
"SSD is grateful for continuous feedback that allows us to enhance our operations. No two instructors teach exactly alike, yet our goal is to create seamless services that support students in every academic program," said Nikeshia Arthur, director of Services for Students with Disabilities.
In addition to creating the portal, SSD applied survey feedback to
- Revise its mission, goals, and outcomes
- Extend testing center service hours
- Update the accommodations delivery process
- Create plans for long-term student and faculty engagement
- Expand collaboration with instructors across the colleges
Future iterations of the faculty survey will be distributed every three years.
In another first in engaging campus stakeholders, SSD is sharing demographic results of its student survey with the university community.
Mya Hooks, academic coach and counselor, led SSD’s review process that drove the service innovations.
“During our program review, a student on the review committee said it would be helpful to know the results of those surveys,” said Hooks. “We want students to see that there are other students on campus with disabilities and that they’re part of a larger community.”
SSD has developed programming to build community among campus stakeholders, including a peer mentoring program and dialogues between students and university faculty and staff.
“We're really working to make campus feel more inclusive for students,” said Hooks, who added that strategic thinking about the student survey tool led to more engagement and higher-quality feedback.
“We connected our questions more directly to our goals and to student learning outcomes,” said Hooks, attributing the more-focused tool to better responses. “We had many more students responding to the survey, and among survey respondents, we had a 100 percent completion rate.”
In the demographic results of the student survey, Hooks pointed to a high rate of campus co-curricular participation as a good indicator of students finding belonging in their community. Eighty-six percent of respondents said they were involved in employment, clubs, fraternities and sororities, athletics, research, or volunteer opportunities.
Hooks called the enhanced communication tools the next step in continuous improvement. “We’re assessing student outcomes each semester to ensure we’re in line with criteria of the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education and that our efforts are connecting with the supports our students need.”