The role and purpose of disability resources and services in higher education is not simply one of compliance. In 2013, a group of professionals from the Council for the Advancement of Standards and Association on Higher Education And Disability authored a revised version of professional standards for DRS work. These standards define the scope of the work of DRS and provide a means of assessing the effectiveness of its work.In the preamble to the standards, the following points are made clear:➢ The work of DRS has changed significantly, in concert with increasing enrollment of students with disabilities.➢ The work of DRS is linked to all sectors of the campus.➢ The model approach for DRS is a resources + compliance model.The newly created mission for DRS has three foci that underscore its broad role:Determine and provide accommodations and access for individual students.Collaborate and consult with faculty, administrators, and staff, along with providing guidance and training on disability/access issues.Identify, address, and eliminate barriers: facilities, policies, digital systems.DRS offices facilitate the provision of extended time for testing; locating and hiring individuals to provide note‐taking, interpreting, real‐time captioning, and accessible furniture; procuring and producing/editing instructional materials from print formats to digital audio, large print, Braille, and tactile graphics; and arranging access to web/online materials. DRS professionals also provide review and approval of emotional support animals (in housing) and consult with faculty on the scope and appropriateness of accommodations in classroom, clinical, and internship settings.As the number of students with disabilities connected with a DRS office grows, the need for additional staff and student‐workers who can handle specialized tasks increases. Caseloads for individual DRS staff, who work‐one‐on one, is a perpetual question. I suggest 300 as a possible number. One caveat: a one‐person DRS office cannot manage such a caseload and carry out the full mission of DRS.Student‐workers in a DRS office, to be effective, require extensive onboarding and training.Additionally, to carry out the other two foci of the DRS mission, the coordinator or director will need to allocate time to collaborate with campus stakeholders about barrier removal and about providing consultation and training that increases inclusion and satisfies the college's compliance responsibilities. All higher education campuses are expected to have created and implemented improvements from their development of a transition plan (barrier removal) and a self‐evaluation (policies and procedures), first required by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, and again by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Campuses without these documents are at risk of an Office for Civil Rights investigation.It is vital to understand that the DRS office on your campus has a multifaceted role that involves direct service and consultation/collaboration with all sectors of the campus.About the authorTom L. Thompson is a principal consultant at TMLS Consulting. He is the former director of disability resources at three campuses in Illinois and California. This article is part of a five‐part series. Email him at email@example.com.Dean & Provost Board of AdvisorsDarby Dickerson Dean, The John Marshall Law SchoolHerman Berliner Dean, Zarb School of Business, Hofstra UniversityMarsha Kelliher Dean, Sigmund Weis School of Business, Susquehanna UniversityLucinda Lavelli Dean, College of Fine Arts, University of FloridaCynthia B. Worthen Campus Director, American College of Commerce and TechnologyJulian Z. Schuster Provost, Senior Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer, Webster UniversityMaria Vallejo VP of Growth & Expansion and Provost of the Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Campuses, Palm Beach State CollegeLisandra De Jesus Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Albany Technical CollegeStephanie Fabritius Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College, Centre CollegeErica Barone Pricci Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer, Lackawanna College
Dean & Provost – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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