- Academic Advisement
- Academic Adjustments
- Adaptive Equipment/Assistive Technology
- Consultation with Faculty and/or Staff
- Referrals for Assessment/Evaluation
- Course Substitution Assistance
- Enlarged Print/Braille Materials
- Financial Assistance Information
- Interpreter Services
- Physical Access/ Adaptations To Physical Facilities
- Accommodations in Residential Living
- Safety and Security
- Access to Technology
- Textbooks on Tape or Compact Disc
The coordinator of Disability Services, in conjunction with freshman and upper-level advisors, will assist students (upon request of the student or advisor) with selecting courses and determining the appropriate course load for the student. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the University will offer advising services to students with disabilities in an accessible place and manner.
Academic adjustments are those changes that will minimize or eliminate the impact of a disability and allow equal access to a Philadelphia University education. Examples of academic adjustments may include, but are not limited to: reduced course load, extended testing time, testing in a reduced distraction environment, educational support in the areas of time/stress management and learning strategies, modified tutoring services, alternative testing formats (e.g. essay or oral), use of assistive technologies (e.g. tape recorders, computers), note takers, and readers. Once the coordinator of Disability Services approves an academic adjustment for a student, she will provide the student with an academic adjustment letter setting forth the specific academic adjustment to be afforded to the student. The student is responsible for providing the academic adjustment letter to the faculty member(s) teaching the course(s) in question. The coordinator of Disability Services continues to act as a resource for the student.
DISABILITY ACCOMMODATION IN ROSTERING: For some students with disabilities, accommodations in the rostering of classes may be appropriate. These accommodations, which are based on the student's documented needs, could include changing the location of classes. If a course or classroom is not accessible to a student, the University may move the class, alter the classroom, or provide alternative arrangements that would be comparable to conditions provided to non-disabled students. Eligible students will:
- File a request with the coordinator of Disability Services at least one month prior to the start of preregistration for the term for which the accommodation is requested. Where the need for accommodation is the result of a new diagnosis or a changed situation or circumstance, the student should see the coordinator of Disability Services immediately. The coordinator of Disability Services will contact the Registrar's Office on the student's behalf to discuss the request. Such requests will be honored to the extent that the University's resources permit.
- Follow through with the rostering process.
MODIFIED TUTORING SERVICES: The Learning and Advising Center at the University offers a variety of services to the campus community: drop-in peer tutoring, professional tutoring by appointment, review sessions, and workshops. The services currently offered may be modified to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Eligible students will:
- Obtain tutoring through the Learning and Advising Center by utilizing the drop-in schedule and professional hours. Contact the tutorial coordinator concerning scheduling issues.
- Request additional services through the coordinator of Disability Services as early in the semester as possible. If the student's documentation indicates that additional services may be necessary in order to gain equal access to tutoring, the coordinator of Disability Services will discuss such accommodations with the tutorial coordinator.
- Meet with the tutorial coordinator to make tutoring and scheduling arrangements once an accommodation has been approved.
- Attend tutoring sessions regularly and notify the tutorial coordinator in advance if the accommodations are no longer required.
NOTE-TAKER SERVICES: If a disability interferes with a student's ability to take notes in the classroom, the coordinator of Disability Services should be contacted as soon as possible in order to seek assistance. Eligible students will:
- Deliver letters of accommodation to the faculty member(s) teaching the course(s) in question and discuss how the note-taker will be identified and how notes will be distributed.
- Identify a fellow student in the class as a volunteer to share his/her notes. If a student is unable to locate a notetaker or problems arise during the semester, he/she should contact the coordinator in a timely manner. The coordinator may assist students in obtaining this service through cooperation with the instructor.
- Inform the coordinator of Disability Services of the arrangement made.
- Pick up notes regularly. Photocopies of notes may be made in the Disability Services Office with the coordinator's permission.
- Make the request in writing to the coordinator of Disability Services at least two months prior to the start of the semester. The request will be forwarded to the vice president for Academic Affairs. Students can request a reduced load for one semester, based on the courseload for that semester, or for the duration of their academic careers, if appropriate.
- Provide documentation that supports the request.
- Meet with the staff of the Financial Aid Office. The request for a reduced courseload may have an impact on financial aid in the future. Students should also consider that the decision to maintain a reduced courseload may prolong the time required for the completion of degree requirements.
AUDIO/VIDEO TAPING OF LECTURES: Individuals with documented disabilities may need to tape-record lectures in order to have equal access to information presented. A request to receive this accommodation should be made to the coordinator of Disability Services. Eligible Students will:
- Provide documentation that supports the request.
- If the request is approved, the student must deliver the letters of accommodation from the coordinator of Disability Services to the faculty member(s) who are teaching the course(s) in question.
- Destroy the tapes at the end of the semester. A student with disabilities who is permitted to tape lectures may do so only to gain access to the information provided in connection with the specific course(s) for which the request was approved. The tapes may not be transferred to any other student.
TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS: Assistance in taking exams is available for students with documented disabilities through the coordinator of Disability Services in conjunction with the faculty member(s) teaching the courses in question. The University will provide appropriate auxiliary aids that neither fundamentally alter the skills or knowledge that the examination is intended to test, nor result in an undue burden to the University. Auxiliary aids include, but are not limited to:
- Extended time
- Reduced distraction environment
- Testing on a computer
- Use of a scribe or reader
- Enlarged print or Braille exams
- Tape-recording exam questions
- Use of interpreters
- Alternative testing formats*
Eligible students will:
- Deliver the letters of accommodations from the coordinator of Disability Services to the faculty who are teaching the course(s) in question, and discuss what is needed with each faculty member. Students are not obligated to discuss the exact nature of their disability with the faculty member(s).
- Discuss with faculty the type of exam that will be given (multiple choice, essay, short answer) in order to determine whether any additional assistance is needed, e.g., tests on computer, scribe, enlarged-print exam.
- Discuss with faculty the manner in which the exam will be given. In many cases, students eligible for this accommodation are able to make arrangements with their instructors. Students may arrange to take exams in class or in an instructor's office with accommodations.
- Schedule exams to be taken in the Disability Services Office if the student is unable to secure accommodations through the faculty member. Exams must be scheduled to be taken in the Disability Services Office at least three business days in advance. Midterms and finals require further notice. All exams must be scheduled at the same time as the class is scheduled to take them. Requests for exceptions must be reviewed by the faculty member to determine when the exam can be administered.
Exam scheduling with the Disability Services Office requires students to:
- Fill out an “Exam Scheduling Form” at the Disability Services Office and submit it to Disability Services personnel.
- Determine with the faculty member how the exam will be delivered to the Disability Services Office and returned to the faculty member (i.e. faculty will send, faculty will drop off, or student will deliver the day of exam in a sealed envelope).
- Inform the coordinator of Disability Services if the use of a computer, computational aids, enlarged-print exam, reader or scribe will be needed.
- Notify the faculty member of the final arrangements that have been made.
- Notify the coordinator of Disability Services as soon as possible if a change in arrangements is necessary. If an exam is cancelled and must be rescheduled, the coordinator must have written or verbal permission from the faculty member to cancel or reschedule the exam.
Exams may be sent to the Disability Services Office via the following: Instructor may deliver exam to office, send via confidential interoffice mail, send exam with the student in a sealed envelope, email exam with a read receipt request to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, or fax to 215.951.2770. When the Disability Services Office receives an exam, it is stored in a secure location until the exam is administered. All exams are proctored by Disability Services Office proctors. Proctors must sign a confidentiality agreement and appropriate action will be taken for any breach of confidentiality.
Exam return options are as follows: Instructor may pick up exam from Disability Services Office, Disability Services may send via interoffice mail, student may return exam to instructor in a sealed envelope, or exam may be faxed to instructor. Student answers for exams that will be mailed or returned by the student will be photocopied by the coordinator or administrative assistant and securely filed in the coordinator's office. Copies are available to instructors and serve as a backup in the event that a completed exam does not reach the instructor in a timely manner. All exam copies are destroyed at the end of each semester. Instructors who request that no copies be made should pick up completed exams in the Disability Services Office.
- Exam Scheduling Forms must be complete with all required information in order for accommodations to be guaranteed.
- If a student is late for an exam, the time lost will be deducted from the time allotted.
- All non-exam-related materials must be left outside of the testing room.
- Meet with appropriate faculty to determine the kinds of testing formats used in the specific course.
- Provide additional documentation to the coordinator of Disability Services, as needed, to determine the appropriateness of this accommodation.
- Requests for alternative test formats should be made at the start of each semester.
- Requests made after the first test in the course are not ordinarily considered, unless the student's need for accommodation does not arise until the semester has begun.
- Requests may be granted only if the change in format does not alter an integral part of the course or the objectives of the test.
ADAPTIVE EQUIPMENT/ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY
The University will offer adaptive equipment/assistive technologies for academic purposes as well as training for student usage. This may include, but is not limited to: tape recorders, amplification systems, and adaptive computer hardware and software. The coordinator of Disability Services will work in conjunction with appropriate offices, i.e., the Office of Information Technology, Gutman Library, Physical Plant and others, to provide additional equipment as needed, based on available campus resources. Contact the Disability Services Office for a list of equipment currently available. All equipment must be returned in full working order by the end of the academic year. In the event that equipment is not returned, replacement costs will be charged to student accounts. Eligible students will:
- Request adaptive equipment to access the classroom or other services through the coordinator of Disability Services.
- Meet with the coordinator of Disability Services at the start of each semester to identify the needs and accommodations needed to gain accessibility to the classroom, library information, and other services. The coordinator will work with the appropriate departments to facilitate accommodations.
CONSULTATION WITH FACULTY/STAFF All information regarding students is kept confidential and only disclosed to those individuals with a legitimate need to know. All students working with the coordinator of Disability Services should have a current signed release form on file. Once the release form is in place, the student may request that the coordinator of Disability Services consult with faculty members or other University staff to discuss the functional limitations of the student's disability, as well as reasonable accommodations to be provided to the student.
CLASS ATTENDANCE ISSUES
Accommodations related to class attendance may be considered, where appropriate, for students with health-related disabilities. Accommodations will not be considered should absences compromise academic standards or fundamentally alter the nature of a course. All requests must be submitted to the coordinator of Disability Services for review. The submission of medical documentation to the coordinator may be required.
REFERRALS FOR ASSESSMENT/EVALUATION
The coordinator of Disability Services provides assistance and referrals for students who suspect they may have a disability. However, the University does not provide psychological evaluations. Once documentation of specific learning problems is received from the student and/or the student's health care provider, potential academic adjustments can be assessed.
Although the coordinator of Disability Services will provide verification of disability and functional limitations to the administrators who are assessing whether to permit a student to substitute courses and assist the student in preparing the required information for requesting course substitutions, the student must assume responsibility for initiating and following through with a request for course substitution. The initial request should be submitted to the dean of the appropriate School. Any appeal of the dean's decision should be referred to the vice president for Academic Affairs. The University will consider course substitution only to the extent that such modifications are justifiably reasonable. Furthermore, the same learning objectives must be upheld while maintaining the overall integrity of the curriculum. Course substitution must not substantially or fundamentally alter the program of the University.
ENLARGED PRINT OR BRAILLE MATERIALS
The coordinator of Disability Services will assist students in obtaining enlarged print and Braille materials. Materials may include textbooks, handouts, or exams. Eligible students will:
- Meet with the coordinator of Disability Services to determine the materials needed. Provide textbook information as needed.
- Deliver letters of accommodation from the coordinator of Disability Services to the faculty member(s), which outline the needs for advance copies of handouts needing enlarging or printing in Braille format. When necessary, the coordinator of Disability Services will obtain copies of materials in an alternative format.
- Utilize the facilities of the assigned office to enlarge handouts, class notes, or textbook materials, as needed.
- Request assistance from outside agencies in this process, as needed.
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE INFORMATION
Individual students are not charged for services provided by the Disability Services Office. However, students may need to work with the coordinator of Disability Services to identify existing resources and apply for financial assistance. These resources are used to obtain the auxiliary aids appropriate for the individual. The coordinator of Disability Services also directs students to the appropriate state offices/agencies for information on additional options, including the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
Coordination of interpreter services, e.g., sign language interpreters and captioning services, will be offered to students with disabilities when offering such an accommodation would not fundamentally alter the nature of the services, facilities, or privileges offered by the University. The coordinator of Disability Services will facilitate these services. Eligible students will:
- Meet with the coordinator of Disability Services prior to the start of the semester. Individuals with severe hearing loss will work with the coordinator to identify the most appropriate accommodation. The University reserves the right to request a report from a qualified audiologist, which identifies the possible means of communication for the individual.
- Provide information regarding the courses, programs, and services for which the services will be needed once a determination has been made that interpreters are necessary.
- Request services three weeks in advance in the event that an interpreter is needed for a scheduled program. The coordinator of Disability Services will coordinate the interpreter services and inform the individual of the arrangements made.
- Report any roster changes to the coordinator of Disability Services within 24 hours of the schedule change. As a student may occasionally not be in attendance at a scheduled class meeting or event, the student should give at least 24 hours' notice of these instances, when possible.
- Report any concerns. The hiring of interpreters will follow the guidelines outlined by the Disability Services Office.
PHYSICAL ACCESS TO THE UNIVERSITY'S FACILITIES
The coordinator of Disability Services processes requests for student access to University facilities. Requests for alterations will be assessed based on the nature of the disability or related documentation. In keeping with its philosophy, the University will attempt to make reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to: adaptation of bathrooms, installation of ramps, door access, and alternative lighting. Individuals who must use elevators in campus buildings can obtain access to card activated elevators by registering with the Disability Services Office. Eligible students will:
- Meet with the coordinator of Disability Services to assess needs prior to or at the start of the semester. The coordinator of Disability Services will direct the request to the appropriate office.
- Make any request as early as possible in order to allow the University time to make physical modifications. The University will make what it considers to be reasonable accommodations that are in the best interest of the individual and the University within the limitations of the resources available. A timely response will be provided to the individual requesting accommodation.
The Disability Services Office provides verification of a student's disabled status to Residence Life for consideration in housing assignments. Consideration in housing that is requested by a student, but is not a necessary accommodation, will be handled like any other housing request according to the policies outlined by the Office of Residence Life.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
The Office of Safety and Security provides van transportation from Main Campus to Ravenhill Campus for all University students. Individuals with physical disabilities can receive priority seating by registering with the Disability Services Office. The Department of Safety and Security also owns and operates a wheelchair-accessible van for those individuals who utilize a wheelchair.
ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY
Students who need adapted access to the technology on campus can request assistance through the Disability Services Office. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to: adaptive software, adaptive workstations, and modified locations of technology.
Eligible students will:
- Meet with the coordinator of Disability Services to discuss the student's specific needs for technology and the limitations currently experienced by the student. The coordinator will work in conjunction with the appropriate offices to provide the needed services.
TEXTBOOKS ON TAPE OR COMPACT DISC
The coordinator of Disability Services assists students in obtaining textbooks and other materials in alternative formats. Many books are available in audio format through Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFB&D). Compact discs and tapes from RFB&D require special playback equipment. A limited number of players are available for loan through the Disability Services Office. Therefore, students may wish to purchase their own units. Please contact the Disability Services Office for purchasing information. The Disability Services Office makes available books that are not available through Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic. Disability Services utilizes Kurzweil 3000 software to scan written information and convert the information to audio. Students receive their books on compact disc. Eligible students will:
- Meet with the coordinator of Disability Services to discuss which textbooks on tape or compact disc are needed.
- Submit book request(s) to the coordinator of Disability Services as soon as possible.
- Provide a course syllabus to the coordinator of Disability Services for all texts that require scanning. If the courses are known prior to the start of the semester, the coordinator will assist in obtaining advance syllabi. Extensive scanning will not be performed prior to the receipt of course syllabi.
- Pick up tapes/compact discs regularly from the coordinator of Disability Services.
- Review tapes/compact discs immediately. Report any difficulties with tapes/compact discs to the coordinator of Disability Services.
- Return tapes and compact discs to the coordinator of Disability Services at the end of each semester.
Disability Services Office