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Staff Box

A New Learning Disabilities Committee

Dr. John Richetti, professor of English, will chair a new Learning Disabilities Committee announced by Provost Stanley Chodorow at University Council Wednesday. Dr. Chodorow said the new committee succeeds an earlier one, chaired by Dr. John Sabini of psychology, which proposed guidelines for the assessment of learning disabilities and recommended that Penn hire a consultant to review the claims of students who applied to be certified as learning disabled.

The Council of Undergraduate Deans has agreed to the hiring of a professional not only to address the needs of those with specific learning disabilities, but also those with attention deficit disorders or other documented learning disorders, the Provost added, and a search is underway. "The specialist will become part of the staff in the Office of Counseling and Psychological Serviceswhich already does some work in the area of learning disabilities, primarily in testingand will work closely with the Academic Support office in the Vice Provost for University Life area and with the twelve schools," Dr. Chodorow said. The members and an outline of their charge:

Dr. Joan Goodman, professor of education, GSE
Dr. Dennis DeTurck, professor and chair of mathematics, SAS
Dr. Ponzy Lu, professor of chemistry, SAS
Dr. Kathyrn McMahon, language coordinator in French and Italian, SAS
Dr. Paul Moberg, assistant professor of neuropsychology, Medicine
Dr. Wanda Mohr, assistant professor of psychiatric mental health nursing, Nursing
Dr. Charles Newton, associate dean, Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Frank Norman, professor of psychology, SAS
Dr. John Richetti, professor of English, SAS (chair)
Dr. Ilene Rosenstein, director of Counseling and Psychological Services/VPUL
Staff support: Dr. Kent Peterman, assistant dean for academic affairs, CAS

The main task of the Committee on Students with Learning Disabilities is to work with the newly-hired Learning Disabilities specialist to draft a protocol for handling referrals, assessments, and accommodations; the committee also will advise the specialist as needed regarding issuesand casesbrought to it. By having clear procedures, clear assessment standards, and a range of appropriate accommodations, and by having a faculty committee that understands the concerns of both faculty and learning-disabled students, the Council of Undergraduate Deanswhich urged the establishment of this committeeexpects Penn will be able to improve conditions for both teaching and learning and rationalize the University's compliance with the Americans with disabilities act.

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, November 25, 1997, Volume 44, No. 14