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Vice Provost for University Life Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum presented this update at the October 17 University Council meeting.

Update on Services to Students with Disabilites

The Disabilities Services for Students Review Team's Report to the President and Provost Concerning Services for Students with Disabilities made twelve recommendations. Progress toward implementation of each recommendation follows:

1. Combine the various services for Students with Disabilities into one office reporting to the Vice Provost for University Life.

A transition team lead by Myrna Cohen has been meeting weekly to sort out details of consolidating services and resources for students with disabilities. Additionally, Terri White, Myrna Cohen, and Max King have been meeting periodically to manage the overall transition process.

Office space for the Student Disabilities Service has been identified by Terri White in DASP in 110 Harnwell College House. The Student Disabilities Service will be co-located with the Learning Resources Center and the Tutoring Center, since students with learning disabilities use these two services heavily. Additionally, co-locating these offices allows us to share reception and some administrative support among them. Don Calcagni of VPUL Facilities had coordinated the office renovations for this project. Construction work on the SDS offices has been completed (e.g. walls and doors modified for ADA compliance, door openers installed, carpeting and painting finished). Instructional rooms (113 and 214 Harnwell House) for use by the Tutoring Center, PENNCAP, the Learning Resources Center, and Student Disabilities Services are ready. In response to student needs for a smooth transition, we anticipate moving staff to the new office at the end of the fall semester so there is no interruption in the services students are now receiving. Announcements of the move will be sent to appropriate students, faculty, disability liaisons, staff, and the schools.

2. Maintain responsibility for disability services for faculty and staff in the Office of Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity Programs, and centralize disability services students.

Valerie Hayes and Alice Nagle have produced a detailed transition plan actualizing this recommendation. Alice Nagle will spend approximately 80% of her time on students with disabilities and 20% of her time on faculty/staff disability issues. Most of this will be in place by the opening of the Student Disabilities Service, but some aspects of the transition will be developed as the academic year progresses.

3. Hire two full-time professionals (Director and Associate Director) to provide services to students with disabilities.

The Director position has been posted, CVs are now arriving (twenty-four in hand) and we will soon begin interviewing candidates. We hope to be able to name a Director by the end of fall semester. Alice Nagle will serve as Associate Director, with 20% of her time remaining with faculty and staff disabilities issues through the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs. We also have interim support in place. Since August 2001, Bill Sandberg has continued his work, on a term capacity as Learning Disabilities Coordinator, with Myrna Cohen and Alice Nagle.

4. Expand the responsibilities of the Student Disabilities Service.

Once the Student Disabilities Service office is established, ongoing assessment will determine opportunities to effect this recommendation.

5. Hire appropriate staff to provide logistical/scheduling services to students with disabilities and faculty and to provide office support.

An Administrative Coordinator position has been posted and interviews are being conducted. The Transition Team is coordinating this hire.

6. Assure that adequate resources are available to provide ad hoc services and equipment for accommodation of disabilities.

Existing resources have been reallocated from various budgets that have in the past supported students with disabilities, and additional resources have been provided by the Provost. An operating budget for Student Disabilities Services is in place.

7. A coordinated communications strategy for disabilities information should be developed.

A website has been established, and brochures and associated materials are being developed. The communications strategy will be an ongoing activity of the Student Disabilities Service.

8. Increase resources for academic support for students with disabilities, including the hiring of a new Learning Instructor for students with learning disabilities and tutor (and learning instructor) enhancements.

Denise Marone had filled the Learning Instructor position and commenced work.

9. Create a Provost's Advisory Committee to 1) issue a new Provost's Statement (Guidelines for Addressing Academic Issues for students with Disabilities), 2) advise on the implementation of these Recommendations, and 3) advise on ongoing operation of an Office for Student Disabilities Services.

This committee is being formed and will include faculty, School Disability Liaisons (see Recommendation #10), students, and staff.

10. Appoint Student Disability Liaisons for each School.

The Vice Provost for University Life has written to the Schools asking for their designees, and liaisons have been appointed for all twelve Schools.

11. Revise the protocol for faculty letters.

The protocol was revised in October 2000 so that, upon a student's request for accommodation, a letter is sent to appropriate faculty. Additional protocol revisions will be ongoing.

12. Faculty Initiative to normalize process and encourage accommodation.

This will be an ongoing process and will be coordinated through the Faculty Senate, Council of Deans, and Provost's Office.

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 9, October 23, 2001


October 23, 2001
Volume 48 Number 9

To memorialize those who were victims of the September 11 attacks, Penn has created the Memorial Scholarship Fund.
A $7 million grant to launch the Center of Excellence for Patient Safety Research and Practice.
The Law School has named Edward Rock the inaugural Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business Law. Dr. Jason Scott Johnston has been named the Robert G. Fuller, Jr. Professor of Law.
The list of Penn alumni who died in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon is released.
View protocol for identifying and handling suspicious packages and what to do in case of a hazardous discharge. Public Safety will hold training sessions on bomb threats and suspicious packages.
The Policy on Electronic Privacy, which was implemented last fall, is now due for its mandated one-year review; comments are invited by November 16.
Speaking Out: another perspective on the possible six-month moratorium on the issuance of foreign student visas.
Presented at Council -- Safety and security update: from accreditation and arrest protocol to homeland security issues. An update on recommendations concerning services to students with disabilities.
As daylight savings time comes to an end next weekend, Public Safety offers tips for using public transportation safely after dark

For those who want to get away--international travel advisories; fellowships for research abroad and accommodations in London.