Disability Support at Carl Sandburg College
Carl Sandburg College makes it a priority to be an environment in which students of all backgrounds can come to pursue their academic and professional goals. As such, we strive to be a campus that is disability-friendly, both in terms of the physical accessibility of our facilities and equal opportunity of access to learning materials and classroom experience. We seek to enable students with any history of disability, from physical disabilities to intellectual disabilities, anxiety, and attention deficits.
In compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Disability Support at Carl Sandburg College seeks to make the classroom equally accessible to students with disabilities by providing students with tools and accommodations intended to remove barriers imposed by their unique disabilities.
Current or prospective students or visitors to campus who have questions about disability access to campus resources or who would like to request accommodations for a disability while on campus should contact the Coordinator of Academic Support Services at the contact information listed below. Similarly, students taking online classes or students who attend the Carthage campus should follow the same contact procedures.
Carl Sandburg College will not discriminate in any matter on the basis of the student’s sex, color, race, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity or other protected group status.
Accommodations are available to all students, whether they attend the Galesburg campus, attend the Carthage campus, attend primarily or entirely online, or are dual credit students. Students who attend at the Carthage campus or online and dual credit students should be sure to see the section on accommodating distance students in the "Information for New and Prospective Students" section of this page. Students who are concerned that they may have been discriminated against on the basis of a disability should refer to the section on our grievance procedure in the "Student Rights to Accommodation" section of this page. Additional links to student rights to accommodation, campus accessibility information, and tutoring information are available to the left of this page under "More Information."
Additionally, students or guests of the college who would like to request disability accommodations for a visit to campus, be it a meeting or event, should fill out our request for non-academic accommodations at least five business days prior to the event. Some accommodations, such as requests for a sign language interpreter, may take longer to fulfill, and so should be requested as far in advance as possible.
Jake Runge, Coordinator of Academic Support
Room B68 in the Crist Student Center
- Reserved parking near building entrances
- Curb cuts for wheelchair users
- Push-button door openers for those who have difficulty opening doors
- Ramp paths and elevators as alternatives to stairs
- Braille room identifiers on all classroom and office door placards
- Accessible software and technology via the Assistive Technology Lab and the Library [Galesburg campus]
ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONLINE LEARNERS
Carl Sandburg College strives for a fully-accessible online environment for students, whether students are taking only online classes or they have strong online components to face-to-face classes. Our ongoing efforts to ensure the accessibility of our online courses include:
- Using Moodle, an accessible LMS software, as the college's official LMS
- Ensuring that vendors for other course software provide a VPAT to certify the software's accessibility for screen readers, magnifiers, and other Assistive technology
- Consistently checking and improving our college webpage to align with W3C accessibility standards
- Working toward ensuring all audiovisual content provided for students online is alternatively captioned or transcribed
- Providing accommodations through Academic Support Services on request for situations where materials are not already accessible, or where such accommodations are required to alter content on an individual basis for students in need
THE ACADEMIC SUPPORT OFFICE
The Academic Support Office (located on the Galesburg campus) coordinates accommodations for students who encounter accessibility barriers in the classroom. Accommodations can be made for a variety of disabilities, from ADHD and intellectual disabilities to wheelchair-accessible desks in classrooms. For more information on requesting accommodations and how the accommodation process works at Carl Sandburg College, see our "Information for New and Prospective Students" and "Student Rights to Accommodation" sections on this page. Students who attend at the Carthage campus or who are enrolled in dual-credit courses still need to contact the Academic Support office in Galesburg to arrange for accommodations. Students who are taking online classes should see our section on accommodating distance students in the "Information for New and Prospective Students" section of this page.
The Academic Support Office is located in the Building B Crist Student Center, Room B64, Galesburg campus.
THE ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY LAB
Students requiring various Assistive technologies or who are receiving testing accommodations may make use of the resources available in the Assistive Technology Lab, located next door to the Academic Support Office, Room B68, Galesburg campus. In addition to serving as a private testing center, the Assistive Technology Lab offers the following:
- Adjustable-height work desks to accommodate students in wheelchairs
- Stationary document magnifier
- Computers with various Assistive software installed, including:
- Software-based document magnifiers
- Screen magnifier and contraster
- Voice-to-text software
- Screen reading software
- Visual math and drawing aids for blind students
- Daisy document readers for loan
- Accessibility-enabled iPads for loan
- Voice recorders for loan
THE ACCESSIBILITY TEAM
The Accessibility Team, consisting of staff from the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center (FTLC), Academic Support Services, Information Technology, and college administration, meets regularly to assess campus accessibility and to develop and implement accessibility policies. Currently, the Accessibility Team is making strides toward full accessibility of course content in both the face-to-face and online classroom environments. Emphases include the captioning and transcription of audiovisual material and proper formatting of text documents for readability with a screen reader.
In circumstances where a student is unable to access a campus resource or requires special services in the classroom, the student can request an accommodation via the Academic Support office. Accommodations are available to all students, whether they attend the Galesburg campus or not. Students who attend at the Carthage campus or online and dual credit students should be sure to see the the section on accommodating distance students under the "Information for New and Prospective Students" section of this page.
What are a student’s rights with regard to accommodating their disability?
Students with disabilities have the right to equal access to education as non-disabled students. Where a student’s disability imposes a barrier to equal access to the physical or learning environment, Carl Sandburg College is responsible for providing accommodations. These can include the following:
- Alterations to the physical environment (push-to-open doors, open walkways, ramps, elevators, etc.)
- Alterations to classroom layout (presence of adjustable desks, desk rearrangement, etc.)
- Presentation considerations, such as providing handout supplements to PowerPoint presentations
- Testing support, including providing a reader, testing in an alternate location, and extended testing time
- Permission to use tools and services in the classroom (voice recorders, guide dogs, ASL interpreters, etc.)
- Technological accommodations such as screen readers and voice-to-text applications
Students have the right to request that anything be considered as an accommodation for any disability, including intellectual disabilities, anxiety, PTSD, and attention deficits. Accommodations aren’t pre-defined or selected as if ordering from a menu; they are tailored to each individual student’s unique circumstances. The Academic Support Services Coordinator determines what accommodations are appropriate in a given circumstance.
Are there limits to what we can do to accommodate students with disabilities?
Since a student has the right to request anything as an accommodation, our process is to determine whether their request is disability-related and “reasonable.” If it is, it should be granted.
An accommodation is disability-related if it can be proven that the accommodation will serve to lessen the negative effects of a disability. Accommodations requests that do not address the barriers imposed by a student's disability cannot be granted.
An accommodation is reasonable under the following conditions:
- It is not a fundamental alteration to the course objectives. (e.g. extended time on tests may be an appropriate accommodation in most cases, but it fundamentally alters a triage simulation)
- It is not of a personal nature.
- It is not a direct threat to others.
How does Academic Support Services handle student disability records?
Due to the sensitive nature of disability documentation, Academic Support Services keeps disability records, which often include medical evaluations and reports, high school IEPs, and other private documents, in a restricted network drive. No records are shared with any other students, staff, or faculty at the college, nor the student's family or friends per FERPA and HIPPA guidelines, without the student's permission. A student's signature on a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) is permission for Academic Support Services to arrange for accommodations to be made, not permission for Academic Support Services to share disability records.
The restricted network drive on which disability records are kept is accessible only to the Coordinator of Academic Support and the Dean of Student Success. No other employee at the college has access to the drive. Physical copies of disability documentation are kept only long enough to be scanned and uploaded to the restricted drive; the original copies are then either returned to the student or destroyed. All records kept are electronic.
How are classroom disability accommodations administered?
It is the responsibility of the student, the Coordinator of Academic Support, and individual instructors to ensure that accommodations are properly administered. Primarily, it is the responsibility of the student to self-advocate and ensure that the necessary arrangements are being made. That said, faculty play a vital role in ensuring that their instruction, assessments, materials, and online spaces are accessible and disability-friendly.
What if I feel I have been discriminated against on the basis of my disability?
If you believe you have been discriminated on the basis of your disability, either due to the denial of a reasonable accommodation by the Academic Support office or any other particular office, faculty, or staff member, you should begin attempts to resolve your complaint with the person most directly involved. If attempting to resolve the complaint with those involved does not provide a satisfactory conclusion, you may seek assistance from the Coordinator of Academic Support Services or, if the Coordinator of Academic Support Services is the alleged source of the discrimination, the Dean of Student Success.
If such attempts do not provide a satisfactory conclusion, you may submit, in writing and within 10 school days of the issue in question, a formal complaint to the immediate supervisor against whom your complaint is directed (see PROCEDURE on Framework for Addressing Concerns Number 126.96.36.199). All complaints will be reviewed by the appropriate administration, who will determine the college's response. All decisions, notifications of decisions, and reasons for decisions will be presented in writing.
You may simultaneously file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, the US Department of Education, or both.
Accommodations are available to all students, whether they attend the Galesburg campus or not. Students who attend at the Carthage campus or online and dual credit students should be sure to see the section below on accommodating distance students.
I'm a new student. How do I go about requesting an accommodation?
Carl Sandburg College’s Academic Support office strives to make the process of requesting and receiving accommodations for a disability as simple as possible. If you wish to receive accommodations, you must:
- Provide documentation of your disability. Contact the Coordinator of Academic Support to discuss the documentation and your previous educational experiences to determine appropriate accommodations.
- Request accommodations each semester. Check in at the start of each semester to ensure that your accommodations reflect your needs for the semester. At that point, you and the Coordinator of Academic Support will sign off on a Letters of Accommodation (LOA), which will be sent to your instructors as notice of special services.
- Take measures through the semester to ensure that your accommodations are properly administered. Carl Sandburg College faculty and staff are happy to provide accommodations that enable students to succeed, but it is your responsibility to self-advocate, ensuring that faculty and staff know to administer your accommodations and alerting them if the accommodations being provided are ineffective.
What kind of documentation of a disability does Carl Sandburg College need?
In order to receive accommodations, you must provide sufficient documentation of the disability to the Coordinator of Academic Support. Following the Association on Higher Education and Disability’s (AHEAD) best practices guidelines, sufficient documentation should include:
- A diagnosis statement that identifies the disability
- The credentials of the provider of the diagnosis
- A description of the diagnostic methods
- A description of what limitations the disability currently imposes on the student
- A projection of what patterns or changes could be expected of the disability over time
- Accommodations previously received
- Recommendations for accommodations at the post-secondary level
Documentation that is over 7 years old will most likely be considered out of date. Any costs associated with acquiring necessary documentation are your responsibility.
What is the procedure for requesting accommodations?
After providing documentation to the Academic Support office, you must do the following at the start of each semester:
- Set a time to meet with the Coordinator of Academic Support, Jake Runge. Carthage students can see Ellen Henderson-Gasser, Student Services Generalist (ext. 7247), to help facilitate communication. Together, you and the Coordinator of Academic Support will review your past accommodations in light of your current semester, and discuss any changes that may need to be made to your accommodations plan.
- Sign the Accommodations Request form, giving permission to the Academic Support office to discuss your disability accommodations with your instructors and arrange for accommodations to be made.
- Inform your instructors of your accommodations. While the Coordinator of Academic Support will have emailed a copy of your LOA (Letter of Accommodation) to your instructors and advisor, it is still very important to talk with your instructors to keep the lines of communication open and to ensure that your expectations are the same.
Can I request accommodations for the AccuPlacer placement test?
You may request accommodations to take the AccuPlacer placement test. Accommodations for physical access to the test, a private test setting, or the provision of a reader are all appropriate accommodations. Requests for extended time are unnecessary, as the AccuPlacer is an un-timed test; however, the time you take on the AccuPlacer may be considered, along with your score, in determining your need for preparatory courses.
If you are interested in arranging an accommodated AccuPlacer test, contact the Coordinator of Academic Support Services.
I don’t take classes on the Galesburg Campus. What do I need to know?
If you do not attend classes on the Galesburg campus (e.g. you are a dual credit student who takes college-credit courses at your high school, you attend classes online, or you attend classes on the Carthage campus), you must still coordinate your accommodations through the Academic Support office on the Galesburg campus; however, you do not need to be physically present on the Galesburg campus to do so.
If you request accommodations and do not attend the Galesburg campus, you should initiate contact with the Coordinator of Academic Support via phone or email, and arrangements to share disability documentation and facilitate the signing of a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) will then be made. Other than the modes of communication used to make arrangements, there are no differences between arranging accommodations for students at the Galesburg campus and those who attend elsewhere.
Some unique factors at play for various attendance situations are summarized below.
Online students are responsible for contacting the Academic Support office, sending the necessary documentation of disability by an arranged means, and signing and returning the LOA. Accommodations for online courses should not require the student to be physically present on-campus, but the Coordinator of Academic Support cannot grant accommodations that alter course requirements unless such an accommodation is related to a documented disability.
Staff at the Carthage campus may help students to exchange documentation with the Academic Support office in Galesburg, but it is the student’s responsibility to initiate contact and request accommodations each semester. After an LOA is signed, it will be sent to the student’s instructors and academic advisors via email. The student should continue communication with the Coordinator of Academic Support at the Galesburg campus should they have problems or concerns, but day-to-day accommodations should be arranged between the student, their instructor, and their academic advisor.
Dual credit students
All dual credit students, regardless of where they attend class, are required to follow all procedures outlined in this section even if they are receiving disability support accommodations and modifications from their high school. College disability accommodations are approved or disapproved using different criteria than high school disability accommodations, and are administered differently as well. Having a disability support plan in place with the student’s high school does not automatically transfer to a support plan in a dual credit class. High school staff may assist in facilitating accommodations, but arrangements must be made separately, and for each college semester that the student takes dual credit or college classes.
What are the differences between accommodations in high school and college?
If you are transitioning from high school to college, you will notice many differences in the way disability support functions. A few of the more prominent differences are listed below.
Disclosure of disability
In high school, students are identified as having a disability (and may be tested) by the school. Parents may present documentation of disability; in college, students must self-identify by registering with the Academic Support office. The school cannot officially test for/diagnose learning disabilities.
Access to student informationIn high school, any information relating to the student is shared freely with the parents. Specific information about student disability may be accessed by teachers without student permission; in college, the student’s rights to privacy under FERPA are upheld. A parent may not access student information through direct contact with a school official. Teachers receive disability related info from student.
Eligibility for services
In high school, eligibility can be granted based on low grades; in college, eligibility can only be granted based on documentation of disability as defined by the ADA.
Advocating right to access
In high school, parents and special education instructors work together to advocate for the student. Students may assume a passive role. In college, students must advocate for their rights, making their needs known first to the Academic Support office and then to their instructors.
Completion of coursework
In high school, a student's weekly schedule is often drafted for him/her, and teachers will frequently remind students of assessment deadlines; in college, students are expected to manage their own schedules and remember assessment deadlines using course syllabi.
General structure of schedule
In high school, classroom time is roughly 40 hours per week. There tends to be more classroom-based assignments and less out-of-class homework. In college, classroom time can be anywhere between 3-15 hour a week. There is more emphasis placed on out of class study and homework.
Nature of accommodations
In high school, courses and programs can be fundamentally altered to not only provide access to course materials, but also to ensure success; in college, courses and programs cannot be fundamentally altered. The focus of support is on ensuring equal access, not ensuring success.