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Disability Resource Center: Helping to ensure equal access to the University's educational, social, and cultural opportunities

Annual Report 2006

DEPARTMENT NAME: Disability Resource Center

Director: Cathy Patus
Location: Robbins Hall
Reporting Date: January 2006 - December 2006

I. Mission, Goals and Accomplishments

A. Mission: Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides and coordinates accommodations to facilitate the full inclusion of students with disabilities on our campus. The Disability Resource Center also serves as a resource for information on disability issues for the University and the community.

B. Goals for 2006

  • Goal: Assist with recruitment of qualified students with disabilities and provide accommodations and information to ease the transition into post-secondary education.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. DRC staff continued to meet individually with prospective students and their families to address accommodation needs and assist in determining whether U of L constitutes a good "fit" for the student. Continued collaboration with state agencies such as Office for the Blind (OFB) and Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) addressing transition of students with disabilities to college. Collaboration with secondary school personnel increased through participation in Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative's (OVEC) Regional Inter-agency Transition Team (RITT) and Jefferson County Public Schools' RITT. Developed e-mentoring project to ease transition of high school students with disabilities into college; failed to implement program due to limited interest from high school students in targeted school districts. DRC staff continued participation in state work group addressing documentation of disability guidelines and development of transition booklet. DRC staff participated in transition awareness presentations developed by the RITT. Continued participation in campus-based recruitment activities including Campus Preview Day, Welcome Weekend, freshman, parents, transfer and graduate student orientations. Participated in transition programs sponsored by Archdiocese of Louisville and county school districts including Bullitt and Jefferson. Participation at Kentucky School for the Deaf College Day. Presentation to Iroquois and Assumption High School students.
  • Goal: Provide and coordinate accommodations for enrolled students with disabilities
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. Coordination and delivery of support services and accommodations for students with disabilities continues to run smoothly. Services provided include review of documentation for determination of eligibility for accommodations, requests for additional documentation and discussion with medical professionals as needed, preparation of letters for faculty, provision of exam accommodations, note-taker service, interpreter and real time captioning service, transcribing of non-captioned videos for use in classrooms, alternate text conversion, special classroom furnishings, and classroom relocations. Note-taker services were improved by using class rosters to identify note-takers prior to beginning of class when possible. Continued increases in publisher contacts to secure alternate texts. Purchase of additional audio digital players from Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic for loan to students as needed. In-house conversion to alternate text runs smoothly.
  • Goal: Develop and administer assessment instruments/activities with emphasis on continued modification and improvement of services for students.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal partially achieved. Assessment activities that are in place continue to run smoothly and results of evaluations are used to improve services. Additional assessment activities need to be developed and implemented. Student Learning Outcomes were developed and evaluated but additional SLO's need to be developed. On-line evaluation of exam accommodation by faculty has resulted in increased numbers of faculty responses. On-line evaluation of note-takers by students using note-taker services has not proven to be as effective as we had hoped; we continue to encourage students to comply with our requests to complete on-line evaluations. Other on-going assessment activities such as interpreter evaluations continue to run smoothly. Feedback from all assessment activities was used to address service delivery problems and make improvements.
  • Goal: Facilitate development of leadership, self-advocacy and independent living skills of students with disabilities.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. DRC staff work individually with students to address self-advocacy issues. The DRC coordinators and adaptive equipment/computer lab assistant continue to promote use of the technologies available resulting in increased usage of DRC technology facilities. Opportunities to demonstrate leadership were extended to students through participation in classroom panel discussions. Numerous referrals of students were made to REACH for participation in academic skill building and survivor skills workshops.
  • Goal: Assist with University-wide efforts to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. Continued work with ADA Coordinator to prioritize accessibility barriers and convene University ADA Committee. Continued collaboration with staff from Office of Planning, Design and Construction, Physical Plant, Delphi Center, Information Technology and other units to address compliance. Worked with Web Access Committee to assist in development and hiring of Web Access Coordinator: worked with coordinator and committee to prioritize efforts regarding accessible web content. Extensive collaboration with staff from Residence Administration to address access issues associated with increasing numbers of student with physical disabilities living on campus. Continued work with advising units, Delphi Center, and students with disabilities to revise and refine disability focused module for viewing by freshmen. DRC staff consulted with Legal Counsel on disability-related complaints from students (targeted to academic units). DRC staff worked with Testing Services staff to incorporate the accommodation request process into residual ACT testing.
    DRC staff continued service on Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE), CODRE's Diversity Programming Committee,. Student Affairs' Diversity Committee, Parking Advisory Committee.
  • Goal: Serve as a disability resource for students, staff, faculty, and administrators within the University and for individuals and agencies within the community on access and advocacy issues.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. The DRC staff continues to serve as a valuable resource to the University and the community on disability issues. Activities included: classroom and faculty meeting presentations, community/state presentations, individual consultations with faculty, presentations to University support units including REACH tutors, student orientation staff, participation in Student Services Advisory Group, Parking Advisory, service on ADA State Task Force on Post-secondary Education, support of EKU's Interpreter Training Program. DRC hosted viewing of two disability-themed movies at Floyd Theatre. Participated in New Faculty Orientation, Campus Life Field Day, and Unity Cookout.
  • Goal: Assist in the successful transition of students with disabilities from post-secondary education to career field or graduate school.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. Served as site supervisor for ECPY graduate student intern to develop disability awareness activities. Assisted students seeking accommodations for standardized exams pursuant to applying for graduate programs. Worked with community agencies such as Center for Accessible Living's employment projects for referral of students to disability specific career resources. Worked with representative from Workforce Recruitment program to schedule interviews for students with disabilities for possible summer internship opportunities.
  • Goal: Pursue internal and external funding sources to enhance services for students with disabilities.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. Continued collaboration with Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to secure state appropriated funds for deaf and hard of hearing services, including funds to develop new Staff Interpreter position. Identified two students with cystic fibrosis and awarded both with Soper Memorial Award. Worked with Kappa Sigma on continued fund-raising activities. Continued discussion with donors (including efforts to reach endowment status before proceeding with awards) for Heidi King Vaughn Scholarship for students with learning disabilities. Requested and received funds from Diversity Programming Committee of CODRE to present two disability-themed movies and enhance University's captioning capabilities. Presentation to Caesar's Entertainment for possible funding of endowed scholarship for students with disabilities.
  • Goal: Facilitate and support the professional development of DRC staff.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. DRC staff continue pursuit of education. One staff member completed undergraduate degree. Two staff members are pursuing Master's degrees. One staff member is pursuing doctorate. Staff development plans were completed. DRC staff continue to demonstrate professional development through membership in KY-AHEAD (Kentucky Association on Higher Education and Disability) including service as Treasurer and President, AHEAD, NASPA, Learning Disabilities Association (LDA), Kentucky Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (KYRID), RID, and National Association of the Deaf (NAD). .Professional development further demonstrated by attendance at KY-AHEAD, AHEAD, NASPA and PEPNET conferences.
  • Goal: Continual evaluation and upgrade of internal office procedures to comply with University requirements and improve internal operations.
  • Assessment of Goal: Goal achieved. Attendance at PeopleSoft trainings and updates to keep current with procedures. Attendance at UBM and Student Affairs business meetings for updated University and divisional policies and procedures. Completed web page change-over to PLONE. Added new Staff Interpreter position for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services. Added new Program Assistant position. Worked with representatives from Planning, Design and Construction, Rowland Designs, and Physical Plant to plan renovations in Robbins Hall. Acquired upgrade for voice recognition assistive technology. Acquired and installed video relay service to facilitate communication with students who are deaf.

C. Other Significant Accomplishments and/or New Programs

Extensive collaboration occurred this year between DRC Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services staff and the Interpreter Training Program faculty and staff. Collaboration with this academic unit included:

The Coordinator and/or Staff Interpreter of Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services:

  • served on search committee for ITP faculty position
  • collaborated with ITP faculty to publicize and co-sponsor faculty presentation on working with deaf students in the classroom
  • coordinated scheduling of classroom observations for 13 ITP practicum students
  • mentored two ITP practicum students
  • presented at ITP Career Fair regarding educational interpreting
  • participated with ITP students in Silent Lunch

These collaborations are mutually beneficial as they assist an academic unit in meeting their curricular goals, contribute positively to the on-going shortage of qualified professional sign language interpreters, and bring added awareness to access issues experienced by the deaf and hard of hearing population.

II. Activities

A. Activities that Support the University's Student Engagement, Retention and Community Development Efforts

  • DRC staff provide and coordinate accommodations for students with disabilities to facilitate equal access to University programs and services. DRC staff intervene with faculty as appropriate to address specific accommodation strategies. DRC staff work continually with staff and administrators across campus to assist the University in meeting disability compliance requirements. All of these efforts support the retention of students with disabilities.
  • Additional initiatives that foster student engagement and community development include DRC semester cookouts, Welcome Weekend Open House, the annual Disability Awareness Awards program, and engagement of students with disabilities in panel discussions on disability in the classroom.
  • Director made presentation on disability awareness as part of Provost's Diversity workshops
  • DRC staff hosted two faculty breakfasts focused on informal discussion of accessibility issues in the classroom

B. Activities that Support Specific Academic Units - Specify Academic Unit that is Impacted.

  • DRC activities impact all academic units through provision of accommodated exams for faculty, alternate format texts, hourly and supplemental note-takers to provide student access to lectures, sign language interpreters and/or realtime transcribers in classrooms, provision of transcripts for non-captioned videos used in the classroom, provision of lab assistants as needed.
  • DRC provided presentations as requested in classrooms regarding students with disabilities. Classroom presentations for specific academic units include: Higher Education Administration, Kent School of Social Work, Interpreter Training Program, Teaching and Learning, Educational Counseling and Psychology, Music Education.
  • DRC staff presentation to class in Writing Center.
  • DRC staff presentation to Sociology Department Faculty Meeting
  • DRC staff presentation to English Department Faculty Meeting
  • Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services staff provided extensive services for Interpreter Training Program (ITP) - see Section I, C for detail.
  • Regular and on-going individual consultations with faculty regarding accommodation strategies for specific students.

C. Activities that Support Diversity/Community Development

  • Students with disabilities contribute to the diversity of our campus. All DRC activities that provide access and impact retention support the University's diversity initiatives.
  • DRC staff support University diversity initiatives by participation on the Commission on Status of Women, Women's Center Publications Committee, Transformation Tea Committee, College of Education Alumni Council, Campus Life Non-academic Disciplinary Committee, Child Care Feasibility Study Committee, Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE), CODRE's Staff Affairs Committee, CODRE's Diversity Programming Committee, Student Affairs Diversity Committee & Staff Development Sub-committee, service as Staff Advisor for Common Ground, Faculty and Staff for Human Rights.
  • DRC staff service on Provosts' Strategic Planning Steering Committee
  • DRC staff engaged members of Kappa Sigma fraternity to conduct surveys of campus buildings and report accessibility problems

D. Activities that Support Customer Service

  • Each semester, all student workers are provided training by Program Coordinator, Senior and/or Program Assistant. This training includes effective interaction with students who frequent our office, appropriate telephone and office etiquette and other items that impact customer service.

E. Identify Staff Professional Development Activities and Programs including Recognition, Awards, Conference Presentations and Involvement in Professional Activities.

  • PIQ submitted resulting in re-classification of Assistant Director position
  • DRC staff are actively involved in Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), Kentucky AHEAD, Learning Disabilities Association (LDA), NASPA, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Kentucky RID, and National Association of the Deaf (NAD).
  • Assistant Director served as KY AHEAD's regional affiliate to AHEAD.
  • Assistant Director and Program Coordinator Senior serve on KY AHEAD Board of Directors as President and Treasurer respectively.
  • DRC staff attended KY AHEAD state conference.
  • Director and Program Coordinator Senior attended National AHEAD conference.
  • Director presented on disability issues at Jefferson Community College diversity workshop
  • Director presented at Youth with Mental Disorders state conference
  • Assistant Director attended NASPA conferenc.
  • Assistant Director presented at Vocational Rehabilitation state workshop
  • Program Coordinator Senior received Professional Involvement Award from Division of Student Affairs.
  • Program Coordinator Senior presented at Kentucky Office for the Blind/Jefferson County Public Schools transition conference.
  • Director served on state ADA Task Force on Post-secondary Education.
  • Coordinator of Services for Deaf/Hard of Hearing served on state-wide committee of interpreter coordinators.
  • Director celebrated 25 years employment

F. Identify Partnerships and Collaborative Programs

  • Partnerships that support community based organizations: The DRC has a Personal Services Contract with the Center for Accessible Living (CAL). CAL's interpreter service agency provides some sign language interpreting for deaf students enrolled on our campus.
  • Partnerships with state and regional agencies: The University has a Memorandum of Agreement with the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) which describes the responsibility to provide appropriate access to individual students with disabilities who are residents of Kentucky.
  • Collaborative programs with K-12 educational institutions: Director serves as liaison for JCPS' "Providing Access to Community Transition" (PACT) program (classroom housed on our campus comprised of JCPS students with severe disabilities).

G. Other Collaborations, Annual Activities and Service Metrics

  • The DRC served approximately 500 students with disabilities in 2006.
  • Exam Accommodation Services:
    -- Accommodated exams scheduled - 1409
    -- Accommodated exams administered - 1210
    -- Accommodated exams utilizing adaptive equipment, software or personal assistance - 415 (34%)
  • Conversion of textbooks into accessible format:
    -- Texts obtained from Recording for Blind and Dyslexic - 39
    -- Texts obtained in electronic format directly from publisher - 28
    -- Texts scanned and converted to electronic format in-house - 55
    -- Texts converted to large print in-house - 9
    -- Texts scanned and converted to electronic format that also required extensive editing by DRC staff - 10
  • Note-taker services:
    -- Number of students requesting note-taker services - 206
    -- Number of classes note-taker service requested - 567
    -- Number of note-takers employed - 249
  • Deaf/hard of hearing student services:
    -- Number of hours sign language interpreters provided - 1692
    -- Number of hours real-time captionists provided - 301
  • DRC computer lab usage:
    -- Number of student visits to lab - 585
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