Annual Report 2021-22

Mission Statement

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) provides leadership, guidance, and facilitation of equal access for disabled students resulting in their full participation in curricular and co-curricular offerings. The DRC contributes to the design of inclusive environments for all campus participants through education and collaboration with students, faculty, staff, and community partners.

Vision Statement

The DRC will be a global leader in developing environments that promote full inclusion for all participants in curricular and co-curricular offerings. The DRC’s vision for Purdue is that all offerings are developed through the lens of “inclusion by design.”

Program Elements

The DRC offers a comprehensive and coordinated approach in meeting a diverse set of needs across the Purdue campus. Program elements include:

  • Individual meetings with students via an interactive process that captures environmental barriers to access and results in individual solutions on a per-student basis.
  • Developing alternative formatted course learning materials that are useable by students.
  • Consultation with faculty/instructors on the implementation of course-related accommodations without fundamentally altering the course.
  • Referral and liaison interactions with campus and community people, programs and resources that can benefit student development.
  • Participation in campus recruitment events and outreach to students and families considering enrollment at Purdue.
  • Consultation with instructors, staff on Purdue’s Innovative Learning team, and Purdue’s Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE) on concepts of inclusive design of instruction.
  • Proctoring course exams for faculty who do not have the resources to provide accommodated testing conditions.
  • Consulting with physical plant and new building initiatives to inform and encourage designing for useable and inclusive physical spaces.
  • Class presentations centered on Disability Awareness, Inclusive Design, and Disability Culture.
  • Staff/Instructional presentations that clarify the role and scope of the DRC.
  • Regular ongoing interactions with University Residences and Dining and Catering regarding housing and dining accommodations.
  • Consulting with Office of Legal Counsel on an as-needed basis during the academic year.
  • Development and sponsorship of a Peer Mentor program for disabled students.
  • Representation of disability on a variety of diversity and inclusion initiatives and committees across campus to advance the campus understanding of how environmental design barriers affect the full participation and equitable use for all.
  • Consultation with other campus-supported offerings to assure these offerings are accessible by design.
  • Serve as resource to the broad campus community on re-thinking the disability paradigm.
  • Developed an initial graduate student internship program to introduce the professional field of higher education disability services as a potential career pathway within student affairs.

Program Outcomes

The DRC supports an environment focused on reducing student burden to have equal access to curricular and co-curricular activities. As a result of their interactions with the DRC, students will:

  • Gain an improved understanding of their rights to equal access related to all elements of the University environment.
  • Learn more about the ways the DRC can support their access (e.g., educational programming, course accessibility letters, accommodated testing, collaboration with faculty, etc.).
  • Better understand the role of the DRC in facilitating the implementation of accommodations through engagement with the DRC versus direct negotiation with instructors.
  • Succeed and persist at rates similar to or better than their nondisabled peers

Notable Changes From 2020-21 Academic Year

The University and DRC continued in an in-person experience with the DRC fully shifting to an in-person by default mode in August 2022.

  • The Usable Materials Center was fully staffed in the summer of 2022, providing a proactive learning materials remediation service to instructors.
  • In October 2021, DRC Accommodated Testing service saw an increasing number of proctored exams, returning to close to pre-pandemic numbers (see Table 15).
  • The DRC was provided a new access consultant full-time position on July 1, 2022. With the senior assistant director’s position becoming vacant, we repositioned this FTE to become the Deputy Director to reflect the growth and demands of the department and the importance of this role. A new position description was developed, and a successful national search was conducted.
  • The DRC spent the year refining its use of AIM as we passed the one-year anniversary of the launch of this new platform. We met throughout the year to improve business processes and user experience. Accessible Information Management (AIM) is designed specifically for higher education disability services. AIM provides an improved workflow management system located in one place with validated accessibility features for all users.
  • The DRC continues to experience double digit growth of registered students. As of this writing, the DRC is serving 503 additional students compared to the number served last year. This represents a 16.7% increase. This growth is reflected in the weekly number of new requests the DRC receives, which ranges from 25-70/week.
  • Summer and fall 2022 continued to present unique experiences for the DRC. We continued to see an increase in housing requests as well as more complex accommodation requests. An increased number of requests related to anxiety were received. We also experienced parents and students becoming more demanding in their requests, which led to increased wait times for initial meetings.
  • The DRC Peer Mentor Program (PMP) was reinvigorated during the spring of 2022 through mentor and mentee recruitment and planning for fall 2022. Participation by students set new records of 42-mentees and 34-mentors. Students have taken a larger responsibility for planning and organizing events.
  • The department continued to support instructional staff as they continued to acclimate using the AIM instructional portal. A significant change for instructional staff was the need to initiate a Testing Information Form (TIF) before students could schedule an exam. This was a significant change from our prior established process but is a necessary step using the existing platform.
  • The DRC, in conjunction with the Teaching and Learning leadership, developed and launched a Faculty Advisory committee during spring 2022.
  • In conjunction with the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), and Human Resources, the DRC developed an event planning handout with a focus on how to design events to be accessible to the broadest range of users. It was made available to departments and organizations.
  • A Service Animal poster was also produced in partnership with OIE and Human Resources to educate the campus community about the use and rights of service animal users. This has been made available across campus.

University Residences and Office of Legal Counsel

DRC staff met on a regular basis throughout the academic year with housing and dining services in the provision of disability related accommodations in those environments.

The Office of Legal Counsel was consulted on an as needed basis during the academic year.

Program Assessment

Our Institutional Data Analytics and Assessment (IDAA) representative developed a preliminary review of Fall 2021 cohort retention of DRC registered students. Those students who requested their course accommodations were retained at a higher level than those students who chose not to request course accommodations. Those same students were also retained at a higher percentage than the general student body (see table 12). This is the first time we have looked at this level of detail, and it is something we plan to review and develop a better understanding of.

The DRC has determined the need to develop a multi-layer and multiple year plan to assess the student experience. The attached data reflects unexplored cohort results using traditional institutional values of persistence, retention, and graduation metrics. We plan to begin working with IDAA to determine what data is currently available and what we need to assess.

The DRC is in the early stages of developing an internal self-study that will evolve into an external review of program elements. This is part of a larger initiative by the Provost Office with the DRC being an early adopter. It is anticipated this will continue into the next academic year.

Our Data

For a full picture of our data from the 2021-22 academic year, please view or download our Full Annual Report by clicking the button below.

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