Annual Report 2019-20

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 things are done in support of our vision 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 conducting an interactive process that captures environmental barriers to access and developing 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 with campus and community resources that can benefit student development.
  • Outreach by attending campus recruitment events and being available to students and families considering enrollment at Purdue.
  • Consultation with faculty/instructors, Innovative Learning Team, and Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE) on concepts of inclusive design of instruction.
  • Proctoring course exams for faculty who are unable to provide accommodated testing conditions.
  • Consulting with physical plant and new building initiatives to inform and encourage designing for useable and inclusive physical spaces.
  • Provision of Disability Awareness and Culture programing throughout the academic year with a focus on the Social Model of disability.
  • Sponsoring the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) as a way to encourage and attain student input regarding the campus disability experience.
  • Developing and operating a Peer Mentor program for disabled students.
  • Representing disability on a variety of diversity and inclusion initiatives and committees across campus in an effort to advance the campus understanding of the impact of environmental design barriers to full participation and equitable use for all.
  • Consulting with other campus supported offerings in an effort to assist in the design of offerings that are accessible by design.
  • Acting as a resource to the broad campus community on re-thinking the disability paradigm.

Learning Outcomes

The DRC supports an environment focused on reducing the burden students take on to gain equal access to curricular and co-curricular activities. As a result students interacting with the DRC will:

  • Improve their understanding of their rights to equal access related to their intersection with all elements of the University.
  • Understand all of the ways the DRC can support their access (e.g., educational programming, course accessibility letters, accommodated testing, collaboration with faculty, etc.).
  • Understand the role of the DRC in facilitating implementation of accommodations through engagement with the DRC versus direct negotiation with faculty.
  • Succeed at rates similar to or better than their nondisabled peers utilizing institutional measures.

Notable Changes From 2018-19 Academic Year

Response to COVID-19

On March 23, 2020, the University moved to a “remote learning” model of instruction in response to the pandemic. This resulted in the DRC staff contributing as follows:

  • Staff redesigned the DRC website to provide students and instructors with information about how accommodations and accessibility would be implemented within a shifting, mostly virtual environment.
  • DRC staff worked closely with the Innovative Learning team to provide guidance on accessibility and participated in a series of faculty facing seminars on accessibility and teaching in a remote environment.
  • Nationally, we were an early adopter of a system to manage a “COVID-19 Adjustment” request process in anticipation of students with heightened health risks seeking adjustments for fall enrollment.
  • DRC staff responded to 100 individual student COVID-19 adjustment requests.
  • DRC leaders met with University Residences to develop and coordinate our approach.
  • DRC Testing Center experienced a 60% decrease in exams proctored from Fall ’19 to Spring ’20.
  • DRC Testing staff contributed to the Talent Share program by working COVID-19 call center shifts.
  • DRC’s Access Facilitator was assigned to POL through the Talent Share program.
  • The DRC’s alternative formats team experienced an increase in captioning requests due to moving to remote learning model in the spring.

University Residences & Office of Legal Counsel

In January, DRC staff began regular meetings with University Residences (UR) and Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) to fine-tune our processes for housing and dining accommodations. This collaboration was intended to deepen the cross-discipline understanding of the three units. This work continues. In hindsight, this paved the way for the ease with which we adopted our COVID-19 approach.

Growth & Improvements

  • The DRC reached a new plateau this year with over 3,000 students registered. This represents a 16% increase over AY 18-19. Growth in numbers has been a constant trend since AY 2014-15. Comparing AY 2014-15 to AY 2019-20 the percentage of growth is 153%. Overall, the percentage of students registered with the DRC in relation to the total student body has risen from 3% in AY 2014-15 to 6.6% in AY 2019-20.
  • Growth affects the accommodated testing service we provide for faculty. In AY 2014-15, the DRC proctored 4,729 individual exams for 847 students. During AY 2019-20, the DRC proctored 9,232 individual exams. This represents a 95% percent increase during this 5-year span. COVID-19 affected the growth; in fall 2019, the DRC proctored a total of 7,176 for AY-19-20.
  • Beginning fall 2019, the DRC regularly scheduled overflow rooms in the Krannert building for evening exams to meet the demand. We also hired two temporary employees for fall because of sheer volume.
  • We developed a batch approval process for instructors to aid their efficiency due to increasing numbers.
  • An accessible online Accommodation Request Form (ARF) was developed and added to our website for to allow students to make accommodations requests online.
  • We improved workflow efficiencies through the redesign of more accessible, transparent, and sustainable processes; these include notetaking requests, BoilerCast, Alternative Format requests, scheduling appointments, ASL requests, auditory formatted exams, and smart pens.

Physical Space

  • Culminating a 5-year journey, bids were accepted in January for the renovation of existing spaces to address the growing physical needs of the department. This project was completed in July 2020.
  • This resulted in a new DRC Testing Center in the basement level of Stewart Building. We gained 8 private rooms and 42 distraction-reduced seats. We also repurposed some inherited computers to add 25 seats with computer-based exam capability. The DRC now has 33-seats to manage both paper and pencil or computer-based exams. Our Young Hall space was limited to 22 distraction-reduced seats.
  • This move resulted in our being next to Institutional Data Processing (IDP). We will be delivering completed ScanTron answer sheets directly to IDP, resulting in less burden for faculty and instructors.
  • Young Hall renovations resulted in re-purposing the testing space into five new professional offices and improved workspace for Alternate Formats. Additionally, we gained space for a Disability Cultural Center.

Accessible Information Management System (AIM)

Another 5-year journey concluded with the purchase of AIM. This is a cloud-based system from which the DRC will begin managing all of its processes: from initial student request to issuance of Course Accessibility Letters (CAL), Accommodated Testing requests, and Alternate Formats. Planned launch is summer2021.

Personnel

  • An Access Consultant, Mandie Waling M.S. filled the Assistant Director for Auxiliary Aids and Services position in January 2020.
  • An Access Consultant left to take a Director position at another University in April 2020.
  • Hunter Deiglmeier Ph.D. interviewed in March and started as an Access Consultant in May 2020.
  • Austin Connell M.ED. Interviewed in May and started as an Access Consultant on June 1, 2020.
  • With increased demand for braille and tactile materials, we returned a skilled staff member from accommodated testing to Alternate Formats in 2019.

Road Map for Transformative Undergraduate Education:

DRC staff participated in the work designed around this important initiative. We also continued to review DRC-registered student data and considered what additional information we need to consider in support of this multiyear initiative. The COVID-19 did divert resources and focus from making significant strides in this area.

Outreach and Awareness

  • Hosted a student social in the PMU South Ballroom on Aug.23, 2019. 75 people attended.
  • DRC hosted a viewing of the movie: Piss on PITY, The story of ADAPT in September 2019.
  • DRC hosted at the LGBTQ Center an event: A Different Kind of Coming out in October 2019.
  • A Graduate Celebration Open House was held virtually on three different dates in May 2020.
  • DRC staff were also active responding to requests to speak/train student and faculty groups regarding disability identity and inclusion throughout the academic year.

Inclusive Design

  • As the University moved to remote learning in March 2020 and planned for the fall2020 semester, the DRC had the opportunity to collaborate with the Innovative Learning team to promote Inclusive Design of instruction. We also modified our website to reinforce those concepts.
  • The DRC partnered closely with faculty teaching deaf/hard of hearing students enrolled in their classes as the campus reacted to the pandemic. We promoted the use of “Clear Masks” and Face Shields in an effort to provide access for the large number of those students who rely on lip reading as we considered the return to in-person learning for fall2020.

Peer Mentor Program

This program maintained the number of participants from last year. Fall 2019 kicked off with recruitment including an ice cream social and photo scavenger hunt. This program developed pods of students to promote social relationships. Monthly Socials were organized and led by mentors. Activities included an October trip to Exploration Acres and a November Community Day of Giving focused on a home winterization project. December included a game night. Early spring semester started with monthly social events. This offering moved to a virtual format in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DRC Data 2019-20

To view all data, statistics, and graphs, please download our Annual Report PDF.

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