Susan Ayres has been promoted to the role of access counselor in Accessible Education Services (AES), within the Shepard Academic Resource Center. Ayres most recently served as AES Accommodation Coordinator and AES Program Assistant. In previous roles, Ayres has served as administrative assistant at All Saints Parish, staffing coordinator for Staffing Partners, vocational consultant supporting clients with disabilities for Great Northern Consulting, and job developer providing job placement for clients with disabilities for Dirkse Counseling and Consulting.
Accessible Education Services
Ryan Henley has been hired by Accessible Education Services as testing and accommodation coordinator, within the Shepard Academic Resource Center. You might know Henley from his previous position at the University where he served as administrative assistant to the associate dean for students, College of Arts and Sciences. Henley previously served as administrative assistant for the Albertina Kerr Center. Additionally, for over ten years Henley has volunteered his time as an event graphic designer for a local nonprofit, My Voice Music, Inc. which serves at-risk Portland-area youth.
Did you know that the majority of students with accessible education services (AES) accommodations have either a learning disability (LD), or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or both LD and ADHD? These two articles discuss the benefits of utilizing a growth mindset approach when teaching students who experience ADHD and LD. The surprise? These same growth mindset and universal design strategies also benefit learning outcomes for students without disabilities.
The Creativity of ADHD: More insights on a positive side of a “disorder”, by Holly White in Scientific American. (Read this article in 5 minutes.)
There is a Better Way to Teach Students with Learning Disabilities, by Jo Boaler and Tanya Lamar in Time Magazine. (Read this article in 4 minutes.)
Are you interested in an introduction to Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindsets in learners? Check out her TED talk (10-minute video). If you are looking for efficient strategies to incorporate in your course to support growth mindset, check out: A Growth Mindset About Mistakes: Support students in identifying a mistake and developing skills to learn from that mistake. (Read this article in 3 minutes.)
Would you like to incorporate growth mindset and universal design principles into your courses, or have general questions? Please email Melanie Gangle, AES program manager, at email@example.com.
Incorporating Universal Design into a course is an iterative process, much like course design itself. Continually utilizing feedback and ideas from colleagues, class discussion, and the literature to modify and enrich learning experiences provides greater opportunities for all students to access course content, regardless of learning modality preference. UC Berkeley’s Instructional Design Community focused on Universal Design and shared these tips to consider.
Accessible education services staff are available to consult with faculty members interested in incorporating Universal Design into courses. Are you intrigued by the idea of measuring learning outcomes and/or overall student learning experience in a Universally-Designed course? Would you like an objective AES staffperson to assist in reviewing your spring semester course syllabus for UD ideas? Would you simply like to debrief about a specific course element? If so, AES would love to hear from you. Please contact Melanie Gangle at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
You may have noticed more service dogs being used by people with disabilities in stores, in airports, at neighborhood meetings, and even on campus. Are you curious about what differentiates a service dog from a pet? Take a quick break and watch this enjoyable 4-minute video, which explains the myriad tasks performed by a service dog, as well as the roles of service dogs in the lives of people with disabilities.
What to do if you encounter a person with a dog in a campus building? When it is not obvious what service a dog provides, University faculty and staff may ask two questions only: (1) whether the dog is a service animal required because of a disability; and (2) what work or task the dog has been trained to perform. Service animals are almost always dogs; in rare exceptions, a miniature horse may be trained as a service animal.
Do you wonder why some students eligible for accommodations through accessible education services (AES) do not actually use their accommodations? According to Melanie Gangle, accessible education services, in a recent qualitative study, students identified six key reasons: (1) Desire for self-sufficiency, (2) Desire to avoid negative social reactions, (3) Insufficient knowledge about their accommodations, (4) Quality and usefulness of DSS and accommodations, (5) Negative experiences with professors, and (6) Fear of future ramifications.
Gangle has the following suggestions for faculty who would like to support more students in utilizing their AES accommodations and demonstrating their competencies in course assessments:
- On the first day of the semester when reviewing the syllabus, spend a moment highlighting the section about AES and make a brief statement such as: “If you have an AES accommodation plan, please schedule an appointment with me soon so we can plan ahead for your accommodations in this class.” This simple statement creates a welcoming atmosphere while reminding students of their responsibility to communicate proactively with you about their AES accommodations.
- During the semester when you announce a general reminder about an upcoming exam, include a statement such as: “And if you have AES exam accommodations, remember to talk with me no later than X date (1-2 weeks in advance of exam) so we have time to make arrangements for accommodations.” This strategy helps reduce last-minute accommodation requests while encouraging students to communicate with you.
- Would you like support in reserving space for exam accommodations that involve extended time and/or alternative setting? Contact your dean’s office for assistance reserving exam space.
- The traditional time-limited exam format assesses course competencies while simultaneously assessing how quickly your students can read, write, analyze, etc. If reading speed, writing speed and analytic speed are not essential learning outcomes for your course, consider exam alternatives such as take-home exams; online exams (via Moodle – contact academic technology services for more information); cumulative papers, projects, or presentations; outside-the-box formats such as creating a content-rich video, or a Wiki with appropriate citations.
- Talk with a colleague in your department or across campus to explore new strategies for assessing student mastery of course learning outcomes.
The AES office thanks faculty for all that you do to create a welcoming, supportive learning environment for all students, every day. Would you like to discuss these ideas further? Contact Gangle at email@example.com or x8236.
The number of students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is growing across the nation, according to Melanie Gangle, accessible education services. At the University, there have also been growing numbers of students diagnosed with ASD. The diagnosis of ASD includes the previously-known category of Asperger Syndrome, also known as high-functioning autism spectrum. To learn more about how to support college students with ASD from a faculty perspective, please check out this video (15:21 in length): Understanding Asperger Syndrome: A Professor’s Guide.
For more information contact Gangle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accessible Education Services is offering Exam Accommodation Workshops for faculty on August 22 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and on August 23 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Topics covered will include helpful tips for planning ahead for exam accommodations, support resources available, and legal requirements.
To RSVP for a workshop, please contact Susan Ayres, accessible education services, at email@example.com or 8985.
The University of Portland hosted the Oregon Association of Higher Education and Disability (ORAHEAD) Conference on April 14-15. The conference brought representatives of twenty higher education institutions (8 four-year universities and 12 community colleges) to The Bluff, along with staff from the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Division and Oregon Commission for the Blind. The keynote speaker was Ms. Wheelchair America 2016, Alette Coble-Temple (pictured), who presented on “Cultivating a Culture of Empowerment.”
In support of the ORAHEAD conference, the Clark Library hosted a Disability History exhibit April 14-18, and student activities partnered with the Shepard Center and accessible education services office to organize a University community event with Coble-Temple on April 14, titled “Empowerment Strategies for Successful Education Completion and Integration in the Employment Sector.”
For more information on the University’s efforts in support of higher education and accessibility, contact Melanie Gangle, accessible education services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 8236.
Accessible Education Services (AES) offers the following faculty tips to support students in preparing for final exams:
- Make multiple announcements of the date and time of your final exam and ask that students who need final exam accommodations contact you directly by a specific date (i.e this Friday, April 22, for example).
- Send individual e-mail reminders to students with exam accommodations to remind the student to contact you by a specific date to confirm final exam accommodation arrangements.
- Ask the student to confirm which specific exam accommodations are needed for the final exam (such as extra time, alternative setting, etc.). Note: Students who utilize AES accommodations such as use of a scribe, use of a reader, or use of text-to-speech or speech-to-text software may be referred to AES for proctoring.
- Find a location for the exam in advance. To reserve or locate possible exam space, faculty should contact their school or college dean’s office.