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Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions

Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions

Guiding Principles Resources

The following section provides references from Canadian PSE institutional policies and exemplifies ways colleges/universities can incorporate guiding principles in to their disability policies.

College/University Resources

Full Participation

The following references from PSE institutional policies are examples of how the ideal of full participation for students with disabilities can be included in disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • St. Francis Xavier University recognizes the right of students with disabilities who are academically qualified to participate fully in the life of the university. (Excerpt from St. Francis Xavier University’s policy for Student’s with Disabilities, http://sites.stfx.ca/accessible_learning/policy)
  • The University recognizes that its obligation to provide a learning environment and community free from prohibited discrimination includes the obligation to make accommodations for students in instances where a student’s learning environment or the University community in which they operate has a discriminatory effect on the student’s ability to fully participate in, and have access to, University academic programs, activities, facilities and services. (Excerpt from Dalhousie University’s Accommodation Policy for Students, http://studentaccessibility.dal.ca/Files/OSAA_Student_Policy.pdf)
  • Douglas College will endeavour to provide students with disabilities equal opportunity to foster their educational goals by:
    • taking a proactive approach to providing persons with disabilities the information necessary to access College courses/programs and services, and publicizing this information in alternative formats wherever possible
    • facilitating their participation and success in Douglas College courses/programs
    • offering Adult Special Education programs developed with the specific goal of supporting students with disabilities to move toward their educational and employment goals
    • providing reasonable accommodation and specialized support services
    • working to make sure that its facilities are accessible to persons with disabilities (Excerpt from Douglas Colleges policy on Accessibility to college programs, courses and services for persons with disabilities, http://www.douglas.bc.ca/about/policies/edu/access.html)
  • The University encourages the full participation of all students, including students with disabilities, as members of the University community, and strives to ensure fair and consistent treatment, and access to University services, programs and facilities for all. (Excerpt from University of Prince Edward Island’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.upei.ca/webstercentre/accessibility/policy)
  • Persons with disabilities will not be denied access based on anticipated physical or mental deterioration. (Excerpt from Douglas Colleges policy on Accessibility to college programs, courses and services for persons with disabilities, http://www.douglas.bc.ca/about/policies/edu/access.html)
  • Lakehead University is dedicated to the advancement of learning and seeks to provide an environment of free and creative enquiry. As part of this commitment to excellence, the University endeavours to recognize and remove the obstacles faced by traditionally under-represented groups in order to facilitate their access to and advancement at Lakehead. (Excerpt from Lakehead University’s policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://policies.lakeheadu.ca/policy.php?pid=61)
  • The University seeks to remove attitudinal and environmental barriers which may impede or prevent academically qualified students with disabilities from participating fully in University life. (Excerpt from University of Prince Edward Island’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.upei.ca/webstercentre/accessibility/policy)
  • In particular, the university is obliged to make every reasonable effort short of undue hardship to take substantial, timely and meaningful measures to eliminate or reduce the discriminatory effects of the learning and community environment, including facilities, policies, procedures, and practices. (Excerpt from Dalhousie University’s Accommodation Policy for Students, http://studentaccessibility.dal.ca/Files/OSAA_Student_Policy.pdf)

Self Advocacy

The following references from PSE institutional policies are examples of how the ideal of self advocacy for students with disabilities can be included in disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • The University promotes awareness, advocacy and learning partnerships among students with disabilities and the whole of the university community. The fundamental approach of the university stresses the development of self advocacy and independence for students with disabilities. (Excerpt from St. Francis Xavier University’s policy for Student’s with Disabilities, http://sites.stfx.ca/accessible_learning/policy)
  • Students bear primary responsibility to request available supports, and to follow through on the necessary steps to acquire those supports. A primary role of the Academic Support Coordinator and the Disability Resource Facilitator shall be to promote self advocacy and independence for students with disabilities. (Excerpt from Acadia University’s Senate Policy Regarding Support and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://disabilityaccess.acadiau.ca/Senate.html)
  • The student is strongly encouraged to make contact with the instructor to discuss the proposed accommodation at this time. Both instructors and students should approach the question of accommodation as broadly as possible and look at all aspects of the course in considering the most appropriate accommodation. Discussion with instructors should ideally take place after students have met with LAC and have their letters of accommodation in possession. It is recommended that students consult LAC if uncertain about how effectively to disclose their disability and/or discuss their accommodation needs with their instructors. (Excerpt from Lakehead University’s policy on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://policies.lakeheadu.ca/policy.php?pid=61)
  • In determining the appropriate accommodation, the student with a disability will be expected to take some responsibility in the process. This includes:
    • make reasonable efforts to provide appropriate documentation of disability;
    • discuss and explore the accommodation options that will facilitate access to service or facilities of the University;
    • explore and access alternative services or programs that may provide assistance.

    (Excerpt from the University of Calgary Policy on Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.ucalgary.ca/drc/node/93)

  • Students with disabilities must take the initiative to inform the institution of their needs; pursue their studies with the same diligence required of all students; and accept responsibility for the role that they play in their success or failure. Within this context, ASD will necessarily assume responsibility to adjudicate the identified needs and concerns of individual students with disabilities to ensure an academic environment that is fair to all students and Athabasca University. (Excerpt from Athabasca University’s Policy for Students with Disabilities, http://lss.athabascau.ca/asd/policy/)

Flexibility

The following references from PSE institutional policies are examples of how the ideal of flexibility when assisting students with disabilities can be included in disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • The provision of accommodations for students with disabilities will require that students, instructors and administrative staff all exercise creativity and flexibility in crafting solutions that both meet the needs of the students, and preserve the essential academic requirements of the University's courses/programmes.

    In fulfilling its obligation to accommodate students with disabilities, the University recognizes that the needs of each student with a disability must be assessed individually to determine the appropriate accommodations. Not all students with the same disability will have the same needs. (Excerpt from Wilfrid Laurier University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities, http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=2505&p=11391)

  • Shared responsibility of students with disabilities, instructors, Departments/Schools, Faculties, the Access Centre and administrative staff to exercise flexibility and creativity in the provision of academic accommodations. (Excerpt from Ryerson University’s policy on Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities, Appendix section IV, http://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol159.pdf)

Awareness

The following references from PSE institutional policies are examples of how the ideal of awareness of disability issues can be included in disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • The University of British Columbia policy states that they will appoint at least one Disability Liaison Person in each Faculty and in appropriate non-academic units.
  • Therefore, it will be the University’s responsibility to ensure that its faculty, staff and students are aware of special needs programs, services, and facilities, as well as of their rights and obligations under the various pieces of legislation in this area. Equally, it will be the responsibility of members of the university with special needs to make appropriate officers and offices of the University aware of those needs and of their implications. (Excerpt from Trent University’s Policy Concerning Persons with Disabilities, http://www.trentu.ca/administration/pdfs/DisabilitiesPersonswith.pdf)
  • Inform decision makers (e.g., Instructors, support staff, and administrators, including members of various appeals committees) of the legal duty to provide Reasonable Accommodations to students with disabilities. (Excerpt from Memorial University’s policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, http://www.mun.ca/policy/site/policy.php?id=137)
  • Ensure all members of the College community communicate with a person with a disability in a manner that takes into account his or her disability. (Excerpt from St. Clair College’s policy on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, http://www.stclaircollege.ca/studentservices/learningcommons/Policy741_Accessibility_for_Persons_with_Disabilities.pdf)
  • Students are encouraged to obtain disability support through local, provincial and federal agencies serving persons with disabilities. Disability Services will assist students by providing information as to the appropriate support agencies. (Excerpt from the University of Northern British Columbia’s policy on Access and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://www.unbc.ca/assets/policy/student_services/student_services_access_and_accomodation_for_students_with_disabilities.pdf)
  • Provide notice when facilities or services that people with disabilities rely on to access or use the College’s goods or services are temporarily disrupted. (Excerpt from St. Clair College’s policy on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, http://www.stclaircollege.ca/studentservices/learningcommons/Policy741_Accessibility_for_Persons_with_Disabilities.pdf)
  • That the University include in the University Calendar and other relevant print and electronic publications the policies, procedures and programs for students with disabilities that affect learning. (Acadia University - Excerpt from Acadia University’s Senate Policy Regarding Support and Accommodation for Students with Disabilities, http://disabilityaccess.acadiau.ca/Senate.html)

Leadership Among Institutions

The following references from PSE institutional policies are examples of how the ideal of being a leader among institutions on disability issues and accessibility can be included in disability policy.

College/University Resources

  • The University pledges to maintain a leadership role among the Province’s educational institutions in implementing inclusive accessibility strategies. (Excerpt from St. Francis Xavier University’s policy for Student’s with Disabilities, http://sites.stfx.ca/accessible_learning/policy)
  • The University affirms its commitment to the physical accessibility of the Carleton campus, and to the assessment of academic accommodation for students with disabilities in order to maintain its leadership among the province’s educational institutions in implementing accessibility. (Excerpt from Carleton University’s Accommodation Policy, http://www2.carleton.ca/pmc/policies-and-regulations/policy/)



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