This and that…

June 11, 2007

Disclosure and Self- Determination

Filed under: education,Post-secondary,Support Services,Vermont Tech — learningspecialist @ 6:58 pm

I am thinking of amending the way I put faculty and students in touch with each other around accommodations. Currently, students submit their documentation, we meet and draft a memo, and they take that away with them to share with their instructors. I would like to move toward a system where the student and I have a conversation, and then the student emails their instructors- using a template that I would design- with me copied on the email. There are a couple of distinct advantages to doing it this way. One is that the communication is direct between the faculty member and the student- and it puts me in what I believe is my rightful spot- on the side, as a resource. It allows the student more opportunity to use their own language to describe their needs, something they will absolutely have to do after they graduate. The faculty member knows that the student and I have met and talked because I am on the email. It would work really nicely for online classes and for the extended campus sites.

It would require more work with students in the beginning to make sure that they understood and were ready to make that disclosure instead of having me do it for them- even though it is  the student who delivers the letters. It may be a difficult transition for faculty too- they are used to the model we have which sort of gives permission for accommodations rather than framing them as a a right. Maybe if we began the first semester with the more traditional model and then moved to the new one in subsequent semesters…and allowed current students to use the new model.

I am thinking that I might ask some faculty to serve on a focus group to explore this. I always get good feedback from them when I do- and that helps the process meet their needs as well as the student’s.

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