Annual Report 2016-17

In the interest of creating usable, inclusive and sustainable environments, the Mission of the UA Little Rock Disability Resource Center encompasses two primary functions:

  1. To consult and collaborate with faculty, students, other campus stakeholders, and outside entities regarding Universal Design and reframing disability.
  2. To facilitate access via accommodations, including those related to communication, the physical environment, print materials, and technology.
  1. Collaboration
  2. Access

DRC’s vision is that UA Little Rock’s educational opportunities, services, programs, technology, and web presence can all be accessed seamlessly by everyone, without DRC intervention.

Promotes student development through intentional services, programming and structures

The focus of this year's departmental retreat was team building. With a new Director and new interpreters in place and other staff members taking on new responsibilities, the DRC used the retreat time to build on relationships and set expectations for the year, and will translate those relationship building skills to interactions with students. The department is well positioned to meet student and University needs with the personnel more experienced in their new roles.

Advocates for the excluded

The DRC reached out to students from the Clinton School of Public Service, Social Work, TRIO program, Speech Communication and Law School by presenting information on the process for requesting accommodations.

The DRC provides Faculty Notification Letters (FNLs) upon request by students to notify professors of specific accommodations.

Provides an environment in which students can pursue their educational goals

Stacy Willis Memorial Scholarship awarded

The Stacy Willis Memorial Scholarship Committee selected Tobi Nipp as the recipient for 2017-18. This competitive scholarship is awarded every year to a student of distinction with a disability at UA Little Rock. Congratulations to Tobi!

This scholarship honors Stacy Willis, a dedicated student at UA Little Rock who graduated with honors, then moved to Florida State University where she obtained her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.  UA Little Rock saw her potential and hired her to work in Student Support Services.  Counseling, supporting and working with students with disabilities to achieve their educational goals was her highest calling. This scholarship honors her to follow through with that calling.

Other

Presentations in the Community

The DRC presented to area Psychological Examiners.

  • The presentation was on Bridging the gap between evaluations and service providers: Students self-awareness, advocacy, the differences between high school modifications and University accommodations and Universal Design.

The DRC presented to students, parents and teachers at LISA Academy and North Pulaski High School in the Jacksonville North Pulaski School District.

Community Collaboration

DRC is represented in the state affiliate Arkansas chapter of Association of Higher Education and Disability (Ark-AHEAD)

DRC is represented in the state affiliate Learning Disability Association of Arkansas (LDAA)

DRC trained staff from other Arkansas college on digital book conversions for blind students and students with learning disabilities

The 2016-2107 saw its Director promoted out of the department and two long-time interpreters retire.   A new Director was promoted from within and two new interpreters were hired. The division-wide restructure resulted in one less full-time position in the DRC, made possible by redistributing responsibilities. With all this, the DRC was able to accomplish many of its goals.

  • Initiated improvement to workflow for digital books process.
  • Plan developed to create a program for interpreter interns.
  • Plan was put in place to train and orient two new interpreters.
  • Developed training manual for student workers.

Survey sent to students registered with the DRC who requested Faculty Notification Letters (FNLs); 289 sent, 99 returned (34% return rate)

The DRC wanted to measure self-advocacy from students who requested accommodations via FNLs. A survey was sent to determine if accommodations were in place, and if not, how it was addressed.

Below are the survey questions:

  • Did you have a situation in the last year when you sent faculty notification letters to your professors, and then an accommodation wasn't in place for you when you needed it?

If Yes:

  • Did you... (Option to select provided answer or fill in the blank)
    • Speak with the professor
    • Do nothing
    • Visit the DRC
    • Email Professor
    • Other
  • Was that successful?
    • Yes
    • No
  • How could this situation have been handled better?
    • Open Response
  • Did you communicate with your professor after the notification was sent to ensure accommodations would be in place?
    • Yes
    • No
  • What are your best strategies for making sure you have your accommodations?
    • Open response

76% of students had their accommodations in place on the first day of class.  That number rose to 87% after some students talked with their professors after the Faculty Notification Letter was sent.

Below are some responses of 'best strategies' received:

  • "After the letter is sent, I make sure that they (Professor) have received it and that they understand what I require in the way of accommodations."
  • "Communicating with the instructor as early as possible at the beginning of the semester."
  • "Asking my professors have they received their accommodation letter."
  • "Talk to the teachers face-to-face about my particular situations."

Of the 24% of students who reported accommodations were not in place (N=24), 11 spoke with their professors and were able to resolve the issue. The other 13 students did not have their issues resolved, with 4 of those reporting they 'did nothing' to address the issue, 3 spoke with their professor, 2 visited the DRC, 1 emailed the professor, 1 spoke with an outside therapist, and 1 selected 'other.'

This information provides insight for DRC to more effectively educate students about their role in ensuring their accommodations are in place, and to promote​ self advocacy skills in general.

  • For each staff member to become more engaged within the UA Little Rock community by joining committees or working more closely with other departments.
  • Increase and/or identify best communication options with students, by looking a text programs, emails and phone.
  • Document work process where applicable (i.e. Books in alternative formats, banner programs, etc..)
  • Identify areas for cross training to maximize office efficiency.

The DRC has 7 full time employees.

DRC serves approximately 650 students.

During the fall and spring semesters an estimated 480 individual students sent approximately 2500 faculty notifications to 671 separate faculty members detailing classroom accommodations.