Student Handbook

Table of Contents

Welcome from the DRC Staff

Welcome to UALR! Here at the DRC, our number one goal is to identify and remove barriers to full inclusion in the classroom, on the UALR website, in online classes – everywhere students interact with the university. We value disability as an aspect of diversity, and are here to partner with you to move us all closer to a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable UALR.

I hope this handbook will answer any questions you may have about our department. If it doesn’t, please contact me or anyone in our office at 501.569.3143.

On behalf of all of us at the DRC, we look forward to getting to know you!

Sharon Downs
Director

Utilizing Campus Resources

You can find many answers to your questions by reading these publications: the Student Guide (PDF), Student Handbook (PDF), Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog.

Disability Resource Center

DRC consults with faculty, staff and administrators, providing them with resources, training, and other tools related to teaching, accommodating students with disabilities, and designing barrier-free environments. So not only do DRC staff work with you individually, we spend part of every day behind the scenes to make UALR as accessible as possible, which reduces the need for individual accommodations.

When disability-related accommodations are necessary, we are here to collaborate with you to develop a plan that works for you. No matter the disability, no matter if it’s a disability you’ve had for years, or just recently acquired, we are here to partner with you. If you suspect that you may have a disability, but you are not sure, come talk with us. Many disabilities are not apparent, and there are many students with hidden disabilities attending UALR. In fact the vast majority of students registered with the DRC have disabilities such as Attention Deficit Disorder, learning disability, or psychiatric disabilities – all non-apparent disabilities. Statistically, one in ten UALR students has some type of disability, making it one of the largest identity groups on campus.

Students should come to DRC or call for an appointment to inquire about the following:

  • Textbooks in alternate formats. Usually these are provided in digital format to be read using screen reader software or electronic readers. We ask for ten (10) weeks advance notice. Make your request for digital books.
  • Alternate formats for other written materials. These include digital, large print, and Braille. Advance notice is necessary.
  • Lab assistants. DRC will hire someone to work with students who have visual or physical disabilities in laboratories.
  • Interpreters. Sign language and oral interpreters are provided with advance notice.
  • Speech-to-text transcription. With advance notice, DRC provides speech-to-text services for students for communication access. This involves in-class transcribing of lectures as the student follows along on a laptop computer.
  • Note-takers. DRC, faculty, and students who receive notetaking services work together to recruit skilled notetakers from their classes. Self-carboning paper for you to provide to your note-takers is available in the DRC office. More information on notetakers
  • Assistive or adaptive technology. This is available to use in many campus locations, and some can be checked out from the DRC. Here is a complete list of adaptive technology and locations.
  • Accessible online classes. DRC works with faculty to ensure all information in web-based or web-enhanced classes is fully accessible.
  • Faculty Notification letter. DRC provides letters upon request by students for their professors listing their accommodations.
  • Faculty and staff consultation. DRC works with faculty, staff and administrators to facilitate classroom and testing accommodations. We also provide information on good teaching strategies that work for all students, and that lessen the need for individual accommodations.
  • Faculty and staff training. Model demonstration grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education have enabled UALR to become a leader in training of faculty and administrators, and enabled our faculty to gain knowledge about how best to teach students with disabilities, as well as how to create usable, equitable, inclusive and sustainable learning environments.
  • Faculty Handbook. The Faculty Handbook provides detailed information about how to design usable, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable learning environments for all students, and how to implement accommodations.

Assistive or Adaptive Technology

If you are interested in assistive technology evaluations and possible purchase of your own equipment through Arkansas Rehabilitation Services or other funding sources, contact DRC. Some equipment is kept in the DRC office and may be available for students to check out. An example is an assistive listening device for a student who is hard of hearing. These amplify sound using a microphone worn by the professor, utilizing a transmitter, receiver, and FM technology. Electronic note-takers designed for people with visual disabilities may also be available for you to use. Various campus labs may include computers with screen readers (output is voiced), voice recognition (you dictate verbally to the computer), Braille printers, video magnifiers (magnify the printed page onto a monitor), refreshable Braille display device, and adapted keyboards. Here is a list of adaptive equipment and where it is located on campus.

Academic Adjustment Policy & Course Substitutions

The Academic Adjustment Policy (PDF) outlines the steps students take to request accommodations or academic adjustments, including the appeals process.

In some cases an academic adjustment may take the form of a course substitution or waiver. For example, students with learning disabilities in the specific areas of math or language may not need to take the math or foreign language requirements. Substitutions or waivers are only made if the course in question is not considered essential to the student’s major or minor. If you are considering requesting a substitution or waiver, please come see us.

Steps for Requesting Accommodations

The Disability Resource Center collaborates with students, faculty, and staff to create usable, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable learning environments. However, there may be times when there are aspects of the instruction or design of your courses that result in barriers to your inclusion or to accurate assessment of achievement. When that is the case, the DRC staff will work with you to arrange for accommodations.

We encourage students to contact us to engage in a discussion to identify and remove barriers in their academic experience.

  1. Contact the Disability Resource Center to make an appointment with a member of the DRC staff to discuss the barriers you have experienced and/or anticipate.
  2. Work with the staff member to determine accommodations that will reduce or remove those barriers. The process for determining accommodations is a collaborative one that may or may not require third-party documentation.
  3. Complete the online request for faculty notifications each semester.
  4. Collaborate with your professor to determine how the accommodations will be worked out.
  5. Complete any other requests each semester as discussed in the initial meeting (i.e. books in alternate format, submitting schedule for interpreters or Typewell services, etc.)
  6. Follow up with the DRC if there are any questions or concerns about the services.

A note about documentation:

These guidelines apply to students taking UALR classes. Please be aware that other universities and testing agencies (which administer standardized tests such as the GRE and LSAT) may require more extensive documentation, and you should check out their requirements well in advance.

Online Students

Students who reside outside the central Little Rock area and are taking only online courses will follow a somewhat different process. The DRC application process can be conducted entirely by phone, or part online and part by phone. Instead of meeting personally with your professors to discuss the logistics and accommodations, you will contact them by phone or e-mail. Request your Faculty Notifications. It is still necessary for you to contact your professors to work out accommodation logistics for exams and to follow up to be sure they received your Faculty Notification.

Law Students

A week or two before exams begin, meet with the Associate Dean to work out the logistics of your accommodations. Unless otherwise indicated, extended time for exams is time and a half. Grading of your exams will be handled anonymously as is the policy at the law school.

Related Departments

Tutoring, Academic Support, Test Preparation

The Academic Success Center has four programs with enriching services designed to foster holistic student success. Most of these academic support services are free to students with disabilities. Contact them by calling 501.569.3280 (v/tty) or visit the ASC website for a complete listing of services offered by each of these programs. Example service offerings include but are not limited to:

  • One-on-one and group tutoring offered by Student Support Services
  • Academic advising and high-quality instruction offered by Collegiate Success Program
  • Standardized test preparation and courses for students needing to increase academic skills offered by College Reading Program
Standardized Test Accommodations

Standardized tests, such as the LSAT and NCLEX, have their own disability documentation requirements. Don’t assume that the documentation that you provide to the DRC will suffice for external testing agencies. There is generally a separate application form for accommodations in addition to the application to take the test.

Tests that are administered with accommodations are often administered on a day that is different from the published test date. The date for your test will be arranged through the Testing Services office once accommodations have been approved.

Chancellor’s Committee on the Americans with Disabilities Act (CADA)

This committee includes students, faculty, and staff members who each year determine how funds established for improving accessibility will be spent. In addition, this group develops and recommends policy changes related to encouraging inclusive learning environments. Students who have good ideas on how to make the campus more accessible are urged to contact the DRC Director to ask about serving on this committee. Learn more about CADA.

Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) and Arkansas Division of Services for the Blind (DSB)

ARS and DSB is a state agency whose goal is employment of adults with disabilities. As part of the process they will conduct an evaluation to determine your eligibility for their programs. Services are designed to prepare individuals for employment, and may include financial assistance in college, usually payment of tuition. Another service for some students is an individual technology evaluation and purchase of adaptive equipment. Your ARS counselor may also facilitate job search activities. Learn more about Arkansas Rehabilitation Services and learn more about Division of Services for the Blind.

Your Rights and Responsibilities

Eligibility Under the Law and Accessing DRC Services

If you have a disability, you are entitled by law to equal access to university programs and facilities. The most relevant laws are Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Under these laws you cannot be discriminated against on the basis of your disability. In the university setting, this often means that in order to achieve equal access, accommodations must be made in the classroom or in testing procedures.

The legal definition of a person with a disability includes people who have a history of or who are perceived as having a disability. This might mean, for example, that someone with HIV, who has no symptoms or illness, could still experience discrimination under the law due to false perceptions about the condition.

Some disabilities that are not visible or obvious are also be covered under the law. Examples are learning disabilities, medical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, and a history of addiction (rehabilitated or recovering substance abusers). If you want more information about the accommodation process, make an appointment at the DRC.

Complaints and Grievance Procedures

If you have concerns about the manner in which faculty or staff have responded to your accommodation requests, please contact the DRC office (501.569.3143). A staff member will collaborate with you in generating possible solutions.

For academic concerns not resolved after discussion with the professor, you may schedule a meeting with the administrator at the next level up. The order would be the Department Chair, the Dean, and the Provost.

If you have a complaint about the Disability Resource Center that you have not been able to resolve with the Director, your next step would be to contact the Dean of Students (501.569.3328). For other non-academic issues first contact the Director of the particular program, and if the concern is not resolved, appeal to that person’s supervisor. Inquire about the chain of command, as it will vary across campus.

In addition, the Employee Relations/Diversity Officer at the Department of Human Resources can assist you at any point in the process (501.569.8675).

The UALR Student Handbook (PDF) distributed by the Office of the Dean of Students (501.569.3328) provides additional information on grievance procedures and appeals. These grievance procedures provide you with a means of due process for dealing with concerns whether they are related to your disability or not.

In Conclusion

We at UALR are pleased that you chose to pursue your education and your career goals here. We look forward to collaborating with you on a personal level as well as within the UALR and wider communities in creating usable, equitable, inclusive and sustainable environments.

Student Affairs Philosophy

UALR Students Are…

    • The most important people on the campus. Without them there would be no need for the institution.

    • Not cold enrollment statistics, but flesh and blood human beings with feelings and emotions like our own.

    • Not people to be tolerated so we can do our thing. They are our thing.

    • Not dependent on us. Rather we are dependent on them.

    • Not an interruption of our work, but the purpose of it. We are not doing them a favor by serving them. They are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.

DRC Mission

This is the DRC Core Values, Mission Statement, and Vision Statement that was revised in Spring, 2013.