Students and interns at the new Center for Student Accessibility

The Office of Disability Services announced recently that it is now the Center for Student Accessibility. Director Chris Cruz Cullari is pleased to share with the College community the new name change, which went into effect on August 26, 2011, the first day of the fall 2011 semester. Although the Center for Student Accessibility title replaces the Office of Disability Services name, the Center’s staff and support services will remain the same. Cruz Cullari explains, “Reflecting on national trends in colleges and universities across the country as well as discussions on our campus with students, faculty, and administration, we are proud and excited to stay current as we move forward with this change.”

Over the past year, the Center’s staff has been working with students, their families, and the College community, and engaging with the national literature on disability service provision in higher education and best practices. Consulting with such organizations as the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), Cruz Cullari and his staff found this change to be a necessary and progressive step here at CSI. This process also included examining the names of offices across the country. In addition, the Center’s staff conducted focus groups with students with disabilities and facilitated a collaborative process where any students who are registered for services with the Center could suggest a possible new name. 

Sara Paul, Assistant Director of the Center, further explained, “We have found that shifting the name of the Center to emphasize the notion of ‘access’ and ‘accessibility’ is more in line with the preferences of our students and the future of the field.  The term ‘Center’ also more accurately suggests the larger scope of our work.” 

The Center remains a resource for students and faculty alike. Staff members welcome the opportunity to work with the College community and look forward to building on the Center’s recent accomplishments, such as presenting at the AHEAD Conference this past summer, the recent national recognition of the Center’s services for students who are hard-of-hearing, and its collaboration with the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program, which produced a mini-guide for faculty interested in creating accessible writing assignments and a writing handbook for students with invisible disabilities such as ADHD and learning disabilities.

This fall, the Center for Student Accessibility will be installing new digital cameras that will assist with proctoring exam rooms for students with disabilities. The cameras should be up and running just in time for mid-terms and will assist in the delivery and integrity of testing accommodations. More than 2,300 testing sessions were facilitated in the Center during the 2010-2011 academic year, and with a continued increase in enrollment, this number is expected to go up in the upcoming semesters.  

The Center for Student Accessibility is a part of the Division of Student Affairs.