Academic Assistance Center / Disability Services
Unit Annual Report
Ferolyn Angell - Director (100% time, 10 months)
Kathryn Gonier Klopfleisch - Assistant Director (100%, 10 months)
Colleen Frey (75% time, 50% summer)
Theresa O’Halloran-Johnson (Temporary & Casual) September - April
Patience Addo, Jessie Bassett, Tayler Ferguson, Lauren Hazenson, Alyssa Herzog - Student Office Support
Adria Bykowski – Morris Administrative Intern
52 student tutors, 46 notetakers
The Academic Assistance Center & Disability Services unit provides programs to help UMM students succeed academically. Our goal is to help students with or without disabilities to develop the inquiry, co-operative and self advocacy skills that will serve them at UMM and throughout their lives. In its Disability Service capacity, this unit is called upon to consult on all issues pertaining to persons with disabilities.
Academic Assistance Center programs seek to extend the learning environment beyond the classroom. Disability Services ensures that students and staff with disabilities receive the accommodations mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. By extension, Disability Services also acts in an advocacy capacity for persons with disabilities.
A. Develop academic support programs for students in consultation with the Academic Dean and appropriate University units (Advising Office, Center for International Programs, Minority Student Program, Residential Life, Athletics Division, etc.)
B. Serve students, faculty and staff with disabilities through advising, advocacy, accommodations, adaptive equipment, tutorials, and referrals.
C. Provide small group or individual, course-specific academic assistance to students through a peer tutoring program and discipline-specific drop-in hours supported by tutor training & the Peer Tutoring in College course.
D. Support non-native English speaking students through individual and group tutorials
in English or specific courses.
E. Provide on-site support via workshops and presentations (i.e. residence hall floor meetings, classroom visits, Orientation groups and Gateway students).
F. Provide general training in study techniques and learning strategies through the Monday Night Study Table and the Learning to Learn course.
G. Provide support for students with disabilities through adaptive technologies.
H. Enhance the professional growth of staff through participation in and contribution to
relevant professional organizations and conferences.
This unit began the academic year in newly renovated space in the Library. The new space allows professional staff to have private consultation with students and for a more user-friendly atmosphere when students drop in to take advantage of services.
The AAC/DS unit continues to provide core programs and has reinstituted Tutor observations. Other activities that were curtailed due to staff cut backs (Newsletter, Disability Advisory Committee, etc.) have not been reinstituted which, in turn, affects the visibility of our programs.
AAC/DS participated in the initial investigations and planning with the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs, the Scholastic Committee and the Retention Task Force that led to the development of a pilot Early Alert program for UMM.
Narrative and Statistical
AAC programs served 543 students in the 2003-2004 academic year. Approximately 11% of students using AAC services were students of color. The majority of students (72%) participating in AAC programs were first and second year students. In addition, staff reached over 150 students through visits to classrooms.
The Math Room had 68 visitors, the Physics drop-in service had 60 visitors. The Study Table had only 37 visitors this year. Spanish Faculty dropped the requirement for attendance at the Conversation Hour so only 6 students took advantage of that service. A similar format for French only attracted 4 students.
Four sections of Learning to Learn were offered, two during Fall Semester and two during Spring Semester. A total of 41students took the course. Observation of student participation and attitudes suggests that those who enroll the first ½ of Fall semester do not yet realize the need for the course, while those who enroll the second ½ have given up hope for success.
163 tutoring groups were set up and 52 students worked as peer tutors during the year. Seven of the tutors were students of color (13 %). Two students took the Peer Tutoring in College course in order to receive credit for tutoring.
AAC program attendance data indicates an overall decline in the number of students utilizing existing programs. While some of this is a reflection of declining enrollment, the decline in participation must have other explanations. For example: last year there were over 400 requests for tutors. This year there were 332 requests. AAC programs depend on students being able to evaluate their own performance and take action to improve it. This is not typical of today’s incoming first year student.
On the other hand, staff members have done some outreach to faculty and students. Gonier worked with seven instructors in various disciplines over the course of the year making visits to the classroom that targeted the study techniques most desired for the particular class. In addition, four presentations were made to students in their residence halls reaching an additional 35 – 40 students. These efforts increase the number of students who seek one-on-one assistance from AAC staff.
There were 46 students with disabilities registered for services in 2003 – 2004. Students with ADD/ADHD or Learning Disabilities make up 56% of the total population of students registered for services. Students with psychiatric disorders represent another 13% with a wide range of diagnoses. The remaining 31% are a variety of other disabilities. Only 5 students have either a visual or hearing impairment. DS provides five main services to students: priority registration, note takers, taped texts, letters to professors and alternative testing.
Angell continued providing consultation and support for staff members with disabilities, a process that involves meeting with Human Resources, Union representatives, and employers as well as the person with the disability.
Recommendations and Plans
Take steps to improve the visibility of AAC programs and increase the number of faculty who consult with AAC staff about study skills for their courses.
Work with other campus units to develop an Early Alert system for students in academic difficulty.
Collaborate with Advising, Career Services and the Dean’s office to develop a “one-stop-shop” for student support services.
Continue to develop a system for “tracking” the academic progress and investigate methods of support that will improve the academic performance of students with disabilities.
Change the timing of the Learning to Learn class to a mid-semester offering, especially during Fall semester.