What services does the Disability Services arm of the Learning Center provide for Biola students?
We provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations to students with psychological, medical, physical and learning disabilities, and ensure legal compliance with state and federal disability law. We advocate for students and facilitate with other departments across campus on the students’ behalf.
How is the diagnosis made and accommodations determined?
The Learning Center does not ever diagnose or assess students for conditions or disabilities. Rather, we receive, screen and review their medical or psychiatric documentation provided by the appropriately licensed practitioner and create a care/accommodation plan based on that information. The student's right to access these accommodations are mandated and protected by state and federal law.
How does a student get registered with the LC?
- In order to register with the Learning Center, students need to first submit proper documentation.
- Once it has been approved and verified, students meet with the Learning Center director and go over the individual care plan that has been developed for them. During this meeting, the process and guidelines of how our center works is also reviewed, and students can ask whatever questions they might have. Additionally, students are encouraged to communicate directly with their faculty in addition to our staff, and are made aware that such communication is expected in certain cases in relation to their accommodations (e.g., modified deadlines).
- At this point faculty receive an email from the Learning Center containing that student’s letter, outlining their approved accommodations.
What should I do if the letter for the student seems vague?
With modified deadlines and/or absences, what those accommodations will look like for your particular class can be very difficult to fully and accurately outline in a letter. Student cases are individual and nuanced, as is your unique assignments, grading, and sense of student engagement and presence in class. Due to the fact that we highly value maintaining the integrity of each class, we do give quite a bit of freedom to each professor to tailor those accommodations to their particular class. What that will look like will vary from course to course. That being said, you can always call the director if you need more guidance or direction on any particular student case, as she can hear the context of your class in light of the specific diagnosis. Usually a phone appointment will provide what clarity is needed to move forward in an appropriate direction with the student.
What types of accommodations will impact me as a professor?
The primary accommodations impacting faculty will be students receiving extended testing time and reduced distraction during exams. These exams are proctored by the Learning Center staff.
Students will need to submit a Request for Proctoring at least 3 business days in advance using this form. Once we have processed the request, you will receive an email from the LC requesting approval along with your instructions on proctoring the exam, such as:
- How long is the class given for completion of the exam?
- When is the examination date?
- How will the exam get to the Learning Center (drop-off, email, housemail…)
Modified Deadlines/Excused Absence
For modified deadlines or excused absence, students should be in communication with you at the time of need, even after the LC informs you that these may be occasional accommodations for that particular student. If you do not hear from the student but they continue to submit late work, please let our center know.
Do students registered with the LC have an unfair advantage?
Accommodations should not lessen academic rigor or alter the essential elements/academic integrity of your course. Students with diagnosed conditions are graded using the same rubric and overall grade structure. There should be no lower standard regarding academic caliber, nor should your expectations of them be different than the general student population. The format may look a bit different, but the integrity of your course should be left intact.
An analogy that we like to use is that of a race. Some students have hurdles placed in their lane by no choice of their own. The role of accommodations is to remove the hurdles. The students still run the exact same course.
I have noticed a student struggling in my class... What should I do?
If you are noticing academic struggles, don't instantly assume or project a learning disability. Rather, encourage them to explore the Learning Center and the variety of resources available here (e.g., tutoring and academic support classes). Through our discussions with them here, we should be able to gather a general sense of a learning disability possibility and corresponding recommendation for testing (if necessary).
If students disclose that their struggles are more on a personal or emotional/psychological level, there are several options. First, encourage the student to take advantage of the Biola Counseling Center and make an appointment with a staff member there. The BCC also has drop-in hours available for more immediate access located at the Student Development office.
For students in or nearing crisis points, the Student Care Team may be able to offer intervention and guidance.
I feel like my area would benefit from having someone from the Learning Center come and talk us through your process and answer questions. Is that possible?
Yes! If you are interested in having our director come and speak to your area or team, please simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and our administrative assistant will be happy to arrange that.