UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Office for Disability Services at Penn State has been renamed Student Disability Resources.
The name change is designed to better communicate the office’s mission and its audience, said Keith Jervis, director of disability services.
“I wanted it to be more reflective of the population we serve — students with disabilities,” he said. “I wanted more clarification on what we do and who we serve.”
Jervis said some of the students who now come to Student Disability Resources are those who have temporary disabilities. In the past, the Office for Disability Services did not provide assistance to those students with a disability that was expected to be resolved in six months or less. Now the office acts as a resource for these students as well.
“For example, a student who breaks their arm and that’s the same arm they use for note taking,” he said. “We can help that person to identify alternatives, i.e., voice-to-text (dictation) features on their computer, permission to photograph material on the board, permission to record classes with a LiveScribe smart pen, or more time to write their answers on an exam.”
The goal, Jervis said, of being a resource is to ensure that students can continue their academic work. “We come up with solutions for them. We’re going to help get what you need in order to access class.”
He added that the office also serves as a resource for faculty members, who can refer students to the office or contact them for guidance on how to work with students in their class.
Each year, Student Disability Resources serves about 1,500 students at the University Park campus and coordinates assistance for another 1,500 students across the Commonwealth Campuses.
The office also offers scholarships for students with disabilities.
More information on the Student Disability Resource office can be found at http://equity.psu.edu/ods.