Student Disability Services Moves Location
The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is committed to providing students with a
supportive and inclusive learning environment that propels them to succeed personally
and professionally. One way UAFS achieves this is through Student Disabilities Services.
These services aren’t new for UAFS students, but to make these services more accessible, UAFS has dedicated room 114 in Flanders as a larger, private space for students needing extra assistance to take tests. The move to the new area is a response by the university amid steadily increasing student accommodation requests.
The space serves as an example of how UAFS strives for the betterment and success of all students. The new SDS office can accommodate up to 10 students who have physical, emotional, or learning disabilities and are registered with SDS. The office will be home to a dedicated testing area where students will have a place to feel comfortable, familiar, and secure – maximizing each student’s opportunity for academic success. At peak times, more students will be able to test in the new space, with overflow going to the Academic Support Center.
“This move reflects the institution’s global commitment to students and our desire
to remove barriers and connect students with essential resources,” Dr. Blake Johnson,
Assistant Provost for Student Success and Retention, explained. “The increase in visibility
will lead to improved access and compliance, but it will also hopefully reduce some
of the stigma that, at times, gets associated with accommodations. These students
complete the same degrees and demonstrate the same high-level competencies as every
other student; we’re ensuring they have the access and support they need to function
at their best.”
Any UAFS student, whether enrolled on campus, online, or in concurrent courses in high school, can utilize the accommodations and space if they are registered with the SDS office.
After registering with the SDS office, student accommodations include more available test times, more private space to spread out, a social area for students to meet, study, or relax when needed, but most importantly, the room is a quiet place for students to be comfortable and be themselves.
Dana Andreassen, SDS director, explained, “It’s going to help students feel like they have more of a place on this campus. I hope it gives students a sense of belonging and a safe space where they won’t feel judged.”
As university leadership evaluated the growing needs of students, the result was the new SDS space, improved testing functions, and investment into the program. Andreassen said she is excited about what the new space offers UAFS students. She is grateful for the university to “acknowledge them and be willing to spend money to give them a place to feel comfortable.”
The benefits of SDS also extend beyond the classroom. An updated Faculty Handbook for Disability Services outlines the benefits as providing Andreassen and her staff more time to attend campus events to make the office more visible to students, engage faculty and staff with more professional development, work with UAFS Housing and Dining to review their accommodations, and to continue to make UAFS proactively compliant with regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The SDS space can be accessed Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Testing does need to be scheduled in advance with the office, a week in advance, if possible, but a minimum of three days prior. Students can apply for accommodations at any time during the semester. If you have questions about ADA Services at UAFS, contact Andreassen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (479)788-7577 to schedule an ADA intake meeting.
The UAFS Office of Marketing and Communications fields all media inquiries for the university. Email Rachel.Putman@uafs.edu for more information.Send an Email
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Rachel Rodemann Putman
- Director of Strategic Communications