As part of its continued efforts to ensure that students who require accommodation do not fall behind, Ryerson’s Academic Accommodation Support (AAS) recently invited instructors to attend a workshop aimed at creating equitable and accessible learning opportunities for students with disabilities.
During the workshop, AAS revealed that over 2,000 students registered for academic accommodation last year, and of that, 30 per cent came in for mental health reasons. Statistics also show that 70 percent of the student population that applied for accommodation had an invisible disability that includes learning disabilities or mental illness.
AAS manager Marc Edmond says the organization has both short– and long-term goals for fostering academic inclusion.
“(Short-term goals include) optimizing our online services application so students and faculty can more smoothly access needed information to implement accommodation plans,” said Edmond.
Edmond also said that the centre plans to work closely with faculty to develop and share more resources.
As for long-term goals, the AAS will collaborate with “stakeholders to research and implement ways to support students with disabilities’ transition into the workforce and into graduate studies,” said Edmond.
“This is a workshop we’ve been running through the Learning and Teaching Office, as part of their Graduate Student Professional Development in Teaching Program.”
Edmond says that AAS “is focused on working with students and faculty to ensure each student’s individualized accommodation plan runs smoothly.”
AAS also reminded attendees that students requiring academic accommodation can visit the fourth floor of Ryerson’s new Student Learning Centre, which is home to Student Learning Support.
“It really surprised me that the main reason students seek accommodation is because of mental health,” said Pinto. “But I’m glad I know that now.”
Pinto says he is now focused on creating a more inclusive class environment.
“With a physics class, grading for participation is based mostly on attendance because we are in a lab environment, but I want to make sure all students get equal access to learning.”
Following the workshop, Pinto says he endeavours to make his classroom as accommodating an environment as possible by “welcoming students at the beginning of term to privately notify me of any accommodations they may require.”