Students with Disabilities Policy
SKSM Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Starr King School for the Ministry aims to provide equitable access to educational opportunities and resources for all students. The Dean of Students oversees the process of requesting and accessing accommodations at Starr King and your SKSM Advisor can assist you in planning a course of study.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
This policy strives for consistent and equitable student access to educational opportunities at Starr King. In particular, it addresses a student’s ability to fulfill degree and certificate course and program requirements. The policy does cover library use, student advising, SKSM classroom activities and requirements, and program exams, and capstone experiences or projects. It does not address extracurricular events sponsored by SKSM, student housing, and administrative activities (e.g. registration, access to facilities, etc.).
The Dean of Students serves as the Disabilities Resource Officer (DRO) for SKSM. The DRO serves as a resource to develop expertise, provide information and consultation, and answer questions.
Student Request: The student is responsible for fully participating in the process and exercising due diligence to ensure that the provision of accommodations is successfully accomplished. The student with a disability who seeks accommodations with their academic work submits a request form to the DRO. The student must provide documentation that substantiates the disability diagnosis. This may take the form of:
- A statement or recent medical record provided by a qualified medical professional.
- A previous medical or educational record with relevant information, such as a past accommodation or assessment document.
- A self-report provided to the DRO during a structured interview. Starr King reserves the right to request additional documentation alongside the self-report.
The student is responsible for incurring any cost associated with the documentation.
Accommodations are not intended to give students with disabilities an unfair advantage, but to remove barriers that prevent students from learning and from demonstrating what they have learned, in the context of their formal degree or certificate program.
The Timing of a Student Request: The student with a disability should request accommodations in advance of when the accommodation is needed. The student needs to factor in the amount of time required to secure written documentation from an appropriate professional. They should recognize that the DRO has other responsibilities and requires a reasonable amount of time to integrate student requests within their workload.
Students eligible for academic accommodations will normally have their request reviewed and, if appropriate, approved no more than three weeks after submitting the request.
Decision: The DRO works to finalize accommodation options in the context of institutional resources and culture and to assure consistency and equity within SKSM as students with disabilities cross-register for courses. An accommodation is not “reasonable” if it will necessitate modifications of the essential nature of a program or activity or would place undue financial or administrative burdens on the institution.
Next, the DRO works with the student and appropriate faculty to make sure recommended accommodations can be implemented and do not compromise the academic integrity of the educational opportunity.
The DRO conveys the official decision and, if appropriate, recommended accommodations to the student by email, who then uses written confirmation to work with appropriate staff and faculty on the implementation of accommodations.
Implementation: Accommodations will apply to all educational events described in the DRO’s email for a specified period of time up to three years. Students should use the DRO’s email to work with faculty and staff to arrange accommodations as needed. Students may re-apply for accommodation should the need persist beyond the period defined in the DRO’s decision.
Appeal: The student with a disability and/or faculty involved with the student may not agree with the DRO’s decision for accommodations. If a faculty member disagrees with and/or refuses to provide the recommended accommodations, the DRO should work with the faculty member to resolve the faculty member’s concerns. If a resolution is impossible, the student with a disability can seek remedy via SKSM’s academic grievance policy.
If a student disagrees with the DRO’s decision and/or recommended accommodation, they can also appeal the decision through the academic grievance policy. Again, the DRO should work with the student first to find ways to resolve the student’s concerns.
Examples of Reasonable Accommodations
The DRO will collaborate with students and faculty to determine reasonable accommodations that do not substantially alter the school curriculum or impose an undue institutional burden. Accommodations at Starr King have included:
- Extra time to complete assignments
- Substitution of oral exams, audiovisual recordings, or creative projects in lieu of written assignments
- Access to recordings of synchronous class sessions for review
- Allowance for physical therapy breaks during class sessions
Rev. Dr. Christopher Schelin, Dean of Students, Disability Resource Officer