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 throughout the GTU 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 and throughout the GTU. In particular, it addresses a student’s ability to fulfill degree and certificate course and program requirements. The policy does cover GTU library use, student advising, SKSM/GTU classroom activities and requirements, and program exams, and capstone experiences or projects. It does not address extracurricular events sponsored by SKSM or GTU member institutions, 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 consortium-wide resource to develop expertise, provide information and consultation, and answer questions. The DRO may, as needed, request assistance from the Students with Disabilities Program staff at UCB to verify accommodation eligibility and recommend accommodation options.
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 form is available on the SKSM website). The student needs to include official written documentation with the form from a professional who has the credentials and expertise to diagnosis the student’s condition. 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. They should also be aware that additional time may be required for the DRO to collaborate with UCB on the verification and recommended accommodations process.
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 both within SKSM and across the GTU 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. The DRO may consult with UCB’s Students with Disabilities Program and their section 504 compliance officer for advice on ways to resolve the conflict with the faculty member. 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.
Rev. Dr. Christopher Schelin, Dean of Students, Disability Resource Officer