Gateway Community College Uses Accommodate to Better Serve Students with Disabilities

 In Disability Services

Situation

The office of Student Accessibility Services at Gateway Community College was running on a paper-based system to manage student accommodation requests. Staff members often struggled to locate records and communicate student information to other department and campus employees. In-office traffic was also an issue, as students had to come in to request or make changes to their accommodations. Additionally, the staff had no way to track when their most recent interaction with a student was other than by referencing the case notes, which were inconsistent and would not contain all the information necessary for follow-up. These processes were very inefficient and time-consuming for students and staff members alike.

“It’s virtually impossible to misfile or lose any information with Symplicity products, especially Accommodate”

Ron Chomicz,
Learning Disability Specialist

Solution

Gateway Community College implemented Accommodate in 2013, becoming the first community college in the state to adopt the system. The new accommodation system allowed for easier tracking of a student’s record and his or her interactions with the Student Accessibility Services office. Whenever a student met with a counselor, whether in person or over the phone, the staff member would enter the notes from their discussion directly into the student’s online profile. This allowed for more seamless communication between campus employees over student accommodations and freed time for the staff members to focus on the most challenging cases.

By embedding technology into its workflows, Student Accessibility Services provided the students with an easier and seamless way to request their accommodations. The time of an initial intake appointment, traditionally an hour long, was cut in half.

Success

Since launching Accommodate, the office of Student Accessibility Services has stored its student accommodation requests online and has rid itself of many of its filing cabinets. The new system allows the office to serve its students better and gives the staff more autonomy to handle specific student requests. Accommodate helped the office build trust among the students and the university community who view it as their first destination for student accommodations.

Once the staff at the Student Accessibility Services office realized how easily its accommodation process had become since Accommodate, they quickly wanted to spread the word to other community colleges and universities in the state that faced similar challenges. Ron Chomicz and Samantha Kusiak, both Learning Disability Specialists at the school, even presented a demo of the platform to other community colleges during their statewide meeting. During the demo, they highlighted how other schools can find success with Accommodate and how it can help provide better service to the student population.

“It really is a blessing to have the ability to not only look at documentation online, but to also look at case notes. It’s all right there!”

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