Lyon College's Journey to Excellence with Accommodate

Nestled in the small town of Batesville, Arkansas, Lyon College is a small school with a big vision. Founded in 1872, Lyon College is one of the oldest colleges in Arkansas, priding itself on its small class sizes and strong student-faculty mentorships. A small college with a student population just over 600, Lyon College supports around 80 students a semester seeking accommodations ranging from long-term disabilities, ADHD, ADD, learning disabilities, and supporting the handful of students with a chronic illness. 

A crucial part of this evolution has been its commitment to accessibility and support for students with disabilities. Under the leadership of Donald Taylor, Director of Academic Support and Accessibility, Lyon College has taken a significant step forward by implementing Symplicity Accommodate. The new system not only aligns with the college's mission of inclusive education but also represents a significant upgrade over the previous, more fragmented system of support. 

“Before we went to Accommodate, I would spend the majority of my time the first week or two of classes just producing letters, getting things out... Now, it's a couple of days. Accommodate takes those barriers away. These improvements have significantly enhanced the operational capabilities of Lyon College, allowing for a more effective allocation of resources and a better focus on student engagement and support."

 

Donald Taylor
Director of Academic Support and Accessibility, Lyon College

Getting Campus Buy-In

Taylor has a long history with Lyon, as a graduate of the institution and holding various roles at the campus. Taylor has been with the institution since 2001 and has built a long-standing relationship with campus stakeholders. As Lyon was considering updating its disability services office operation, Taylor was clear. “I told them, ‘Listen, if we are going to move the office forward, we need to adequately serve our student population,’” Taylor told Symplicity. “We didn’t have the budge to hire more staff, but we needed a software that could help us manage our needs at a much cheaper cost than if we were to add a position.”  

Seamless Integration and User-Friendly Interface 

Prior to adopting Accommodate, Lyon College was already familiar with Symplicty as the campus uses its Residence product to manage all aspects of residential life. That familiarity and integration made the decision to adopt Symplicity Accommodate for its disability services office easy, as its IT department was already familiar and Accommodate had the full functionality that Lyon College was looking for.  

Taylor describes the transition to Symplicity Accommodate as a leap from a manual, cumbersome process to a streamlined, efficient system. "We were using a Google Drive and some Google forms... I wanted something that students could access because with Google Drives it was not easy for them to access their own records," Taylor explains. The ease of integration with Lyon's existing systems, particularly the student information system Jenzabar, was a decisive factor. The simplicity and flexibility of the Form Builder within Accommodate allowed for easy modification of forms, fitting perfectly into Lyon's operational structure. 

Empowering Students and Faculty 

One of the most significant impacts of Symplicity Accommodate has been the empowerment it offers both students and faculty. Before its implementation, the process of managing accommodations was heavily manual, involving a lot of paperwork and manual communication. Now, students can easily request accommodations and manage their profiles online, reducing barriers and encouraging students to take active roles in managing their educational experiences. For faculty, the automated system for managing accommodation letters has drastically reduced administrative burdens. “It keeps me from producing manual letters which I was doing, then printing to PDF and sending to professors. Having everything automated and in one place is just a tremendous time saver," Taylor told Symplicity. 

"Before we went to Accommodate, I would spend the majority of my time the first week or two of classes just producing letters, getting things out... Now, it's a couple of days." He further highlights the benefits of this newfound efficiency: "Accommodate takes those barriers away. These improvements have significantly enhanced the operational capabilities of Lyon College, allowing for a more effective allocation of resources and a better focus on student engagement and support. 

With Accommodate, Taylor and his team are able to more directly engage with students, “Accommodate allows me more time to get to know our students personally, which many times gives me insights into what their true needs are and their true barriers that they're facing in the classrooms.” 

“Accommodate allows me more time to get to know our students personally, which many times gives me insights into what their true needs are and their true barriers that they're facing in the classrooms."

 

Donald Taylor
Director of Academic Support and Accessibility, Lyon College

Enhancing Operational Efficiency 

The efficiency brought about by Symplicity Accommodate has not only simplified processes, but also significantly freed up time for staff. This additional time has allowed Taylor and his team to engage more deeply with students, understanding their needs better and providing more personalized support. "It allows me more participation in training sessions rather than just my assistant there doing it while I'm back in the office trying to get accommodation letters out," Taylor points out. This shift has been crucial in maintaining high standards of support even as the college plans to expand with a new campus and additional academic programs.  

Future Prospects and Expansion 

Looking ahead, Lyon College sees great potential in further utilizing the features of Symplicity Accommodate. Taylor is optimistic about expanding the use of the platform to include non-academic accommodations and possibly integrating it with other campus services like career services. The possibility of extending the system's use to the new campuses and programs in Little Rock is also on the horizon. This expansion would ensure that the quality of support and accessibility that Lyon College is known for is maintained across all its offerings. 

Client Support from Day One 

Lyon College has experienced exceptional client support since implementing Accommodate, which has been integral to the successful adoption and utilization of the platform. Taylor worked with a Symplicity implementation manager who “was fabulous with training and making sure to answer every question that I could think of,” Taylor said. “They made sure that was covered, helping me set some things up that as we expand out, if we decide to use other modules. The training process was great. I had no issues whatsoever with it. 

Critical to Accommodate’ success at Lyon College has been the support of its client manager who comes from higher education. “It is important to have people that understand the terminology that the end user uses," Taylor remarked. “Our client manager is great with helping us and I do consider them a partner in our office. They’ve been fantastic!” This high level of tailored support ensures that communication is clear, issues are promptly resolved, and solutions are effectively implemented, enabling Lyon College to fully leverage the capabilities of the Accommodate platform.

Conclusion 

Lyon College's journey with Symplicity Accommodate exemplifies how technology can transform educational support services. By choosing a platform that integrates seamlessly with existing systems, enhances user empowerment, and improves operational efficiency, Lyon College has set a standard for how institutions can adapt to meet the needs of all students. As they continue to grow and evolve, the partnership with Symplicity Accommodate will undoubtedly be a cornerstone of their success. To learn more email us at info@symplicity.com.  

Learn more about how Accommodate can support your campus by hearing from more of our clients below!

 

Disability Services, Accommodation Requests, Accommodations, Accommodate, Mental Health Support, Americans with Disabilities Act, Learning Disability, student support

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