Academic Support Services
Disability Accommodations Policy
Pitzer College complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended, and other applicable state and federal law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Conditions potentially covered by the law include, among other things, AIDS, Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes, Epilepsy, head injuries, hearing impairments, specific learning disabilities, loss of limbs, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, psychiatric disorders, speech impairments, spinal cord injuries, and visual impairments.
During the admission process, each applicant is evaluated on the basis of academic achievement and their potential to satisfy Pitzer's rigorous academic standards. Applicants are not admitted to a modified program of study. Once a student with a disability has been accepted to Pitzer College, he or she should contact the Associate Dean of Students and provide documentation of the disability if accommodations are desired. For all students wishing to be accommodated for disabilities, students are required to provide a recent professional evaluation which identifies the disability, describes the challenges to participation in college life the student faces due to the condition, and recommendations for specific accommodations. All documentation must contain the name, title, and professional credentials of the evaluator. All reports should be on letterhead, typed, dated, and signed, and should include information about what tests and/or records were used to make the determinations.
In the case of learning disabilities or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, the Associate Dean in Student Affairs will discuss the documentation Pitzer requires in order to grant academic accommodations and where such documentation can be obtained if the student has not already obtained it. When documentation of specific learning disorders or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is provided, the Associate Dean of Students may consult with Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services when needed. The student should request accommodations for each semester the accommodations are desired. Accommodations are only provided on a semester-by-semester basis. Additionally, students should request accommodations two weeks in advance of when they believe they will need them. This advance time is often crucial in order to provide the most appropriate and necessary accommodation. Failure to do so may result in an inability on the part of the College to provide requested assistance in a timely manner. Accommodations are not retroactive. Instructors must be allowed one week after receiving the accommodation request, to implement the accommodations.
The student's faculty members and the Faculty advisors are notified via the academic portal of the approved academic accommodations. At the student's request faculty members and the Dean of Students at another Claremont consortium college will be notified via email if the student is taking coursework through cross-registration. Students with disabilities from other Claremont consortium colleges who are taking coursework at Pitzer through cross-registration should contact Pitzer's Office of Student Affairs Academic Support Services and request that the office obtain their accommodation-related records from the student's home college. In the event of such a student request, and to the extent not already obtained, the Office of Student Affairs Academic Support Services will request that the student's home college provide Pitzer and the student's faculty members at Pitzer with 1) certification that the student is an individual with a disability who is entitled to academic accommodation, 2) certification that the student has previously presented documentation to establish the student's status as above, and 3) a description of the accommodations that have been and are being provided by the home college.
The requested accommodations should maintain the academic integrity of the courses and the academic program as a whole while attempting to meet the student's needs. Pitzer College does not routinely waive academic requirements for students with disabilities. Rather, our policy is to assist the student in his or her efforts to meet Pitzer requirements by making reasonable accommodations.
As additional support, the Office of Student Affairs Academic Support Services will discuss resources available to students, such as Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services, Academic Coaches, Writing Center and peer tutoring program.
Adjustments, auxiliary aids, and support services are arranged case by case in a highly individualized manner, based on need as supported by the documentation.
- • Accommodations for hearing impairments can include FM system, note takers and/or photocopies of lecture notes, written assignments, lab instructions, and demonstration summaries.
- • Accommodations for visual impairment include seating near the front of the class, large print handouts, class assignments made available in electronic format, living space sufficient to accommodate students, and computer equipment to enlarge screen characters and images.
- • Accommodations for psychiatric disabilities can include note takers, extended time on exams and/or a private test area, a reduced course load, and assistive technology.
Students whose disability may cause frequent absences from class must provide the Office of Student Affairs Office Academic Support Services with documentation supportive of the possibility of frequent absences and make an appointment to discuss this matter with the Associate Dean of Students as soon as possible.
Disability related absences may be caused by conditions such as exacerbation of symptoms of the disability, reaction to prescribed medication, weather, or failure of transportation; however, this should not be construed as an all-inclusive list.
Reasonable accommodations for such absences may include, but are not limited to, flexibility of class attendance policy, extension of time for assigned work, and flexibility in making up missed assignments and tests. (Such accommodations, however, are solely at the discretion of the faculty are not unlimited in scope and must be applied in consideration with what are considered the fundamental requirements and attendance policy for the course.)
Upon receipt of the documentation, the Office of Student Affairs Academic Support Services will serve as the liaison and advocate for the student discussing with the faculty member the disability related absences and possible accommodations. Students will be expected to assume responsibility for providing notification of absence and for making up missed assignments and exams. Although your absence may be related to your disability (exceptions may be granted on a case by case basis) however, you are still required to comply with Pitzer College's add, drop, withdraw and leave of absence policies as stated in the college catalog.
What is Academic Coaching?
Working hard in high school does not always prepare you for the pace, volume and complexity of a Pitzer College education. Academic coaching is one way to personalize your Pitzer education and help you stay on track academically. Unlike your academic adviser who works with you to plan your course curriculum and how you can best meet requirements to earn your degree; an academic coach focuses on helping you with learning strategies and life management skills which, in turn, contribute to you successfully managing academic demands.
Academic coaching is a working partnership between a professional coach and Pitzer student that focuses on the process of learning. Students are able to examine their learning styles, habits with school work, current difficulties or barriers to success, as well as things they do well. Academic coaching relates to strategic thinking, problem solving, and learning to work effectively with others. Some examples on how an academic coach can assist students include:
• Establishing and maintaining daily schedules and routines
• Strategies for organizational management and prioritizing
• Support through decision making processes
• Exam preparation and test-taking strategies
Who is the program for?
• Students who want and need support in order to achieve success at Pitzer College
• Students referred by a dean, advisor or professor
• Students with disabilities
Advantages for Students with Disabilities
With the nature of many disabilities, learning can be uneven over time. Whether students experience visual impairments, hearing loss, ADHD, learning disabilities, chronic or temporary health conditions, there are times when students are less able to be fully present to learn certain strategies and skills or take reasoning and problem solving to higher levels. These times of less optimal learning can create what later appear as gaps in learning or functioning. When students attempt to navigate college courses requiring these skill areas (which may be weak), they can experience significantly higher levels of stress and doubt their capacity to thrive academically in college.
How do I access the program?
Go to the online form and complete the online request.
The Office of Student Affairs Academic Support Services is committed to providing services to Students with Disabilities and ensuring that all information regarding a student is maintained as CONFIDENTIAL as required by law. Any information collected is used for the benefit of determining and providing reasonable accommodations.
To protect confidentiality by assuring limited access, all disability related information must be filed with Office of Student Affairs Academic Support Services.
Information received will not be released except in accordance with federal and state laws, which require release in the following circumstances if a student:
- • States they intend to harm themselves or another person(s);
- • Reports or describes any physical abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of children or vulnerable adults within the last three years (this includes the occurrence of abuse or neglect to the student if he or she was under age eighteen at the time of the abuse);
- • Reports the use of an illegal drug for nonmedical purpose during pregnancy; or
- • Reports or describes sexual exploitation by counseling or healthcare professionals.
Please read the description of the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act in the College catalog.
A student may give written authorization for the release of information when she or he wishes to share it with others. Before giving such authorization, the student should understand the information being released, the purpose of the release, and to whom the information is being released. Information will not be released without consent unless it is required by federal or state law. (Release of Information form)
If a student is refused an accommodation that he/she believes is necessary, the student may take his or her concerns to the Associate Dean of Students. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Dean of Students can review the original request. Additionally, students may take allegations of discrimination to one of the appropriate College's academic/judicial committees.
According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, ADD/ADHD is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that manifests itself in academic, occupational, and/or social situations. In order to be considered a disability, the disorder must meet the definitions provided by applicable law. The assessor should be qualified to conduct such assessments. Documentation may be obtained from family and general physicians or psychiatrists. Please be sure that your assessor has experience in the field of adult Attention Deficit Disorders. The Office of Student Affairs Academic Support Service Office and Monsour can also provide you with information about professionals in the local area who can conduct evaluations.
Please provide a copy of a recent professional evaluation (within the past three years) that discusses past and present symptoms. Your documentation should identify the disability, describe the limitations caused by the disability, and, if possible, it should recommend accommodations to be provided. The documentation should include information about the onset, longevity, and severity of the symptoms, including specific information about how the disability has interfered with educational achievement.
If applicable, the report should cover medical history relating to the current use of medication and the impact of the medication on the student's ability to meet the demands of the academic program.
Useful sources of information for diagnosis of ADHD include: childhood data (report cards, prior evaluations, interviews with parents, student's recollections, parent and/or teacher ratings or recollections); current functioning (ratings by student and parents); and psychological testing (IQ data, personality testing, and neuropsychological testing, if warranted). The report must include information about the tests and methods used to make the diagnosis. This information is confidential and will not be released to others without the student's permission. Reports may be shared with Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services, to determine appropriate accommodations as needed. Accommodations for ADHD include notetakers, alternative exam formats, including extended time and a private test area, part-time enrollment, and registration asistance.
Learning disabilities include a group of disorders characterized by difficulties in listening, reading, speaking, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. In order for it to be considered a disability, the disorder must meet the definitions provided by applicable law. For learning disabilities, the tester providing the assessment must be qualified to do so. When choosing a diagnostician, please make sure the assessor has experience in the field of adult learning disabilities. Assessment instruments should be valid and reliable for adult students. Typically, licensed psychologists or neuropsychologists are involved in the process of assessment. The Dean of Students' Office and Monsour can also provide recommendations about professionals in the area who are qualified to conduct such assessments.
Testing must be comprehensive. Domains to be addressed must include:
- 1. Aptitude (e.g., Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, III; Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery- Revised)
- 2. Achievement (e.g, Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery-Revised, test of Achievement; Stanford Test of Academic Skills; Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults; Test of Written Language-2; Woodcock Reading Mastery Test- Revised)
- 3. Information Processing (e.g., Short and Long Term Memory; Sequential Memory; Auditory and Visual Perception/Processing; Processing Speed, as assessed by use of the WAIS III or Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability)
Testing must be current. In most cases, this means within the past three years. There must be clear and specific evidence of a learning disability.
The documentation should include information regarding the onset, longevity, and severity of the symptoms, as well as the specifics describing how it has interfered with educational achievement. Names of the specific tests given and test score/data should be included. Additionally, reports should include a summary of the student's educational, medical, and family histories that may be relevant to the learning disability. This summary should demonstrate that the student's difficulties are not the result of other factors like sensory impairment, serious emotional disturbance, cultural differences, or insufficient instruction. If possible, reports should include recommendations for accommodations. This information is confidential and will not be released to others without the student's permission. Reports may be shared as needed with Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services, to determine appropriate accommodations.
For learning disabilities, possible accommodations include notetakers, proofreaders, alternative exam formats (e.g., extended time, oral rather than written exams), an opportunity for students to petition to substitute course work required for graduation, readers, transcription services, part-time enrollment and registration assistance.
A mental disability normally will be listed in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The latest version, published in 2000, is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders IV Text Revision. Not all diagnoses qualify as a disability. The condition must be a mental or psychological condition that meets the definitions of applicable law. A written statement from a qualified, licensed medical professional such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, or qualified MD should be provided.
The diagnosis that the medical professional provides must be current, and should include the following data: DSM IV diagnosis across all axes, date of diagnosis and last office visit, the assessment or evaluation procedures used to make this diagnosis, a description of the major symptoms of the disorder currently manifested by the student, including level of severity, any medications prescribed and possible side-effects, a description of the functional limitations imposed by the disorder, and the current prognosis for the student.
Students are also asked to provide documentation which describes the disability and recommends accommodations to be provided. The documentation should include information regarding the onset, longevity and severity of the symptoms, as well as the specifics describing the impact of the disability on the student's academic performance. This information is confidential and will not be released to others without the student's permission.
The staff of Monsour Counseling and Psychological Services is qualified to provide the required documentation. In addition, the Associate Dean of Students can refer you to many qualified individuals in the Claremont area who can evaluate you, as well.
Accommodations can include note takers, extended time on exams and/or a private test area, a reduced course load, and assistive technology.
Pitzer College is committed to making the campus accessible. Students who are concerned about accessibility should make these concerns known as soon as possible. Students seeking accommodations for mobility impairments should present documentation from a qualified medical professional, and this professional should include information about the diagnosis and how it was reached. The Associate Dean will work with the student to determine appropriate housing and classroom assignments and other accommodations.
For individuals with visual impairments or low vision, appropriate documentation includes the results of a visual examination from a qualified medical professional such as an ophthalmologist. The Office of Student Affairs Academic Support Services can provide note-takers, audio recordings of lectures and other material, or special software. Students may choose options such as sitting near the front of the class, receiving large print handouts, getting class assignments in electronic format, or using computer equipment to enlarge screen characters and images. The College will work with the individual student to create appropriate accommodations.
The College is committed to working with students to create appropriate course scheduling options and housing options in light of the student's needs. For the above disabilities, information documenting the onset, longevity, and severity of the symptoms, as well as specifics describing how the disability has created challenges for educational achievement is necessary.
Physical impairments refer to physiological disorders or conditions affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, immunological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitor-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine. Chronic illnesses include, but are not limited to, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, epilepsy, human immunodeficiency virus, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, allergies, and other diseases. In order to be considered a disability, the disorder(s), conditions, or chronic illness must meet the definitions provided by applicable law.
The professional (e.g., physician, nurse practitioner, physician's assistant) who provides the assessment must be qualified to do so. Students must provide a recent professional evaluation which identifies the disability, describes the limitations caused by this condition, and, if possible, recommends accommodations that should be provided. The documentation should include information about the onset, longevity, and severity of the symptoms, in addition to how it has created challenges for educational achievement. This information is confidential and will not be released to others without the student's permission.
Student Health Services may be able to provide appropriate documentation for you. In addition, they may be able to refer you to off campus clinicians who are qualified to conduct appropriate assessments.
In some cases, special dietary arrangements can be made with dining services, and students can work with the Associate Dean of Students to create appropriate course scheduling options or housing options in light of the student's needs.
Personal Care Attendants
Personal Care Attendants (PCA's), individuals who provide assistance with personal needs and activities of daily living, to persons with disabilities are the responsibility of the student with a disability. The student must assume responsibility for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, and paying his/her personal care attendant.
Students who require the assistance of a PCA should meet with the Associate Dean of Students to discuss specific needs and requirements.
Waivers and Substitutions of Requirements
Inquiries regarding a waiver or substation of an Educational Objective and/or a requirement in the student's major should be directed to your Academic Advisor and/or the Dean of Faculty's Office. In either case, faculty would be deliberating over whether the waiver or substitution seriously compromises the academic goals and the integrity of the program involved. Please refer to the Pitzer College Course Catalog regarding Educational Objectives and Guidelines for Graduation.
Your College experience can be positively impacted if you choose intervention techniques such as tutoring. Tutoring assistance is provided free of charge to Pitzer students. Peer tutoring is available on a regular basis or drop-in-basis throughout the academic year. Peer tutors are properly trained to help students in mastering their areas of difficulty. Students may receive assistance in study techniques, content area reading, note-taking, test-wise strategies, problem-solving and communication skills. Peer tutors are positive, enthusiastic and sincere about helping their peers.
A current list of academic workshops offered, the list of Tutors, the Language Scholars, Learning Enhancement Resources are all located on the Academic Support Sakai website. Additionally, the Pitzer College Writing Center is a great resource for those needing help with the writing process.
- • Individual Tutoring: One-on-one tutoring is provided by qualified Pitzer students of advanced standing and is available for most classes. You can meet with your tutor during regular open hours (9am to 11pm seven days a week when classes are in session)
- • Drop in Help Centers: Open to students from (9am to 11pm seven days a week when classes are in session and during finals week. Tutors are available in Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Physics, Quantitative Skills, Statistics and Writing. These tutors are scheduled most afternoons and evenings (view the schedule & location on Academic Support Sakai website) to help with homework or problem sets, analysis of lab data, writing lab reports or papers, questions about course material, and clarification of concepts throughout the semester.
- • Language Scholars: Pitzer has native speakers in the residence halls who are well-qualified and enthusiastic about helping students learn their respective language e.g. Russian, French, Spanish, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese and German (view a current list of languages offered on the Academic Support Sakai website)
- • Learning Enhancement Resources: programs & software includes; Kurzweil reading software, Zoomtext, publishing software, inspiration and turnitin writing resource tools; SPSS, REFWORKS, GFS.