Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Philosophy, Approach, Goals and Campus Responsibility
Philosophy: The Disability Resource Center (DRC) (formerly Students with Disabilities Office) views disabilities as an integral part of the rich diversity at Eastern Michigan University.
Approach: To that end, we work collaboratively with students, faculty, and staff to create an inclusive educational environment.
- To be progressive in our operations.
- To coach students creatively.
- To promote inclusiveness and successful experiences.
- To ensure compliance with university policies and federal guidelines.
The disability experience has the potential to intersect with any and every facet of the university mission, philosophy, and life. As such, our responsibility is to promote accessibility while facilitating awareness through partnerships, training, information sharing, innovative programs and human and technological resources.
In a general sense, the DRC believes that disability in and of itself is simply a personal difference, not a deficiency. The manner in which an environment is designed (class teaching and assessment styles, office policies and procedures, physical layouts, etc.) often determines the extent a person feels the impact of a disability in any given situation. For example, someone with a learning disability is written expression may recognize the impact of the disability much more in a course where essay exams constitute 100% of the grade than in a course where the final grade is derived from classroom discussion, oral presentations, and small group projects.
Because the design of an environment impacts people of all abilities in various ways, the environment should be assessed for its usability and inclusivity. Creators of each environment (classroom, office procedures, physical layouts, etc.) make design decisions that ultimately include and exclude people based on the design itself. Ideally, any classroom setting, office practice, or physical layout is proactively designed to be usable by everyone to the greatest extent possible. To accomplish this ideal, creators need to understand their target population.
Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act and EMU Board of Regents applicable policies that necessitate compliance, the DRC advocates for an accessible educational experience. In certain situations, we will recommend or require that university community members (faculty, Housing staff, Physical Plant staff, etc.) incorporate modifications in order for the educational experience to be accessible for the student. In other situations, we will inform the student that the experience is already accessible or equitable with the current practices, policies, and procedures. We do not have all the answers. Each situation is evaluated individually. Variables within the environment are critical to any situation and sometimes more so than the disability experience itself. We strive to be a resource that facilitates the collaborative effort that will lead to answers.