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Writing Accommodations That are Clear and Intentional

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Writing the language for the way that disability accommodations are described in accommodations notifications to faculty is part art and part science. There is no one right way to do this, but there is certainly wording that can cause confusion or worse. When taking on a new role, some disability professionals find they have “inherited” unclear or loose descriptions. Other schools realize when implementing a new database system (AIM, Clockwork, Symplicity, etc.) that they must streamline existing descriptions or draft entirely new ones, and don’t know exactly where to start. The presenters, who have rewritten accommodation language at multiple schools over their careers, will offer a very straightforward “how to,” with issues to consider and some sample language to help ensure that accommodations are described in a clear and uniform manner. It will discuss the importance of individual institutional culture and historical context when crafting the language, so that faculty know as soon as they receive the notification what they need to implement for a student and how, thus smoothing the student’s experience, and reducing the burden on the disability office to engage in further clarification conversations. Takeaways will include basic principles for creating language, nuances and complexities to the language used, the uniqueness of clinical requests, getting the most buy in and output of institutional change, and the role different data systems play.


  • Paul Harwell

    Paul Harwell is currently the Associate Director of ADA/504 Compliance in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity at Dartmouth. Paul is nationally recognized for his work in higher education and disability. His work is grounded in the principles of civil rights and barrier removal being shared responsibilities across institutions. A 16-year higher education and disability resource professional, Paul has extensive experience supporting students, faculty, staff and public access and accommodation. He is passionate about supporting the development and growth of others and serves as a mentor to colleagues and students at Dartmouth and around the country. Currently, Paul is responsible for leadership on campus-wide disability access via policies, procedures, and training. Paul is a doctoral candidate in Higher Education Administration at Texas A&M University, with a focus on higher ed law, policy, and finance. His dissertation topic is about university faculty experiences teaching students with disabilities.

  • Mandie Griewe

    Mandie Griewe joined the Marian University community as the founding director of the Personalized Learning Center in July of 2021. Prior to becoming a Marian Knight, she has had the opportunity to work within disability offices at Purdue University, the University of Notre Dame, and Emory University over the last 10 years. Mandie enjoys having conversations with faculty, staff and students around accessibility being a shared responsibility and is working diligently to ensure that Marian University is a place where access is at the forefront. Over the last year Mandie has worked hard to support change within the campus culture, through building relationships, updating language and processes, writing policy, and getting buy-in from campus faculty, staff, and students alike.

November 8, 2022
Tue 3:30 PM EST

Duration 1H 30M

This live web event has ended.