The Disability Resource Center partners with students who have disabilities and offers guidance, services and resources to help students gain access, fully participate and succeed at NIU.
“Our office works to provide reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students and the campus community,” Debra Miller, director of the Disabilities Resource Center, said. “Things like exam accommodations, classroom, housing and dining accommodations, reformatting of course materials and adaptive technology are a few of the accommodations we offer.”
A team of access consultants are available to assist students throughout their NIU career, from registering with the center to deciding what accommodations are needed in each course.
“The Disability Resource Center has helped me in so many ways,” Walter J. Elenz III, an undergraduate student from the College of Business, said. “I was once scared that I would never graduate; now after their help I will hopefully be graduating in May, 2020.”
Miller said the Disability Resource Center’s mission is to create an accessible and inclusive learning environment where disability is recognized as an aspect of diversity in the campus community. In order to ensure the best possible outcome, students must self-disclose their need for accommodations and meet with an access consultant as soon as possible.
“It’s important to discuss barriers that may be impacting their experience at NIU early on,” Miller said. “Students may also need to provide medical documentation of disability so the appropriate accommodations can be developed during the interactive process.”
With a goal of promoting self-advocacy and communication skills, Miller and her team focus on helping students create collaborative relationships with faculty and staff.
“Faculty are integral to supporting students who are eligible for accommodations in the classroom,” Miller said. “We work with faculty and department staff so accommodations are understood and implemented for student access and success.”
Accessibility is a work-in-progress on most college campuses, and NIU is no different. With a student-first approach, Huskies continue to make positive strides.
“At NIU we respond to student, faculty, staff, and community needs as they arise,” Miller said. “We also work proactively to provide access and work collaboratively with our NIU Accessibility Office and the Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities.”