A series of surveys put out by Students with Disability Services are taking a look at the department’s services and the student body’s knowledge of these services.
Additionally, with more programs focused on helping minorities and understanding the struggles they go through being developed both at USF and colleges in general, Students with Disability Services (SDS) is looking at joining in to represent students with visible and invisible disabilities.
“SDS created the surveys to learn the perceptions of accessibility & SDS services on USF’s campus,” said Dani Thiel, SDS coordinator and part of the team that organized the surveys. “When we talk about accessibility, we are referring to not only wheelchair ramps and elevators, but also access to equitable academic opportunities.”
The department put out four surveys, one geared toward students registered with the office, one that’s asking questions of the general student body, one asking employees and staff of their understanding and one directed at faculty that asks about how frequently they get letters of accommodations from students. All surveys ask about becoming an ally and potential interest in educational programs.
SDS is hoping to learn about the perceptions of accessibility on campus, how much students know about the services they offer — such as monitoring exams and temporary services for students with non-chronic injuries — and how accessibility could improve.
“We began brainstorming an AccessiBull training similar to the Safe Zone and UndocuALLY programs,” Thiel said. “Our goal is to create more allies and advocates for persons with disabilities at USF. To do this, we will educate participants on etiquette, stigma/barriers, disability theory, laws, accommodations and resources.”
The surveys are available through the SDS website, and Thiel said the information gathered through them will help develop an ally training curriculum and what programs the office could promote better.
“Hearing from students, staff and faculty will help shape our curriculum and ensure we are touching on the information they are seeking, as well as voicing the messages they are so graciously sharing with us,” Thiel said.