Creating Accessible Learning Environments

St. Kate’s values diversity of all kinds, and considers disability another aspect of diversity. It’s our goal to address barriers to full participation in the academic and co-curricular experience—online and on our two campuses.

Students meet with our staff to plan appropriate accommodations and identify campus and community resources that may be beneficial. The process is flexible and guided by each student's history, experiences and disability documentation. If you are a prospective student, contact Disability Resources staff early in your college planning.

Disability Resources staff have experience working with students impacted by many conditions, such as learning disabilities, chronic medical issues, ADD/ADHD, traumatic brain injury, psychiatric conditions, Autism spectrum disorders, hearing and vision impairments and more.


Resources and Support for Students with Disabilities

The services and accommodations through Disability Resources are individualized and determined on a case-by-case basis.

These services may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Classroom accommodations
  • Test accommodations
  • Access to books and other course materials in an alternative format
  • Weekly meetings with Disability Resources staff
  • Sign language interpreters
  • Use of assistive technology
  • Clinical accommodation planning
  • Referral to campus and community resources
  • Disability accommodations for resident students
  • Screening for learning disabilities and ADD/ADHD

How to Access Services

The first step to working with Disability Resources is to contact our office to schedule an initial meeting. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with Disability Resources.

All students are welcome to discuss their academic concerns with Disability Resources.


After your consultation, appropriate disability information and verification will be gathered from healthcare providers using these forms. Your past academic experiences, records of past accommodations and services used in high school or at another college/university will be considered, along with formal documentation, letters from healthcare, education or service providers.

Once documented information has been received, you will work with staff to collaborate on appropriate accommodations and resources for each course. You will receive accommodation letters to distribute to faculty members, and it is your responsibility to deliver them if you want to use the recommended accommodations. We encourage you to talk with faculty members about the accommodations and their implementation.

You are welcome to consult with Disability Resources staff at any time regarding accommodation issues, problem-solving or any other concerns.

Providing Access and Equal Opportunity

An accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, job, activity, or facility that enables a qualified student with a disability to have an equal opportunity.

Accommodations are determined through conversation between the student and Disability Resources. Each individual student and each class may require different accommodations. The accommodations must be reasonable and cannot fundamentally alter the nature of the course.

Accommodation is both a practice and a value at St. Catherine University.

We embrace a culture of learning that drives our students, faculty, and staff to discover, acquire, and apply knowledge, and we welcome all without distinction in the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

Therefore, it has always been our goal to address barriers to full participation in the academic and co-curricular experience – both on campus and online — as we learn of them.

Any student who needs an accommodation may meet with St. Kate’s Disability Resources staff in the O’Neill Center to plan appropriate accommodations and identify campus and community resources that may be beneficial. The services and accommodations through Disability Resources are individualized and guided by each student's history, experiences and disability documentation. Each individual student and each class may require different accommodations. The accommodations must be reasonable and cannot fundamentally alter the nature of the course.

Below are some typical accommodations—the list is not exhaustive as accommodations are individually determined.

  • Alternate Format Reading Materials — Students whose disability impacts their reading may request course reading materials (textbooks, handouts, syllabus, lab manuals) in an accessible format. Examples of alternative formats are Braille, enlarged text, and text in audible format. We can also scan texts into electronic formats to be used with the Kurzweil reading software program.
  • Classroom Notetaking — If students' disabilities interfere with their ability to take effective notes for class, a notetaker may be requested. Another student in the class is selected and paid to provide a copy of lecture or lab notes for the student with a disability. The notes are intended to supplement the notes of the student, who must be in attendance and participating in the class for which the notes were taken.
  • Alternative testing — Students may need a distraction-reduced testing environment or extended time for exams. We also offer taped or Brailled exams, use of adaptive equipment such as a computer, screen reader or text enlarger and alternative test dates.
  • Interpreters, CART services and Assistive Listening Systems for Deaf/Hard of Hearing students
  • Preferential seating
  • Housing Accommodations
  • Clinical or fieldwork Accommodations
  • Assistive Technology—this includes Kurzweil 3000, Dragon Naturally Speaking, JAWS, Zoomtext, and Smart Pens.

These services are available once you are registered with the Disability Resources Office. For additional assistance, please contact us.

Disability Accommodations for Residence Halls

It is our goal to ensure all students are provided the opportunity to participate fully in the residential experience at St. Catherine University. Students requesting disability accommodations for the residence hall will work with Disability Resources staff. Request forms and verification forms should be directed to the Disabilities Resources office in the O'Neill Center. Disability Resources staff will then partner with Residence Life to find the best housing solutions for each student.

Process

  1. Student Statement for disability accommodations for residence halls—This is for you to fill out and return it to Disability Resources by March 1 for current students and June 1 for new students. We cannot guarantee preferred space outside of these deadlines. This is the first step in requesting residence hall accommodations.
  2. Verification Form for disability accommodations for residence halls—This is for your medical provider to fill out. When a student’s disability and/or requested accommodation is not readily apparent, verification from a reliable third-party (e.g., physician, psychologist, or other medical professional) must be provided.
  3. Consult with Disability Resources to assess the need for additional information.
  4. Disability Resources and Residence Life will make accommodation plans in conjunction with the student.

Please send your forms to:

St. Catherine University, Disability Resources
Mail Station #4152
2004 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105

Fax: 651.690.6718

Disability Accommodations for Residence Halls—Emotional Support Animal

The following steps must be completed prior to bringing an emotional support animal on campus:

  1. Read and fully understand the Emotional Support Animal Policies.

  2. Provide the following four pieces of information to Disability Resources
  3. Schedule an appointment with Disability Resources.
  4. After you've met with Disability Resources and they've completed verification, they will contact Residence Life to continue the process.
  5. Schedule a meeting with Residence Life to discuss and complete the Residence Life Housing Agreement Addendum for a student with Emotional Support Animals. Please bring your Emotional Support Animal Roommate Agreement Form and email a picture of your animal to residencelife@stkate.edu.
  6. Once you arrive on campus, the animal must have a visible ID tag on its collar.

For questions or additional information contact the disability resources office at 651.690.6563.

Current Students

If you are a current student and you already have approval for an emotional support animal your documentation will be valid for their entire length of your animal stay, unless or until your needs have changed. If you are seeking approval for a different animal, new verification will need to be completed. Current students whose requests have been approved will be contacted in March and early April to select specific accommodations before general room selection.

 

Depending on the needs of the student, we can either scan a textbook onto a disk or send a textbook out to be taped. This process is governed by copyright law, and it generally takes about two weeks.

Additionally, the documentation must be based on medical, psychiatric or psycho-educational diagnosis provided by a licensed professional impacting the ability to maintain focus on printed material compromising reading rate and/or comprehension.*

Policies

  • The student must request their text to be provided in an alternative format in a timely manner
  • The student must provide either the textbook or proof of payment for the textbook
  • The textbook must be required by a course in which the student is registered
  • Students will have access to their Kurzweill 3000 account while they are actively working with Disability Resources

In order to provide appropriate accommodations, Disability Resources will need information about how your disability impacts you as a learner. For example, does the disability affect your ability to read, write, communicate, participate in ‘discussions,’ attend meetings, utilize technology, etc.? You may want to provide us with additional information regarding assistive technology, auxiliary aids or services that have previously proven effective in the on-line/hybrid environment.

Follow the procedure outlined above in “How to Access Services.” Please don’t delay contacting our office if you have concerns about ‘appropriate’ documentation. Your past academic experiences, records of past accommodations and services used in high school or at another college/university will be considered along with formal documentation, letters from healthcare, education or service providers.

Our Privacy, Grievance and Conduct Policies

All disability-related information including documentation, correspondence, and accommodation records are considered confidential. Access to disability-related information within St. Catherine University is on a need-to-know basis and only for the purpose of assuring equal access or reasonable accommodations. Student Disability Resources will not release disability records or other information to any outside entity. Students may request for information to be released to specific persons or agencies by signing a Release of Information form.

All students, including students with disabilities, are subject to the St. Catherine University Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is in University Policies and applies to all University environments.

If a student has a concern about a disability-related issue or feels that she/he has experienced discrimination because of a disability, there are both internal and external channels for addressing the complaint. The University strongly encourages the use of an informal complaint resolution process for all students.

In this process, the student is encouraged to speak directly to the faculty, staff member, or student involved in the issue or concern. If this is not possible, the student may continue the process by talking to a department chair, a supervisor, a staff member from a disabilities resources office, or the assistant dean of students.

If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved, the student should use the University’s formal grievance process. This process is described in detail in University Policies, and the student should consult the appropriate sections for academic and non-academic grievances.

Collaborating with Disability Resources

Faculty play a crucial role in providing access for students with disabilities and in welcoming these students to the college campus. The Disability Resources staff are here to assist faculty and staff as well as students.