Disability Support Services

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary offers support services for all students who qualify under the ADAAA/Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Dean of Students is the Disability Services Coordinator. If you have questions regarding Disability accommodations, please contact Student Life Services at 978-646-4071.

Accommodations Policy

The seminary is in compliance with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The following policy statement describes the procedures the seminary will follow in accommodating persons with disabilities.

1. It is the student’s responsibility, after being informed of admission, to inform the institution through Student Life Services of his or her disability and of the need for accommodation. Such disclosure of need should be done as soon as possible so that the seminary can make necessary plans, with at least four weeks notification, as a minimum, requested. Please complete the Request for Accommodations (RAF) form

2. A student having a disability requiring accommodation must provide the seminary with current and relevant documentation from a specialist certified to diagnose the particular disability.

3. Acceptable sources of documentation for substantiating a student’s disability and request for particular accommodations can take a variety of forms. Please click here to see sources and forms of documentation.

4. Documentation requirements vary by situation. The Disability Services Coordinator will talk to the student about documentation during the initial conversation. No student should delay meeting with the DSC out of concern for not having appropriate paperwork.

5. Documentation must be submitted to Student Life Services prior to the first class for which the student is requesting accommodation. Student Life Services will keep the documentation in the student's permanent file.

6. A formal meeting must be scheduled between the student seeking accommodations and the DSC to collaboratively explore previous educational experiences, past use of accommodations, and what has been effective and ineffective in providing access.

7. The DSC, in consultation with the Assistant Registrar, faculty members and student, will determine reasonable accommodation in each particular case and for each class. A formal Disability Accommodation Plan will be drafted and disseminated to all necessary parties.

8. Prior to the start of each following semester, the student must contact Student Life Services in writing to ensure the DAP is shared with the relevant faculty member(s) for each particular class.

9. On the first day of any given class, the student must also notify his or her professor that a disability exists which will require accommodation.

10. The faculty member(s) may request that Student Life Services provide a copy of the documentation describing the disability.


Information for Students with Food Allergies

Students with food allergies should complete the Gordon-Conwell Food Allergy Policy and submit it to Dining Services.

Information for Students Regarding Service and Emotional Support Animals

Students with disabilities needing information about the accommodation of a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal (ESA) should read the Gordon-Conwell Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy and Agreement available via the housing webpage. Students should contact the Housing Office at 978-646-4061 if they wish to request an application packet.
 

Sources and Forms of Documentation

Gordon-Conwell has adopted the best practice policies recommended by the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). Acceptable sources of documentation for substantiating a student’s disability and request for particular accommodations can take a variety of forms:
  • Primary Documentation: Student’s Self-report

The student is a vital source of information regarding how he or she may be “limited by impairment.” A student’s narrative of his or her experience of disability, barriers, and effective and ineffective accommodations is an important tool which, when structured by interview or questionnaire and interpreted, may be sufficient for establishing disability and a need for accommodation. Gordon-Conwell captures this information in the Request for Accommodations Form (RAF).

  • Secondary Documentation: Observation and Interaction

The impressions and conclusions formed by higher education disability professionals during interviews and conversations with students or in evaluating the effectiveness of previously implemented or provisional accommodations are important forms of documentation. Experienced disability professionals should feel comfortable using their observations of students’ language, performance, and strategies as an appropriate tool in validating student narrative and self-report. Gordon-Conwell captures this information through an in-person interview.

  • Tertiary Documentation: Information From External or Third Parties 

Documentation from external sources may include educational or medical records, reports and assessments created by health care providers, school psychologists, or teachers, or the educational system. This information is inclusive of documents that reflect education and accommodation history, such as Individual Education Program (IEP), Summary of Performance (SOP), and teacher observations. External documentation will vary in its relevance and value depending on the original context, credentials of the evaluator, the level of detail provided, and the comprehensiveness of the narrative. However, all forms of documentation are meaningful and should be mined for pertinent information.