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Disability Accommodations

PCA&D’s mission is to provide an opportunity for all its students to gain a professional-level education in the visual arts.

All students are admitted to Pennsylvania College of Art & Design on the basis of evidence and experience which indicates the potential for success in the College’s professional programs. PCA&D does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students with disabilities in its admissions procedures or educational programs.

Although colleges are required to provide reasonable accommodations as necessary, ADA laws do not require the provision of devices or services of a personal nature including tutoring, coaching, training, devices for personal use or study, personal attendants, and other related services.

The ADA and
Accommodations
Support Team

Contact the PCA&D team with questions and/or submission of documentation

Maria Provencher
Maria Provencher

Dean of Students

Pennsylvania College of Art & Design      
204 N. Prince Street Lancaster, PA 17603
717.396.7833
ada@pcad.edu

How to request disability accommodations

1

starting the process

After acceptance to the College, students with present disabilities who plan to request academic or other accommodations must identify themselves to PCA&D’s ADA and Accommodations Support Team by submitting the request form. All records concerning disability accommodations are kept confidential by the team.

2

gathering Documentation

Students requesting accommodations must demonstrate that they are qualified students with current disabilities entitled to reasonable accommodations under section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or the ADA Amendments Act of 2009. 

  • Disability documentation should confirm the existence of a disabling condition; identify current deficits that cause limitations, preferably in a college setting; and relate the current impact of the condition to the requested accommodations. 
  • Documentation should indicate the date of the most recent evaluations and include the signature, title, and credentials of the evaluators or professionals who prepared the documentation.
  • All requests for reasonable accommodations will be considered and evaluated. Reasonable accommodations that the institution deems likely to facilitate a student’s access to the educational opportunities provided at PCA&D will be approved. 
  • Accommodations which present a fundamental alteration to the structure or content of PCA&D’s professional programs of education in the arts, or which are determined to represent an undue burden on the College, will not be approved.
  • Pennsylvania College of Art & Design reserves the right to require additional testing or documentation for any student with disabilities at any point in the process of considering an accommodations request, or at any other point during the student’s subsequent enrollment in any of the College’s programs.

Requests for accommodations related to learning disabilities must be supported by recent psychoeducational evaluations. This evaluation must be conducted by a psychologist, neurologist, neuropsychologist, or certified educational psychologist.

  • A separate Guidelines for Psychoeducational Evaluations sheet describing the expected scope and content of these evaluations should be shared in advance with the professionals who will be testing them.
    Download Guidelines Sheet
  • If there is a recent IEP or 504 plan, it may also be submitted but either document alone is insufficient to support a request for accommodations.

Accommodation requests related to a physical or medical disability have similar documentation requirements. 

  • Recent documentation of the nature of the impairment or condition must describe how it limits one or more major life activities and describe the probable impact of the impairment or condition on a student’s ability to succeed in and benefit from PCA&D’s educational programs. Qualifying disabilities include but are not limited to walking, seeing, hearing, breathing, caring for oneself, and /or the impairment of major bodily functions (e.g., functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, and reproductive functions).
  • Prescribed accommodations should be related to enhancing the student’s ability to succeed in and benefit from a college-level professional arts education. This document must be in writing from a physician, physical therapist, or other qualified professional.
  • A recent copy of the IEP or 504 plan outlining accommodations successfully employed in a high school setting may also be presented but either document alone is insufficient to support a request for accommodations.

Accommodations for students with ADD or ADHD will be considered only when prescribed in a recent diagnosis from a physician or licensed psychologist with formal training in the assessment of these conditions. 

  • The diagnosis should include a statement of the student’s medical needs. It should describe, as fully as possible, the impact of medications on the student’s ability to handle the pressures of a deadline-intensive, complex problem-solving curriculum typical of a professional arts education. 

Requests for accommodations as a result of an impairment caused by mental illness will be considered if the impairment substantially limits a student’s ability to function in the normally rigorous art college environment. 

  • Recent documentation describing how the impairment limits or has an impact on the individual’s ability to function as a student in PCA&D’s professional arts programs must be provided in a written statement from a licensed mental health practitioner. 
  • Prescribed accommodations should be related to increasing or enhancing the potential for success in and ability to benefit from PCA&D’s educational programs.
  • If there is a recent IEP, this document may be submitted as well though the IEP alone is insufficient to support a request for accommodations. 

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides a therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship. The ESA provides emotional support and comfort to individuals with disabilities and impairments. Emotional Support Animals are not considered pets.

Download ESA Form

3

Reviewing the Request

Once all necessary documentation is received, a meeting of the ADA and Accommodations Support Team will be scheduled. Students or applicants requesting accommodations are invited to dialogue with the committee when a meeting is called regarding their needs and additional personal information. However, the decision to accept, decline, or modify requested accommodations is made by the team in conjunction with contracted professionals.

The student will be notified, in writing, of any accommodations approved by the team. After the student registers for courses, the team will inform appropriate faculty and the Registrar of the accepted accommodations.

If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the team, a written appeal may be submitted. The Provost and the Vice President of Student Affairs will discuss the appeal and send a written response to the student. Their decision, at this stage, is final and may not be appealed further.

4

responsibilities moving forward

To ensure success, all students with approved accommodations are responsible for self-advocacy with their instructors.

  • At PCA&D, it’s the student’s responsibility to gain a clear understanding of each instructor’s curricular and attendance expectations (which may be in addition to the requirements of the College’s attendance policy) and act consistently to meet them.
  • Students should initiate regular meetings with instructors to monitor their own progress—particularly if they are having greater-than-normal difficulty with course materials.
  • If a student’s approved accommodations include special provisions for taking exams, it is the student’s responsibility to work out the details with the instructor IN ADVANCE of any exam date. Exam dates are published in an instructor’s syllabus. All students receive copies of instructors’ syllabi at the beginning of each course every semester.
  • PCA&D places a particularly high programmatic value on regular class attendance—it is mandatory. The College-wide attendance policy – published annually in the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design Catalog and Student Handbook and in all faculty syllabi – states that after multiple absences in any course in any semester, failure is possible. Faculty and major-specific policies are the final arbiters of this decision in every course in the College’s various programs.

Liability

Faculty, administrators, and staff are given information about accommodating students with disabilities based on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the ADA Amendments Act of 2009 (ADAAA). They are required to read and subscribe to the above PCA&D Students With Disabilities Policy. Once the appropriate persons—faculty, staff, administrators—are notified of accommodations approved by PCA&D for a student with disabilities, failure to participate in implementing these accommodations may make individuals personally liable.

Learn More

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in programs that receive federal funding. To learn more about Section 504, please visit: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/oasam/centers-offices/civil-rights-center/statutes/section-504-rehabilitation-act-of-1973
 
The American Disabilities Act of 1990 is a civil rights law that ensures equitable access to education by prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all aspects of public life and requiring reasonable accommodations. To learn more about ADA of 1990, please visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/americans-disabilities-act-1990-original-text
 
In September of 2008, Congress passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 to provide a “clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination” and “clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination” by reinstating the protections available under the ADA. To learn more about the ADAAA of 2008, please visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/ada-amendments-act-2008
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