Consortium to Open Disability Resources Center

The Claremont University Consortium will open a 7C Student Disability Resources Center (SDRC) next fall at the Robert E. Tranquada Student Services Center. A search committee comprising students, administrators from the Claremont Colleges, and CUC administrators and staff members is currently reviewing candidates for the director position.

According to CUC’s Vice President for Student Affairs Denise Hayes, chair of the search committee, the idea to form a combined service for all CUC students first came from the Student Deans Committee, an intercollegiate committee of the vice presidents of student affairs of each of the Claremont Colleges. The committee consulted the consortium's Council of Presidents, which recommended the addition of a centralized disability service to CUC.

A challenge for all of the colleges is "getting support when [students] are cross-registering and taking classes not at their home campus,” Hayes said. 

“Right now what each campus offers in terms of accommodation differs, so it’s not as clear who to go to," Hayes added. "With having a centralized service, one of the primary things it will help with is communicating.”

The SDRC aims to provide services not currently available on all the campuses and make existing services more efficient. Plans for the center include creating support groups for students with disabilities, training campus coordinators and faculty based on research of national trends, and establishing a 7C disability website.

“I think the SDRC and its director will be able to bring some important and needed changes," said Nicole Ross PO '14, head of the Disability, Illness, and Difference Alliance (DIDA) Mentor Program and a member of its leadership board. "I hope [they] will be able to increase awareness of disability and … provide the institutional support … to help us develop a strong disability community on campus. I'm so excited that the SRDC is being created; it makes me feel not just supported but also valued as a disabled student."

Hayes said that the preparation process will pick up once the director is hired. Formed in September, the search committee began advertising for the position through job search websites and national organizations such as the Association on Higher Education and Disability and the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors.  

“The ideal candidate will have strong leadership skills and vision for the SDRC," Hayes said. "They will also have the ability to review documentation and to communicate effectively within the consortium structure. They must be able to relate well with students, faculty, and staff."

Additionally, the committee is looking for someone with a doctorate degree and work experience in a liberal arts college or a graduate university.

After reviewing applications, the committee will select individuals for a phone interview and then choose candidates to invite for an on-campus interview. The first candidate to be invited was Ed Roth, the Director of Disability Services and Programs at the University of Southern California, who visited campus Oct. 27-28 for interviews, presentations, and a dinner with students.

“I thought both [the dinner and a presentation] were great," DIDA President Maddy Ruvolo SC ’14 said. "Dr. Roth appreciated getting student response and we were very open with the current challenges on campus. Student response is essential since it is going to be our center and we need to hire someone who will follow through with student priorities, not just administration priorities." 

Hayes said that the committee is still reviewing applications and scheduling more candidates to come for on-campus interviews.