Disability Services

It is the policy of Midwestern University to ensure that no qualified student with a disability is excluded from participation in or subjected to discrimination in any University program, activity, or event. Midwestern University makes reasonable accommodations to the physical and mental limitations of students to the extent that such accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the conduct of its business. Disabled students’ rights are protected under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and its amendments (2008). Section 504 prohibits any program or activity, which receives federal funding from discriminating against qualified persons with disabilities in employment as well as all other activities. The Federal Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 (42 U.S.C. d12101 et seq.) was developed “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.”

Midwestern University has developed a set of technical standards. Students must meet the technical standards for their program throughout their period of enrollment. Individual programs at Midwestern University may include additional expectations related to essential functions or job duties specific to the practice of that profession. These standards do not apply to the Clinical Psychology Program.

Disability Services Coordinators

ARIZONA - Dr. Shannon Sesterhenn, Ed.D, has been in the field of higher education for over 20 years. Dr. Sesterhenn received her degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education from Arizona State University and her Graduate Certificate in Postsecondary Disability Services from the University of Connecticut. Serving in the roles of Dean of Students and Disability Services Coordinator, she coordinates the Student Peer Tutoring Program and oversees all accommodation requests with respect to students with disabilities.

ILLINOIS - Dr. Pamela Jurgens-Toepke, D.D.S., M.A., has been in the field of higher education for over 20 years. Dr. Jurgens-Toepke received her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Master of Arts in Educational Administration, Adult and Higher Education from the University of South Dakota. Serving in the roles of Associate Dean of Student Services and Disability Services Coordinator, Dr. Jurgens-Toepke oversees all accommodation requests with respect to students with disabilities.

How do I request an accommodation and who do I contact?

A student requesting an accommodation under the ADA for a disability must contact the Associate Dean of Students. 

Do I need to have documentation prior to my meeting with Student Services?

Although students can apply for accommodations at any time during their academic program, it is strongly advised that if you are seeking accommodations, you have the following paperwork and documentation submitted to the Office of Student Services prior to your request.

  • Students must fill out the Request for Accommodations for Disability Application ( RADA) prior to consideration of such requests. To expedite the process, students are encouraged to have this form completed prior to their meeting with Student Services.
  • Documentation is required from a qualified health professional or diagnostic service agency and a report must be on file in the Office of the Dean of Students before any accommodation can be granted. Students requesting accommodations should download the appropriate form for their specific disability for completion by a qualified professional. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that all required documentation is forwarded to the Associate Dean of Students.  A student’s request for accommodations will not be considered until all supporting documentation has been received.

Application Forms and Documentation Forms


The following is a list of accommodations that may be considered, given the student has provided the appropriate documentation:

  • Extra time on timed examinations and/or quizzes
  • Extra time on in-class assignments
  • Provisions to take examinations and/or quizzes in a distraction reduced environment (smaller room, few test takers). Please note: a private, separate room may not be feasible.
  • Audiotaping of lectures, when available
  • Front row access in classes with assigned seating
  • Other accommodations will be considered as presented

What happens after I provide documentation and discuss my requests with Student Services?

Following receipt of the accommodation application and the supporting documentation, the Associate Dean of Students convenes a committee consisting of the Associate Dean of Students, a representative of the appropriate college's Dean's Office, a counselor and/or a psychologist, and other educational officials who are deemed necessary to consider the request in light of the supporting documentation. Decisions are based on the following criteria:

    • Has the student provided appropriate documentation that he/she has a disability?
    • Was the request submitted according to the procedures stated above?
    • Is the request reasonable within the student’s required program of study? That is, the student’s program of study is not fundamentally altered by this request.
    • Does the request for accommodation interfere with a required component of the student’s academic program?
    • Without this accommodation, would the student still be able to effectively learn the required material?

If the requested accommodation meets the criteria, the Associate Dean of Students will request the accommodation, in writing, from the Department Chair/Program Director/Course Director/Academic Dean in charge of the course or courses within which accommodations are being requested. It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean of Students, in conjunction with the Department Chair/Program Director/Course Director/Academic Dean to inform all appropriate instructors of the request for accommodation each academic quarter. It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean of Students to discuss with the student how he/she can communicate to faculty and facilitate initiation of the requested accommodations. 

Students are reminded, however, that they must reapply each academic year to be considered for accommodations.

What are my responsibilities once the request has been made to the department chairs?

Once the accommodations have been approved and all necessary notifications have been made from the Associate Dean of Students, it is the student’s responsibility to discuss the details of, and to arrange for, the approved accommodations with individual course directors in a timely manner. Courses may have unique examination scheduling concerns, such as for practical exams, so students must do this prior to having the accommodation made available.

It is the student’s responsibility to approach the specific instructor of the class they wish to be accommodated and discuss what works best for them, within the parameters of the requested accommodation(s). Students, while having a specific disability and requesting accommodations for one course, may or may not want special accommodations for other courses within their program of study. The course director will not automatically provide accommodations unless the student has specifically requested the accommodations in a timely manner and discussed the details of implementing the accommodations prior to the accommodations being needed.

What if I encounter problems with receiving accommodations after I have gone through the proper procedures?

Students are encouraged to immediately bring problems or complaints to the attention of the Associate Dean of Students. It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean of Students to monitor all arrangements regarding disability accommodations. If a student feels he or she is being discriminated against because of a disability, he or she has the right to request an investigation into such a matter through the stated complaint policies and procedures in Appendix Two, Section 1 of the current MWU Student Handbook.

What do I do if I have not been tested within the required time frame and need documentation or if I feel I have a disability and need testing?

Students who are in need of testing to provide current documentation should meet with the Associate Dean of Students. Information on testing and testing locations can be obtained through the Office of Student Services. Costs of testing and assessments are the responsibility of the student. In addition, the Associate Dean of Students reserves the right to request additional testing of the student before granting accommodations if he/she feels that the documentation provided by the student is not sufficient and/or does not comply with the criteria stated previously for appropriate documentation. Students must pay for all evaluations and assessments.

What if I have just been diagnosed with a disability? Can accommodations be applied retroactively?

Accommodations are only granted starting with the date the student is approved for accommodations by the Disability Committee. Accommodations cannot be applied retroactively to courses/exams that have already been completed.

What if my request for accommodations is denied? Is there an appeal process?

Yes, following notification of a decision from the Associate Dean of Students, a student may appeal the decision. He or she has 7 working days to submit a formal written appeal of the decision to the Dean of Students. The appeal must be submitted in writing and delivered to the thee Dean of Students within this 7-day period. The request should be accompanied by a narrative explaining the basis for the appeal. An appeal must be based on one of the following premises:

  1. Material or documentable information not available to the involved faculty and staff at the time of the initial decision;
  2. Procedural error and/or
  3. Bias of one or more staff or faculty members involved in the decision.

The Dean of Students will make a decision on the validity of the appeal. If a student is not satisfied with the decision of the Dean of Students, the student appealing may request a personal meeting with the President or her/his designee in accordance with the appeal process stated in Appendix 2, Section 1C of the MWU Student Handbook.

What happens to my individual reports, assessments, and documentation and who has access to my detailed records?

Access to these records is restricted. Copies of the detailed assessment are kept under strict confidentiality in the Office of the Associate Dean of Students and may only be viewed by this Office, members of the Disability Committee and individuals that the student has identified. If the accommodating department(s) or instructor(s) wish to view a copy of the student assessment, they must show reason why they wish to view the assessment and may do so only with the written consent of the student.

What about accommodations for licensing board examinations or other licensing certification examinations?

Students who wish to request accommodations for licensing board examinations or other licensing certification examinations are urged to contact the governing body or institution responsible for the administration of such examinations as early as possible. Requirements for requesting accommodations under the ADA for these examinations may be different from those of MWU and the process involved may be lengthier than that at MWU. Receipt of accommodations from MWU does not guarantee granting of accommodations from a licensing board or licensing certification exam administration.


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