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Interview with Director of Disability Services

There are many difficulties students face when transitioning to college. Most universities have resources to help students adjust and find balance between academics and activities. SJU is no different. You can find help through The Student Success Center, Residents Life, academic professors, CAPS, etc. 

At the end of my freshman year, I was introduced to Dr. Mecke, who is the Director of Student Disability Services. She has been a great resource for me throughout these last few years and continues to help. Before my freshman year, I didn’t know the University offered disability services. The university offers these services to help but many people are just unaware. I decided to talk to Dr. Mecke and ask some common questions.

Interview with Dr. Mecke

What is your role at SJU?

My title is Director of Student Disability Services.  My role is to #1 – provide support and advocacy for students who are registered with our office. I help them by setting up their accommodation plans and when needed, contact their professors to inform them if any specific issues arise.  I am also responsible for keeping faculty and staff informed of the laws related to students with disabilities, such as the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  I provide training in this regard to faculty and staff in this regard. I also work with other departments across the University to advocate for students with disabilities, whether that is for instructional, mental health, physical accessibility, or technology related issues.

What does the disability center provide students with?

We mainly provide students with academic accommodations. Students present documentation to our office. We review that documentation with the student and then determine what accommodations we will provide for them here at SJU.  The most common accommodation is extended time for testing. We also provide other support services, such as mentoring and support with  study skill strategies and other executive functioning skills. We’re also here just to be a sounding board to meet with students who have questions or need someone to provide some guidance or help accessing other resources.

How does SJU accommodate those with specific disabilities?

There are no specific accommodations that are based on a particular disability, but rather, we look at each student individually to determine what the appropriate accommodations are for them. So if a student has a learning disability and they need extended time, audio books, a note-taker, or any other accommodation, we would base that determination on what the documentation is that they present.  A student who is deaf or blind, or has a mental or physical health concern may need way different accommodations, based on their disability, but often, those accommodations may overlap as well.

Who can students contact for help? 

You can always contact  Dr. Christine Mecke, G10 Bellarmine, cmecke@sju.edu, 610.660-1774.  And now we can zoom or you can call my cell: 607.329.0744.

Or Pat Gregg, G60 Bellarmine, pgregg@sju.edu, 610-6601620

By: Nick Milando

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