Happy Summer! We hope you are enjoying a well-deserved break and are getting excited for the upcoming academic year! In this week’s blog post, we are highlighting our Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS). Whether you are a new or returning Trojan, OSAS is here to provide accommodations to help students with disabilities thrive both in and out of the classroom.
The purpose and practice of OSAS are to ensure equal access for Trojans with disabilities in compliance with state and federal law. OSAS serves all students in credit-granting courses and programs of study – undergraduate, graduate, and professional; on-campus and on-line. In addition to providing equal access, their mission is to meet the needs of our students, remove disability-related barriers, support civil rights, and raise awareness on behalf of students with disabilities. OSAS provides a respectful, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all of the Trojan Family.
We reached out to Madison Shaw, OSAS’s Assistant Director of Policy, Programming & Evaluation, who answered our questions about how students can receive accommodations and how OSAS continues to work with students and the rest of the Trojan community:
How easy is it for students to get the services and accommodations they need?
“We try to make our accommodation review process as easy and streamlined as possible. Students can also reach out to us to speak with a staff member if they have questions. Here is a little insight to our registration process:
- Begin by telling us about you. Please complete the Online Student Application. Help us get to know you by answering each field as thoroughly as possibly.
- Provide documentation. After you click the “Submit Application” button, you will be directed to a second screen where you will be invited to upload any supporting disability-related documentation.
- Meet with your OSAS Specialist. We like to make sure we have a full picture of you and your experiences as a student. Your OSAS Specialist will generally reach out as part of this connection process, and schedule a time to meet with you in-person or via phone or virtual/video meeting.”
[You can visit https://osas.usc.edu/ for more detailed information on the application process, providing documentation, and meeting with your OSAS Specialist]
How are students assigned to OSAS staff?
“Students can be assigned to any Specialist—the only exception is if they are Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) or Blind/Low Vision (BLV). The DHH and BLV services require a little more complex coordination so we typically have those students work with the Specialist in that area.”
How much contact throughout the year do students have with OSAS?
“It depends! Some students only contact us to register and initiate services. Other students may need more regular check-ins. We’re happy to be in contact with students as much or as little as they would like.”
Are these accommodations free to students?
How involved with OSAS are the faculty members?
“OSAS frequently collaborates with faculty to support students with disabilities. We often receive outreach from faculty with questions about specific accommodations and regularly present to different academic programs. It is extremely important for us to have a strong relationship with faculty so we can work together to support our students.”
What’s your favorite part about working for OSAS?
“The OSAS team is truly dedicated to supporting our students—I love working in an office with a shared goal of increasing accessibility and awareness for students with disabilities. I have been fortunate to work with some truly spectacular USC students. Many of them still keep in touch, and I love receiving updates about their lives and accomplishments after they have graduated.”