Access Coordination

Student on Life Science Lab balcony

Access Coordinators (AC) are professional university staff with extensive experience working with students with disabilities and and are trained on how to review diagnostic documentation to determine eligibility for accommodations.

Each student who registers with Disability Services is assigned to a member of our Access Coordinator team. Your assigned Access Coordinator will be your primary point of contact within our office. This AC will meet with you for your first DS meeting to gather your self-report about your experience as a student with a disability and learn more about your request for accommodations. They will be part of the Review Committee that processes accommodation requests to identify what accommodations are reasonable and appropriate in accordance with ADA and Section 504 laws. Your Access Coordinator will also be providing you with direction on how to access and utilize such accommodations upon approval. Additionally, your assigned Access Coordinator is available to check-in with you throughout the semester to provide guidance, help you stay on track with your academics, and guide you in accessing other campus services and resources that you may need during your time at UMass.

Should a problem or concern arise, students can contact the office for immediate assistance and work with any available Access Coordinator beyond their assigned Access Coordinator. For non-urgent questions or concerns, students will be directed to work with their assigned Access Coordinator.

Access Coordinators can help:

- Educate you about the many resources and support services available on campus

- Make referrals to other campus offices

- Help you set up and access your approved accommodations

- Discuss academic strategies to help you navigate your courses

- Provide advice about how to communicate with your instructors and how to advocate for your needs

Access Coordinators have been provided with professional development and training on supporting students with a wide variety of needs, including students who are in-crisis, needing mental health support; however, we are not licensed mental health counselors. If you are seeking ongoing mental health support services, we will refer you to the appropriate resources as needed.

Access Coordinators can give guidance to help you transition into the college environment, inform you about resources and opportunities on campus, and explain university policies and procedures. We can also help identify strategies to communicate with your instructors; however, students are expected to take the lead on communication with faculty and campus partners themselves. Access Coordinators cannot advocate on behalf of the student and it is important for all students in the post-secondary environment to begin to develop self-advocacy skills as a way to prepare for life after college. Students are also expected to take the lead on sharing information with their parents/guardians and Disability Services cannot answer parent questions about a student's academic progress without the student being present or without the students written consent.