Adam Marschall Jaros, Ph.D.
Adjunct instructor, Biology
Christine was an older student who required a walker to navigate to class. On the first day she selected a seat in the back near the door. I thought it was odd that a student with a mobility-disability would register for a Face-to-Face section of Environmental Science that required off- campus lab activities as well as a fair amount of walking. This lead me to thinking about my students in general as I have noticed that many students come into my class in good health with full mobility and yet they fail to perform. Christine had the tables stacked against her and yet, was ultimately still able to model success at LCC.
The first week that involved lab activities outside of the classroom Christine came to me with her accessible accommodations form after class. She gave me the form to notify me of her academic struggles, not to force me to alter my lesson plans but simply as another piece of information which would allow us to work together to accommodate her education. We had a discussion about the options I could provide her or even the possibility of her taking an online version of the same class. Christine told me how committed she was to finishing her degree but had limited access to the internet so instead of simply giving up because she would be at a disadvantage in an online course, she decided to take Face-to-Face instead. Where some students would have stopped at that first obstacle, she decided to take the Face-to-Face section to keep progressing.
My role in Christine’s success was providing her with alternative lab activities that did not require mobility. She took advantage of my office hours where we related the topics in the alternative labs to the exams.
Despite her mobility issues, Christine never missed a class period (or was ever late!). Her dedication overcame all her accessibility issues and she did perform well on exams and completed all of the alternate labs I provided.
Eight months later, I saw Christine outside of the entrance to the Gannon Building and she told me she had graduated! She told me about how much she enjoyed my class and how she had finally achieved her goal. This experience has made me realize that we can provide educational access to students by meeting their needs and understanding their goals.