Mission and Purpose


Syracuse University values diversity and seeks to promote access to educational opportunities for all students, including SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

The Office of Disability Service’s (ODS) mission is to engage the University Community to empower students, enhance equity and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion. We achieve this by mitigating competitive disadvantages and environmental barriers that impact learning; by supporting faculty in the classroom and our colleagues across the university to strive for universal design and full inclusion. We provide individual academic adjustments when environmental barriers cannot be eliminated and assistive technology that fosters independent, self-determined learners.

The Office of Disability Services embraces the concept of disability as diversity and is committed to creating a new context for disability; to redefine the term disability and the culture that surrounds it!

A student’s success may not be in spite of his/her disability but perhaps because of it!

The existence of a disability provides opportunity/motivation to enhance other skill sets that may not have been otherwise enhanced.

  • Better at communicating – self advocacy
  • Empathetic
  • Technical skills
  • Social skills
  • Time management skills
  • Adaptable/flexible
  • Leadership

ODS Goals

  • To ensure quality service and delivery of reasonable and appropriate academic adjustments guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008
  • To provide on an individual basis, an academic adjustments plan designed to mitigate the environmental barriers a student with a disability experiences, while fostering independent self-determined learners
  • Facilitate student connectedness to the campus community thereby increasing student success and retention
  • Engage with the University Community promoting universal design, disability as diversity and inclusion for all ESF and SU students
  • Promote professional development for ODS staff members
  • Commitment to quality programming and long term assessment practices

ODS Operational Objectives

  • Provide academic adjustments and support services aimed at minimizing barriers, allowing for full access to both academic and co-curricular University wide programming.
  • Using targeted outreach and multiple platforms to engage prospective & current students both in the registration and disability documentation processes, in order to determine and ensure ADA eligibility for students entitled to access.
  • Engaging students in an interactive dialogue to develop comprehensive academic adjustment plans using a self-determination model.
  • Providing student programming and intentional language designed to engage students early and incorporate disability within the culture of diversity.
  • Providing faculty and staff programming designed at educating the community on the merits of universal design and inclusion for all students; as well as incorporating disability within the culture of diversity.
  • Providing opportunities to develop and enhance the skill sets of current ODS staff, incorporate best practices into disability service delivery and new program initiatives designed to increase student’s engagement and success.

ODS Student Learning and Development Outcomes

As a result of our pre-orientation, initial counselor meeting, the development of a comprehensive academic adjustment plan and our outreach efforts, students who engage with the Office of Disability Services will be able to:

  • Communicate the point of environmental impact of their disability and its implication in the educational setting.
  • Demonstrate continued self-advocacy and the ability to communicate their needs by utilizing academic adjustments that are necessary to minimize environmental barriers present in the various elements of campus life.
  • Acquire knowledge pertaining to the full spectrum of resources and diversity of opportunities available to all University students.
  • Articulate the concepts around disability and diversity.

Operational Outcomes

  • Increase enrollment of students with disabilities at Syracuse University.
  • Provide timely and reasonable academic adjustments and auxiliary aids to students.
  • Provide quality access to classroom academic adjustments and auxiliary aides.

ODS Key Indicators

  • Enrollment Rates for students with disabilities
  • Retention Rates for students with disabilities
  • Graduation Rates for students with disabilities
  • ODS Utilization Rates