Mission and Purpose


Over the coming decade, ODS endeavors to become leader in creating a cultural shift in higher education promoting disability as diversity and inclusive excellence.

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 as well as by supporting faculty in the classroom and our colleagues across the university to strive for universal design and full inclusion. We provide individual accommodations 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

  • Lead the nation in creating a campus culture that embraces disability as diversity and seeks to welcome students with all abilities.
  • Ensure quality service and delivery of reasonable and appropriate accommodations guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 by providing an individualized accommodation plan designed to mitigate the environmental barriers.
  • Foster independent self-determined learner’s thereby increasing student retention and achievement.
  • Acquire a place and space that allows for full participation of the campus community.
  • Engagement with the University Community regarding ADA compliance as well as promote universal design in the classroom.
  • Promote professional development for ODS staff members.
  • Commitment to quality programming and long-term assessment practices.

ODS Strategies

  • Draft policies and procedures that include students in the process and reflect their lived experiences.
  • Provide an enhanced delivery system that improves student’s access to accommodations and support services aimed at minimizing barriers, allowing for full access to both academic and co-curricular programming University wide.
  • Engaging students in an interactive dialogue to identify and develop a comprehensive access and academic support plan using a self-determination model.
  • Provide student programming designed to engage students early and incorporate disability within the culture of diversity.
  • Garner support from university leadership and campus stakeholders to create an inclusive environment allowing for the full range of our resources be accessible in one location.
  • Providing opportunities to develop and enhance the skillsets of current ODS staff that lead to more effective service delivery and dynamic student programming aimed at student engagement and success.
  • Create and maintain a program review and assessment team charged with drafting the unit’s strategic plan and develop and monitor a comprehensive/multi-year assessment plan.

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