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ACCESSibility Specialist

Mercy College

New York, NY,US

The Accessibility Specialist will be responsible for managing efficiency and effectiveness of the day-to-day operations of the Office of ACCESSibility. Accommodations provision is the primary responsibility of a disabilities services office as a function of the prescribed legal mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its 2008 Amendments. The Accessibility Specialist will ensure that accommodations are delivered thoroughly, effectively, and efficiently. They will also build needed connections with faculty members, staff, and information technology professionals supporting learning inside and outside the classroom. They will meet the accommodation needs of undergraduate and graduate students on each of Mercy College’s campuses (Dobbs Ferry, Bronx, Manhattan, Yorktown Heights) through the selection and implementation of various forms of assistive technology and through the refinement and management of the processes for note-taker recruitment and assignment, testing accommodations, materials conversion, captioning and transcription, and ASL interpretation and real-time transcription. In addition, they will maintain the Office of ACCESSibility’s website. Finally, they will assist the Director in supporting the diverse academic, personal/developmental, and interpersonal needs of our growing population of registered students.

The position will be based out of Dobbs Ferry; however, travel to other campuses is expected.

Primary Responsibilities:
The responsibilities will include, but are not limited to, the following:

Accommodations:
• Process new requests for accommodations in an efficient and timely manner

• Maintain database and case notes via online case management system

• Review documentation to determine eligibility for accessibility services and accommodations while also providing direct services to students including strategy development.

• Meet with a caseload of students who disclose a disability as well as with others interested in exploring resources for temporary and possible health needs to provide information and advice regarding accessibility services and related resources both within and outside the college.

• Assist the director by collaborating with faculty to implement practices to ensure that students receive reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

Testing Accommodations:
• Process requests for accommodated exams at each Mercy Campus in an efficient and timely manner

• Coordinate exams by hiring per diem proctors as needed, communicating details of exam, setting up assistive technology, and monitoring exam room

• Develop processes to increase efficiency and security of accommodated exams

Note-taker Recruitment and Assignment:
• Locate, train, and assign note-takers for students who are entitled to this accommodation.

• Develop and maintain a database of registered students’ needs and the trained students available to meet the students’ needs.

• Increase the percentage of note-takers assigned to courses before the semester begins

• Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the note-taker assignment process, tracking student requests, correspondence with professors, and inquiries from potential note-takers to ensure optimal assignment rates.

Materials Conversion:
• Facilitate the materials conversion (text to alternative format) process for students.

• Contact students proactively to assess their needs for an upcoming semester.

• Perform an initial search for existing audio books (through AccessText Network, BookShare and other sources), followed by contact with the publisher, if necessary.
Captioning, Transcription, and Interpretation.

• Manage the processes for acquiring and creating captioned videos and transcripts of videos.

• Provide advanced notification to instructors of students’ requirement for video captioning, encouraging the proactive selection of pre-captioned videos.

• Provide advice and support for the captioning of pre-selected videos, assisting faculty members, as appropriate, with the process.

• Arrange for in-class, real-time transcription and ASL interpretation for students through locally contracted sources.

Website Development and Maintenance:
• Revise and maintain the content on the Office of ACCESSibility’s website, including information about recourses, policies, processes, events, training information, etc.

• Comfort with website development, maintenance and website accessibility, etc.

Online Accessibility:
• Respond to student concerns regarding online accessibility as it relates to academic coursework.

• Collaborate with faculty and IT to provide suitable resolutions to online accessibility issues.

Event Programming & Training:
• Develop, advertise, and assess disability related programming for students, faculty and staff, including co-curricular events and training opportunities

Mercy College’s Service Philosophy:
“Mercy College’s service philosophy is to enrich lives and inspire success by working together to provide a personalized and caring environment. In alignment with the service excellence standards, Mercy College employees ensure that students/staff receive responses in a timely manner, provide accurate information, communicate positively and courteously (oral/written), and maximize resources to service the needs of the college community.”
Experience and/or Skills Required

• Minimum of two years of experience, preferably in disability services in a post-secondary setting. Graduate work may be considered in collective years of experience.

• Working knowledge of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, its 2008 amendments, and other appropriate laws pertaining to higher education and disabilities

• Ability to interpret diagnostic assessments including medical, psychological, and psychoeducational documentation to determine eligibility of services under the ADA/ADAA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

• The diplomatic and tactful nature required to build relationships quickly across cultures within the college and to work effectively with a wide range of people, including persons from diverse backgrounds. A proven record of working successfully with a variety of populations.

• An understanding of issues relevant to persons with disabilities and the ability to anticipate students’ needs, expectations, and requirements with a focus on universal design in a post-secondary environment.

• Experience working with case management software is highly desirable.

• An understanding of assistive technologies for persons with disabilities, including some knowledge of/familiarity with Dragon Naturally Speaking, Natural Readers, JAWS, Zoomtext, etc.

• Demonstrated strong analytical skills to research and analyze data and information from a variety of sources to make sound recommendations and decisions.

• The ability to manage a staff graduate and undergraduate students, and to ensure their timely completion of assigned tasks.

• Strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills and listening skills.

• Possess writing skills along with good computer skills, knowledge of online access issues and means for addressing them.

• The ability to set priorities to achieve objectives and to manage multiple, diverse assignments/projects.

• Collaborative, problem-solving, planning and organizational skills.

• Excellent judgment and sensitivity to the unique and confidential needs of students with disabilities.
Education Required or Min Education Required

• Master’s degree in Education, Special Education, Higher Education Administration, Mental Health Counseling, Social Work, Psychology or a Technology-Related field required

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