Academic Development & Support Center

The Academic Development and Support Center (ADSC) is located on the lower level of the Sister Mary Joseph Cunningham Library and provides a variety of services that assist undergraduate students in succeeding at the college level. These include disability services, testing accommodations, The Learning Connection (TLC) program, peer tutoring and supplemental instruction, and Performance Assistance through Coaching and Tutoring (PACT).

The ADSC can be reached at 732-987-2363.

Disability Services

Georgian Court provides accommodations to students with documented disabilities (physical, psychological, learning, ASD, etc.) in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Students must contact the ADSC to schedule appointments for accommodation requests or to discuss matters of concern. (See section on Disability Services for documentation guidelines and procedures for requesting accommodations.)

Testing Accommodations

Students who receive testing accommodations may request to take exams in the ADSC (please call for procedure and scheduling of exams).

The Learning Connection (TLC) Program

TLC is a fee-based, formally structured program for students who desire support beyond their ADA accommodations. It is designed to assist undergraduate students with learning disabilities or other conditions that may impact their academic performance. The goal of TLC is to optimize academic, personal, and life skills for persistence to graduation. The Learning Connection program is committed to working with students in a confidential and nurturing environment, while fostering independence and self-advocacy.

TLC offers:

  • two hours weekly of professional one-on-one scheduled tutoring/coaching sessions with an academic development specialist;
  • coaching in organizational, time management, and study skills, as well as testing strategies;
  • personal and transitional support;
  • evaluation of student progress through tracking of grades and assignments; and
  • workshops and events for socialization purposes.

To enroll in TLC:

  • students must first be accepted to Georgian Court University;
  • students must submit documentation of a learning disability or other condition that impacts academic performance; and
  • an interview with the director is required.

Georgian Court University does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability in any of its programs or activities. Services are provided in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Performance Assistance through Coaching & Tutoring (PACT)

PACT is a mandatory program of support for first-year students, who are identified for PACT based on their academic credentials prior to entering Georgian Court. PACT is designed to improve students’ transition to the university environment through support from their PACT coaches.

  1. Students accepted under PACT must attend a PACT orientation during regular New Student Orientation. During this time, students will meet their PACT coaches and schedule their weekly appointment times.
  2. Students accepted under PACT have the following mandatory requirements of two hours per week for one academic year (August–May):
    • Students must attend one scheduled hour per week with a professional PACT coach.
    • Students must choose one hour each week from the following:
      1. Writing Center,
      2. supplemental instruction/peer tutoring,
      3. Math Lounge,
      4. TRIO–SSS counseling, or
      5. EOF counseling.
    • Students must attend supplemental workshops and events, as required.
      Attendance at sessions will be tracked by PACT coaches, the supplemental instruction coordinator, and directors of other support services. Reports of attendance will be sent to the Department of Athletics and Recreation for student-athletes in PACT.
  3. Students with an overall GPA below 2.0 will be evaluated by the Academic Standards Committee at the end of each semester. Compliance with PACT contractual requirements will be one of the factors considered in probation and dismissal decisions.

Peer Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction

Peer tutoring and supplemental instruction are academic supports provided by students who have taken a course and have obtained a B+ or higher in the course for which they will be peer tutors or supplemental instructors (SI). They must have achieved 30 college credits and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. The SI will attend all course lectures and offer two weekly group tutoring sessions to accommodate students in the course.

For peer tutoring/supplemental instruction information, please call 732-987-2787/2788.

Disability Services

As defined by Section 504 and the ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, including learning. Academic accommodations are implemented to provide equal access to college programs and services. Students must contact the ADSC to schedule appointments for accommodation requests or to discuss matters of concern. For further information, please call 732-987-2363.

Procedure for Requesting Accommodations

  • Students must make an appointment to meet with the disabilities officer (DO) each semester to fill out forms to discuss the functional limitations of the disability in the academic setting and the requested accommodations. This should be done before the semester begins or the first week of classes.
  • Documentation must be presented to the DO that supports the accommodations requested (see documentation guidelines below).
  • Approved accommodations are kept in the student’s file, and the student delivers copies to his or her faculty members. If the course is online, then the DO will scan and send the accommodation letter to the professor.
  • After accommodations have been granted, the DO recommends that the student privately discuss accommodations with the faculty member. The student does not have to disclose the disability to the faculty member, unless he or she chooses to.
  • Accommodations are divided into those needed for the classroom and for testing.
  • Note-takers depend on availability; otherwise, the most appropriate alternative will be provided.

Documentation Guidelines

Accommodations are based on supportive documentation and must be current (within the past three years). The following guidelines are the documentation requirements for various types of disabilities. Please present these requirements to the certifying professional so your documentation is appropriate.

Documentation for Sensory, Physical & Psychological Disabilities

Supportive documentation of a disability is used to determine eligibility for disability services and accommodations, which must be provided by an appropriately certified professional who is knowledgeable about you and your condition. Such professionals include physicians, educational psychologists, therapists, mobility specialists, and rehabilitation counselors.

Documentation must include the following components, and must be current (generally within the past three years):

  • Diagnosis: A current medical diagnosis, including appropriate medical reports, relevant medical history, and clinical summary.
  • Current treatment: Identification of treatment, medications, assistive devices, or other services currently prescribed or in use.
  • Evaluation of: Identification of the substantial limitation on a major life activity presented by the disability, and a description of the current functional impact (limitation) of the disability in a college setting. The assessment should validate the need for services based on the impact of the student’s disability and level of functioning in an educational setting.
  • Specific recommendations: Suggested accommodations and/or academic adjustments, with an explanation supporting the need for each accommodation to achieve equal access.
  • Past use of disability services: Description of the accommodations and services used in the past.

Documentation for psychological disabilities must be current within six months of the accommodation request. Please request the Disability Verification Form for Students with Psychological Disabilities from the ADSC to be filled out by the certifying professional.

Substantiation of a Learning Disability

Qualifications of the Evaluator

Professionals conducting assessments, rendering diagnoses of specific learning disabilities, and making recommendations for appropriate accommodations must be qualified to do so. Trained and certified and/or licensed psychologists, learning disabilities specialists (LDT-Cs), and educational therapists are typically involved in the process of assessment. Experience in working with an adolescent or adult population is preferred. It is not considered appropriate for professionals to evaluate members of their families.

Documentation
  1. Documentation should validate the need for services based on the individual's current level of functioning in a postsecondary educational setting. A comprehensive assessment battery and the resulting diagnostic report should include background information; a diagnostic interview; and assessment of aptitude, academic achievement, and information processing, as well as a diagnosis. An IEP from high school must be accompanied by a psychological evaluation and an educational evaluation no more than three years old.
  2. There must be clear and specific evidence and identification of a learning disability. Individual “learning styles” and “learning differences” in and of themselves do not constitute a learning disability. The diagnostician is expected to use direct language in the diagnosis and documentation of a learning disability, avoiding the use of terms such as “suggests” or “is indicative of.” (Please provide this information to your diagnostician.) If the data indicate that a learning disability is not present, the evaluator should state this in the report.
  3. A well-written clinical diagnostic summary based on the comprehensive evaluation process as defined is a necessary component of the report. The clinical summary should include:
    • a written summary of background information about the student’s educational, medical, and family histories that relate to the learning disability;
    • demonstration that the evaluator has ruled out alternative explanations for academic problems as a result of poor education, poor motivation and/or study skills, emotional problems, attentional problems, and cultural or language differences;
    • indication of how patterns in the student’s cognitive ability, achievement, and information processing reflect the presence of a learning disability;
    • indication of the substantial limitation to learning or other major life activity presented by the learning disability and the degree to which it affects the individual (functional limitations) at the postsecondary level in the learning context for which the accommodations are being requested;
    • indication as to why specific accommodations are needed and how the effects of the specific disability are accommodated; and
    • an addendum of scores.

The report should be printed on letterhead, signed, and dated; the signature of the evaluator should include his or her credentials.

Recommendations for Accommodations
  1. The diagnostic report should include specific recommendations for accommodations as well as an explanation as to why each accommodation is recommended.
  2. A description of any accommodation and/or auxiliary aid that has been used at the secondary or postsecondary level should be discussed. Include information about the specific conditions under which the accommodation was used (e.g., standardized testing, final exams) and whether or not it benefited the student. If no accommodations have been previously provided, a detailed explanation as to why none has been used and the rationale for the student’s current need for accommodation(s) must be provided.
  3. Accommodation needs can change over time and are not always identified through the initial diagnostic process. Conversely, a prior history of accommodation does not in and of itself warrant the provision of a similar accommodation at the postsecondary level.
  4. Before your third year of enrollment at GCU, you may be required to provide updated documentation to support accommodations.

Substantiating ADD or ADHD

Documentation for attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) must be from an appropriate professional with comprehensive training in differential diagnosis, as well as direct experience working with adolescents and adults with ADD/ADHD. The evaluator may not be a relative. Professionals considered qualified to evaluate and diagnose ADD/ADHD include clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, and other relevantly trained medical doctors, such as neurologists.

The diagnostic report should be typed and submitted on official letterhead with name, title, professional credentials, address, and phone/fax numbers of the evaluator. The documentation must include each of the following:

  • a specific diagnosis of ADD or ADHD based on DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, date of the current diagnostic evaluation, and the date of the original diagnosis.
  • evidence and assessment of current functional impairment (presenting symptoms and how they cause impairment).
  • relevant developmental, medical and medication history, a thorough academic history, and a review of prior psycho-educational test reports.
  • a summary of relevant assessment data that supports or refutes a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD. The diagnostic assessment must consist of more than a self-report. Possible data sources include results from the Continuous Performance Test, the T.O.V.A., Trail Making Test, or a neuropsychological evaluation. Assessments such as checklists and rating scales should not be used as the sole criterion for a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD.
  • evidence of alternative diagnoses or explanations being ruled out. The documentation must investigate and discuss the possibility of dual diagnoses and alternative or coexisting mood, behavioral, neurological, and/or personality disorders that may confound the ADD/ADHD diagnosis.
  • neurological or psycho-educational assessment may be necessary in order to determine the current impact of the disorder on the individual’s ability to function in an academic setting and to establish eligibility for classroom accommodations, including alternative testing, note-takers, etc. Such data should include subtest and standard scores.
  • an indication of whether or not the student was evaluated while on medication and how the prescribed treatment reduces the level or degree of impairment.
  • a clinical summary that
    1. indicates the substantial limitation to a major life activity posed by the disability,
    2. describes the extent to which these limitations would impact the student in an academic setting,
    3. suggests how the specific effects of the disability may be accommodated, and
    4. states how the effects of the ADD/ADHD are mediated by the recommended accommodations.

Service Animals

According to Titles II and III of the ADA, public colleges and private colleges that are “places of public accommodation” must modify their policies and practices to accommodate the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. The Department of Justice, which enforces Titles II and III of the ADA, defines a service animal as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability” (28 C.F.R. 35.104). Emotional support animals are not included within the definition of service animal. Section 504 also requires recipients of federal funds to permit “dog guides” in campus buildings (34 C.F.R 104.44(b)). Emotional support animals may be requested through Disability Services (please contact the ADSC for appropriate forms and documentation policies and procedures).