The Officer for Disabled Students - Goals

"The Officer for Disabled Students represents the concerns of disabled students at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt."

§ 13 Section 1 Sentence 1 Statutes of FHWS

Recommendations by the German Rectors' Conference for "Eine Hochschule für Alle" (A University for Everybody) are implemented step by step. The Office for Disabled Students fulfils its obligations by coordinating the implementation of the following goals:

Equal opportunities

Disabled or chronically ill students are offered the same opportunities as all other students.

  • University applicants get information and advice about hardship provisions and admission requirements.
  • Information regarding the application for compensation for disadvantages and for being exempted from paying study fees are provided. Additionally, we advise the FHWS examination board by providing statements.
  • Compensation for disadvantages due to disability or chronic illness is actively promoted. Among others, we advise students on possible cost coverage for aids or refer them to the respective internal or external service units/authorities.
  • Students with disabilities can take advantage of personal consultation - free of charge and fully accessible. In particular, students with disabilities or chronic illnesses are informed about the possibilities to get cost coverage for extra needs according to the German Social Code; they are also referred to the respective authorities.
  • In an easy and accessible way, students have the opportunity to share their ideas, name problems and hand in complaints.

Autonomy

Students with disabilities or chronic illnesses are able to use services without external help and self-determined.

  • Accessibility of FHWS is being further developed. Special effort is made in the following areas: developing structural and technical conditions; improving accessibility of the FHWS website, e-Learning, and the Student Portal, but also the accessibility of courses.
  • The FHWS page Studying with Disabilities serves as information hub where students can get relevant information (on counselling/advice services, legal information, funding possibilities, compensation for disadvantages, accessibility) autonomously.
  • Resources and opportunities of students with disabilities or chronic illnesses are actively promoted and their participation is improved. In terms of advisory services, students are mainly supported by internal services.

Raising awareness

Awareness among teaching staff, administrative staff and students is raised so they become more sensitive to matters of students with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

  • The teaching staff is supported by the advisory role of the Officer for Disabled Students in various boards and at FHWS.
  • Checklists for courses and external events are created and published. Additionally, the Office for Disabled Students develops and organises training programmes for FHWS personnel.
  • Internal advisory services are open to students with disabilities or chronic illnesses; these services want to be a first point of contact covering the needs of students affected. In order to fulfil their mission, advisors have to understand additional demands and the system of support.

“At the end of every semester, the officer reports to the university management about special occurrences and, if required, necessary measures.” (§ 13 Section 3 Statutes of FHWS)

Efficiency

Using available resources and integrating them into university structures.

  • Networking and cooperating with other higher education institutions and advisory offices (Studentenwerk, service unit KIS) is actively pursued. Contacts to associations and authorities that improve the living conditions of persons with disabilities are being developed.
  • Advisory services at FHWS are being constantly interconnected and are available for all matters that affect persons with disabilities or chronic illnesses. This includes that students get needs-oriented advice and information.

It is assumed that students with disabilities or chronic illnesses have an increased need for support. 11 % of all students state that they suffer from a health impairment that has a negative impact on their studies. More than 50 % of those students are affected by a severe or very severe impairment and need particular support (cf. Middendorff, E. et al, 2016, p. 36f).