Lab/Discussion Assistant

Policy

The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) engages in an interactive process with each student and reviews requests for accommodations on an individualized, case-by-case basis. Depending on the nature and functional limitations of a student’s documented disability, they may be eligible to work with a laboratory (lab) or discussion assistant. The provision of a lab/discussion assistant is not considered a substitute for a student’s full participation in each lab or discussion section.

 

Student Responsibilities

  • Students approved for a lab/discussion assistant must provide the CSD with the necessary course information
    including class, location, meeting times, instructor name and contact information, as well as a copy of the syllabus.
  • Be appropriately prepared for, attend and participate in each lab/discussion meeting.
  • Contact the CSD as soon as possible if any issues arise regarding this accommodation (e.g., lab/discussion assistant does not show up, arrives late on a regular basis, etc.).

 

CSD Responsibilities

  • Hire a qualified lab/discussion assistant who meets the following criteria:
    • Is in good academic standing with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher;
    • Has completed the any required health and safety training;
    • Attends each scheduled lab/discussion;
    • Preference may be given to students with prior knowledge of the subject matter.
  • Once a lab/discussion assistant has been identified, provide the student and lab instructor with the lab assistant’s contact information.
  • Resolve any issues that arise regarding this accommodation.

 

A lab assistant is a student employee hired by the CSD who assists with various lab requirements and procedures that students are unable to complete (e.g., retrieval of supplies or equipment). Lab assistants are hired to aid students with disabilities with the physical mechanics and dexterity requirements of lab activities (e.g., lifting, pouring). Lab assistants are required to complete the appropriate health and safety training as required by the Division of Environmental Health and Safety. In addition, lab assistants:

  • Will perform only those tasks directed by the student;
  • Are used as a tool, not as a teacher or tutor;
  • Will not prompt or guide a student in performing a lab task;
  • Will not explain nor interpret lab assignments/questions.
Qualifications include:
  • Ability to exercise discretion and maintain confidentiality of the student;
  • Ability to express verbally what is seen in a descriptive manner;
  • Effective communication skills;
  • Responsible, professional and dependable;
  • Respectful of different learning styles;
  • Ability to follow multi-step directions;
  • Previous experience in and knowledge of the subject area preferred but not required.

Students are responsible for notifying the CSD if any concerns arise regarding the lab assistant’s performance. Students will also have the opportunity to evaluate the lab assistant’s performance at the end of the semester.

A discussion assistant is a student employee hired by the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) who assists a student with various tasks and/or procedures within a discussion course (e.g., provide verbal description of images, retrieve supplies or equipment, etc.). Discussion assistants are required to complete any training required by the faculty prior to participating in the discussion. Specifically, discussion assistants:

  • Will perform only those tasks directed by the student;
  • Are used as a tool, not as a teacher or tutor;
  • Will not prompt or guide a student in performing a discussion task;
  • Will not interpret assignments/questions.
Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Completion of any required training;
  • Meet with student to discuss needed areas of assistance;
  • Attend each scheduled discussion;
  • Provide individual assistance for discussion activities as directed by the student.
Qualifications include:
  • Ability to exercise discretion and maintain confidentiality of the student;
  • Ability to express verbally what is seen in a descriptive manner;
  • Effective communication skills;
  • Responsible, professional and dependable;
  • Respectful of different learning styles;
  • Ability to follow multi-step directions;
  • Previous experience in and knowledge of the subject area preferred but not required.

 
 
Any questions regarding this policy and procedure should be directed to Jennifer Lucia, Associate Director, at (860) 486-2020 or jennifer.lucia@uconn.edu.