The McBurney Disability Resource Center, a division of the Dean of Students Office, is the disabled student services office at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The McBurney Center's mission is to create an accessible university community for students with disabilities. Creating this community is a collaborative effort involving the student, the faculty and the McBurney Center staff. The University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty, in collaboration with McBurney Center staff, has established policies regarding instructional access and accommodation via Faculty Documents 1143 and 1071

The VISA (Verified Individualized Services and Accommodation) is a written record of the accommodations recommended by the McBurney staff for the student whose name appears on the document. Accommodations are designed to provide the student with an equal opportunity to participate in all educational activities. The roles of the student, faculty and McBurney Center in the development and implementation of the VISA are described below.

Student's Role:

Students request support services/accommodations; provide the McBurney Center with sufficient disability-related documentation from an appropriate licensed professional; and describe the impact of their disability in an academic setting. Students are expected to request accommodation in a timely manner with the appropriate university personnel.

McBurney Center's Role:

The McBurney Center reviews disability documentation, verifies that the documentation satisfies disability verification guidelines and implements an intake process with the student to assess the impact of the disability or disorder. McBurney Center staff may also communicate with departments or individual faculty members to better understand the nature of the course or program as part of the intake process. At the conclusion of the intake process, students receive a VISA and training on the recommended services.

Faculty's Role:

As needed, the faculty member meets with the student to discuss accommodation recommendations and make suitable arrangements for those accommodations as appropriate. If faculty have questions regarding the provision or appropriateness of the recommended accommodations, they are encouraged to contact the McBurney accommodations specialist noted on the VISA, or the departmental Access and Accommodation Resource Coordinator (AARC).

Access and Accommodation Resource Coordinator's (AARC) Role:

The AARC is a departmentally designated representative responsible for providing information and referral to address accommodation concerns for faculty and students, and for providing information to students who wish to initiate a formal appeal.

Current federal and state legislation (Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1973, Wisconsin State Statute 36.12) states that academically qualified students with disabilities be reasonably accommodated in instruction and academic assessment. In order to be eligible for services, students must have a documented disability. A disability is legally defined as a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting one or more major life activities (e.g., walking speaking, seeing, hearing, sitting, breathing, learning, or caring for oneself). Recommended accommodations are intended to provide equal access as required by law; they are not intended to fundamentally alter the course/program or to create an undue financial or administrative burden to the faculty or university.