Over the past year, Mercer’s Office of Access and Accommodations relocated and rolled out changes in their services.
The office has moved from the second to the main floor of the Connell Student Center, which is where the student post office used to reside.
“Being on the main floor where a lot of students come in, we’ve had a lot of stop-ins, so a lot of students seem to be able to find us,” said Katie Johnson, who works as the Director and ADA/504 Coordinator of the office.
She said the new office space offers more area that can be utilized for the services they offer the Mercer community. With pastel-colored walls, paintings and natural light, Johnson said the new space provides a calm environment where students can take tests and work with less distraction and stress.
The goal, Johnson said, is to provide an open space for students to “come in and feel comfortable and relaxed before they tackle what they have to do for school.”
The office now has three test rooms, with the capacity to host 11 total students for testing. Additionally, there are two offices for both Johnson and Testing Coordinator Andreena Patton, a lobby and a room devoted to creating materials such as braille for students with visual impairments.
Johnson said the testing rooms used to be a tight fit because files had to be stored in them, and a staff member also needed to be in the room to monitor testing. Now, there is space for the files to go elsewhere, and Patton’s office has a window that can see into the testing room for proctoring.
Evan McKenzie, a student worker for the office, said that the new office allows for fewer distractions while testing.
“I think the conditions are a lot nicer. Also, it’s nice that Mrs. Andreena is able to observe … without having to swing the door open,” he said.
Additionally, the office has transitioned from paper documentation to an online system. Students are now able to request accommodations, inform faculty of their accommodations, sign forms and more all through a program called Accommodate. This initiative aims to make the path to requesting accommodations more accessible for students and faculty, and it decreases the number of physical files that need to be stored in the office.
To learn more about the Office of Access and Accommodations or to begin the process of requesting accommodations, go to access.mercer.edu or visit the office in the Connell Student Center.
Mary Helene Hall ‘23 is a journalism and women’s and gender studies student who has worked for The Cluster throughout her time at Mercer. She spent the summer and fall semester of 2021 as a reporting intern at AL.com, Alabama's #1 media site, covering a variety of topics including politics, crime and culture.