Philosophy of Practice
Our philosophy of practice guides our work with students, parents, and the campus community. This philosophy rests on five central themes grounded in research and best practices.
- Student learning and development. Students will develop a great deal during their college career. DRS recognizes that development is not a uniform process for all college students. Rather, we recognize a diversity of pathways toward individual and holistic growth. Our goal is to foster development by creating opportunities for learning and growth so that students increase their capacity to think critically and problem-solve. This process gradually moves students’ concept of control from an external orientation to an internal orientation.
- Parent partnership. Parents or guardians are unique and highly knowledgeable collaborators in the student development and learning process. Parents or guardians are allies to their students and maintain a great capacity to create a safe space where students can share joys, challenges, and insights from their experiences at Western Washington University. Parents or guardians in their roles as advocates, mentors, and loved ones, form a large portion of the support network for students with disAbilities in higher education.
- Self-advocacy. As students progress toward an internally-oriented concept of control, they will recognize the importance and sustainability of engaging in self-advocacy. For many students, DRS is the last accommodations provider they will encounter before they enter the workforce. Gaining the skills and knowledge necessary for self-advocacy is a critical step in ensuring a smooth transition toward life after Western.
- Campus partnerships. DRS serves to provide equal access to all aspects of the college experience, from academics to the co-curricular. DRS recognizes that campus partnerships with other professionals, departments, and colleges within the University help to make equal access a reality. DRS values and rely upon campus partnerships in order to create clear lines of communication so that students served by our office are able to meet their full potential while at Western. Additionally, DRS strives to learn the needs of professionals and departments across campus, and supply support and collaboration when appropriate.
- The college transition. WWU is a complex institution which differs greatly from high schools and community colleges. The process of receiving accommodations at the university level requires students to maintain a proactive approach, engaging in self-advocacy throughout their years at Western. Professionals at DRS understand the many layers of transition, from the first quarter experience until graduation. DRS aims to collaborate with students in order to make meaning of the college transition, and help students accomplish personal and academic goals along the way.