Students Seek Support at Student Success Center

By Cameron Enders, Out and About Section Editor

According to the CDC, up to 25% of U.S. adults have some sort of disability, and as a society, we must strive to be compassionate and accommodate everyone in our society.

One place that has often left those who need additional support is schools. But in the past decade or so, public schools, private schools, and places of higher education have strived to become more accommodating.

Daemen is no exception to this, as the university promotes accessibility through the Student Success Center, located on the first floor of the Research and Information Commons (RIC). The Student Success Center offers three distinct services open to all students who may need support.

The first is Academic Advice, which allows students to get in touch with an advisor who is assigned to them before they start classes and generally teaches a class in their major.

This advisor can help students plan their degrees, decide what classes to register for each semester, and set educational goals. To find your advisor, you can go to MyDaemen, then to Self Service, then Student Planning, then My Progress, and finally click Show Program Notes.

The second key part of the Student Success Center is Academic Support and Engagement, which gives students the opportunity to meet with free academic coaches.

Most of these coaches are fellow students who have received a recommendation from a professor of the subject they coach. Students can schedule individual or group sessions with these advisors to help them with most subjects that they are struggling with.

Students can book up to two sessions a week per course with an academic coach here in biology, composition, accounting, and many more subjects.

Students are also able to receive writing assistance and specified tutoring in the Natural Science department from the Natsci Educational Resource Direction (NERD).

“I have experienced using academic coaching for math classes in the past; my advisor recommended it to me,” Alpha Bah, a business administration major (2025), said when asked about his experience with academic coaching.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say 7.5,” Bah said when asked about how helpful the academic coaching was.

He stated his primary gripe with the coaching was, “I didn’t end up with the best score in the class. And sometimes they [the academic coaches] wouldn’t be able to meet because they’re students and have stuff to do as well.”

Finally, Accessibility Services is open to all students who have documented disabilities and require additional support or accommodation.

According to the university, the goal is to provide “reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.” These accommodations include extra testing time, unique dietary needs, and anything a student may need to make their life at Daemen equitable.

Students can email Accessibility Services at or call (716) 839-8228 to request accommodations and schedule a meeting with Debbie Dimitrovski, Director of Accessibility Services. Linked here is the university’s disability documentation guideline for receiving accommodation. 

“I was encouraged by some professors just to see if alternate testing locations and extended time would be helpful for me, which ended up being extremely helpful,” Olivia Warrington, a physician’s assistant and health sciences major (2024), said when asked about her experience with Accessibility Services.

Warrington also shared a hurdle in receiving accommodations, saying, “There was not a procedure in place for time accommodations for graduate labs for the PA [physician’s assistant] program.”

“So, I scheduled meetings with Mrs. Debbie [Debbie Dimitrovski] and talked extensively with PA faculty. And to my knowledge, they also had a few combined meetings after I spoke with them just to develop a protocol for implementing accommodations,” Warrington said.

Warrington informed me that, after some time, a new section to the accommodation letter was added for lab-based accommodations. 

While these services are open to most students, Daemen also offers more specialized support for those with disabilities.

One such program is College Autism Transition Support (CATS), which provides life skills coaching, academic support, and the college transition process for those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Specific coaching hours and topics of discussion depend on the needs of the individual enrolled in the program. The program costs $2,000 a semester, and more information can be found here.

Another opportunity for students with disabilities is potential enrollment in the Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society, which over 200 academic institutions have a chapter. It is an academic honor society specifically for those with a disability and outstanding school performance that allows students to get connected to other students with disabilities and work to further disability awareness in the community.

When asked about the number of students who take advantage of the Accessibility Services alone, Dimitrovski said, “At that point in time [two years ago, when she started at Daemen], we had about 140 students; now we’re over 300.”

While the number of students who are taking advantage of Accessibility Services has doubled over the past two years, there are always more students who don’t get the help they need.

This is supported by data from a U.S. Department of Education survey that states that 37% of college students reported their disability to their college or university. This means that around two-thirds of college students never receive any accommodations that may benefit them.

“There’s probably a lot more students out there that are unaware of service; that is what I’ve heard from students,” Dimitrovski said.

One major reason seems to be that students do not know these accommodation services exist on campus, and even if they do, they may not know they would qualify for them. A Mental Health America survey of 471 college students with mental health hurdles found that 33% of respondents did not know accommodations existed. Another 41% of respondents stated they felt they were not “sick enough” to pursue accommodations, and the final 26% stated they were afraid to talk to professors about getting accommodations.

The overarching problems that create this mindset of not getting accommodations that would make a student’s life accessible cannot be solved by a single institution. But what can Daemen do to encourage more students to take advantage of student success services?

One way the university is currently pursuing this is by creating flyers to promote the Student Success Center and ensuring that incoming students are told about what resources are available to them at open houses. Professors also promote the Student Success Center in their syllabi that are gone over at the first class of the semester.

“I think having a peer-type influence that just kind of is a source of information in addition to the information provided by the faculty and syllabi because sometimes approaching a faculty member about something like that can be intimidating,” Warrington said.

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