Disability Services


The McDaniel College community is caring and supportive, with high academic and personal expectations for each student.  The goal of the College and this program is to enable every student to achieve a full and productive life. Student Academic Support Services (SASS) assists all students with documented disabilities. The SASS Office works with each student on a case-by-case basis to determine and implement appropriate accommodations based on individual needs.

The mission of the Student Academic Support Services Office is to assist in creating an accessible college community where students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the educational environment.  We cooperate through partnerships with students, faculty, and staff to promote students’ independence, self-advocacy, and full academic potential.  Our department works within the McDaniel community to enhance educational outcomes for our students and promote the recognition of students’ capabilities.

Our Goals

The SASS Office strives to:

  • Provide appropriate accommodations and support services.
  • Provide referrals and information to a variety of campus resources.
  • Encourage and assist students with disabilities to develop greater independence.
  • Work with the College to remove architectural and programmatic barriers.
  • Increase faculty understanding of the needs of students with disabilities.
  • Assist the College in interpreting legal mandates that provide for students with disabilities.

SASS Registration Form

Please complete the SASS Registration Form Now to register with SASS.

Interpreting & Transcribing Services

Deaf / Hard of Hearing Student Responsibilities

Requests for interpreters/transcribers for special events, meetings or appointments must be submitted using the Interpreting and Transcribing Services request forms below at least two weeks in advance. A student can communicate preferences to the coordinator but should be flexible in accepting any interpreter, understanding that scheduling changes may occur and a preferred interpreter may not be available.           

Student Interpreter/Transcriber Request (Events, Mtgs, Appts)

Student Interpreter/Transcriber Request (Registered Courses)

Academic Accommodations


Students who are requesting support services are required to submit documentation to verify eligibility under the ADA of 1990 and ADAAA of 2008.  The documentation must include medical or psychological information from a certified professional. This documentation assists our office in responding appropriately to the individual needs of the student.  For the most accurate assessment of current level of functioning, the SASS office encourages psycho-educational documentation to be no older than 3 years.  Student Academic Support Services reserves the right to determine eligibility for services based on the submitted documentation.  All documentation is confidential.


Student Academic Support Services works with each student on a case-by-case basis to determine and implement appropriate accommodations based on individual needs and documentation.  Accommodations are provided to assist the student in achieving the intended outcome of the course, as long as the accommodation does not alter the fundamental nature or requirements of the course or program.

Services Not Provided

Student Academic Support Services does not provide the following:

  • Comprehensive diagnostic evaluation for determining disabilities
  • Special classes for students with disabilities
  • A reduced standard for academic performance
  • Exemption from graduation requirements (some substitutions are allowed)

Program Descriptions


The SASS Office ensures that students with documented disabilities receive appropriate academic accommodations based on their individual needs. The Basic program level is free and provides access to all approved accommodations, assistive technology, and use of the testing center.

Mentorship Advantage Program (MAP)

MAP consists of interactive workshops designed to enhance students’ skills in areas such as socialization, organization, assistive technology, time management, resume writing, and interviewing. Students practice focus skills through a series of social events throughout the semester.

Providing Academic Support for Success (PASS)

PASS offers students the unique opportunity to learn with fellow students through group academic support sessions monitored by Graduate Assistants three evenings a week. A quiet environment and use of assistive technology enable students to make the most of study time.

Academic Skills Program (ASP)

The Academic Skills Program provides students with weekly one-on-one sessions with an Academic Counselor who will provide intensive support in academics, time management, organizational skills, and self-advocacy techniques. Academic counselors communicate with professors throughout the semester. Individual peer tutoring, weekly support sessions with Graduate Assistants, and priority registration ahead of their class are included.


Additional Opportunities

McDaniel Step Ahead

Step Ahead is a 5 1/2 day opportunity available to first year and new transfer students registered with the SASS Office. This intensive experience works to equip students with the necessary academic, independence, and social skills to assist with a smooth transition into college. Step Ahead peer mentors provide outreach throughout the semester. Learn more »

January Term Opportunities

SASS also offers unique Jan Term opportunities, including various study abroad and local options.


Student Academic Support Services is committed to ensuring that all information regarding a student is maintained as confidential as required or permitted by law. All educational records, including documentation, are protected under the confidentiality guidelines outlined in FERPA.*  For more information, please review the McDaniel College Undergraduate Student FERPA Policy and Notification of Rights under FERPA.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows disclosure of educational records to school officials with legitimate educational interests, without prior consent from the student. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an educational record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Also FERPA allows us to release academic information to the guardian that claims the student as a dependent on tax forms. Please review the McDaniel College Undergraduate Student FERPA Policy and Notification of Rights under FERPA.


McDaniel College
Student Academic Support Services

Suite 117
Merritt Hall
2 College Hill
Westminster, MD 21158
Phone: 410-857-2504

Fax: 410-386-4617
Email: sass@mcdaniel.edu

Register for SASS

Please complete this form to register with SASS.


Melanie Conley, Director

Dana Neville, Associate Director/Coordinator of Special Programs
Sarah Gould, McDaniel Step Ahead, Assistant Director/Academic Counselor
Hailey Morgan, Program Assistant/ Testing Coordinator
Lisa Breslin, SASS Consultant

Christa Binns, Academic Counselor
Britt Burr, Academic Counselor
Jaimie Ferguson, Academic Counselor
Kendra Heard, Academic Counselor
Jill Millison, Academic Counselor
Carol Riley, Academic Counselor

 ASL Kick1 2
Kickboxing in ASL

Rachel Hansell is a born fighter. Growing up deaf in a small town in western Maryland, she often pushed herself harder than her hearing peers to accomplish similar goals. Since arriving at McDaniel, Hansell ’12 hasn’t had to fight so hard.

Thanks in large part to the College’s world-renowned graduate program in deaf education, there is a genuine respect for deaf language and culture on campus. American Sign Language is a popular course with undergraduates and fulfills a second language requirement under the McDaniel Plan. At the pub, a flashing light alerts diners who can’t hear their names over the loudspeaker when their order is ready. In the Klitzberg Pavilion lounge by the gym, a large flat-screen TV is equipped with closed captioning. And any number of sign interpreters are made available to Hansell and other deaf students for each of their classes.

Still, the girl loves a challenge. Perhaps that’s why Hansell — who confesses she normally hates working out — could be found sweating and smiling early one morning in kickboxing class. Between trading jabs, she and her sparring partner stopped for tips from instructor Joe Dressel, while sign interpreter Karen Taylor stood to the side making his words visible.

“Everybody’s fighting something — financially, physically, mentally,” Dressel told the class at the end of the last session of the semester. “Kickboxing is a way to turn that struggle into something physical. You learn how to gain the courage to take the hits and roll with the punches and conquer it.”