Access Services / Winona Campus


Access Services Policy

All students have been accepted by the College based on their ability to succeed academically and are required to meet the same academic and technical standards.

Access Services provides academic support and accommodations to students with disabilities or temporary conditions. Accessing accommodations is an ongoing and interactive process where information can be gathered from the student and from other relevant sources. We ask that students interview with Access Services to discuss their requests. We prefer students to present any documentation that describes their disability and the impact on educational experiences and in the educational environment early in the process. Each student’s requests will be evaluated on an individual basis.

The purpose of documentation is to assist in providing information and understanding how the courses or facilities might present barriers and to what degree the disability affects the student, and to plan for accommodations to facilitate access.


Some Examples of Disabilities

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD/ADD)
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Psychiatric Disabilities
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Head Injury/Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Physical Disabilities and Systemic Illnesses
  • Deafness/Hearing Impairment
  • Blindness/Low Vision
  • Disabilities that are sporadic or degenerative in nature
  • Temporary conditions

Requesting Accommodations

Each semester you will need to request a meeting with Karen Hemker, Director of Access Services, for the classes in which you would like to receive accommodations. You may do that any time after the beginning of the semester.

Note Taking

Access Services can provide notes to the student. This is a confidential accommodation provided by our office.

Having a note taker is not a substitute for attending class. Skipping multiple classes may result in the loss of this accommodation.

If you are concerned about the quality of the notes being provided, please ask your professor to evaluate them. Please notify Disability Support Services if a class is dropped.

Alternate Format Textbooks

Books are available in alternate formats for qualified students to assist them in the successful completion of their classes. Eligible students should meet with the Director of Access Services after registering for their classes to determine what books are needed. Students must provide proof of purchase of their books to meet copyright laws of publishers.

Testing Accommodations

Steps for Testing Accommodations in the Student Success Center (SSC):

Notification/Testing Request

∙ The professor has been emailed the Notice of Accommodations Form.

Pretest Procedure

  1. Notify the Student Success Center (SSC) of your exam at least 48 hours before the exam.  Sign up for an exam time by completing the Testing Form Fall 2018.
  2. Come to the Student Success Center and pick up a testing envelope.
  3. Fill out steps 1-5 on the testing envelope.  
  4. Envelopes must be delivered to faculty prior to the end of class during the last meeting before the exam. This will ensure that your exam will be in the SSC for testing on the day of the exam. This is the student’s responsibility and failure to deliver the envelope could result in the student testing in the classroom for that particular test. An example would be if you have a M/W/F class and your exam is on Friday, the envelope needs to be in the instructor’s hands on Wednesday, by the end of the class period, to ensure the instructor knows you plan to take the exam in the SSC.
  5. If you are taking the exam at a different time due to back to back courses, make sure you discuss this with your faculty member and complete the testing form box number 5.
  6. Tests should typically be taken at the same time as the class unless that time does not allow for extended time in the student schedule. Discuss this alternate time with your instructor. The instructor must approve the alternate time on the testing envelope so the exam will be in place in the SSC.

Testing Policy*

∙ The student must arrive on time to take the exam. The exams are scheduled in our office for a certain time and that is when we will begin timing the exams. Exceptions to that policy need to be approved by the instructor.

∙ Students will leave their backpacks, coats, hats, cell phones, and other electronic devices such as a smart watch in the SSC office prior to the exam.

∙ The exam will be administered according to the Testing Accommodations Form provided by the instructor.

∙ If the student is taking the exam in advance of other students or at a date after the other students, he/she agrees that they will not refer to this exam in any way. If asked by others about the exam, the student agrees to not give out any information or hints regarding it and students may not ask others about the content of the exam.

∙ Students using assistive technology as an accommodation are only allowed to access the computer programs as designated by the SSC or instructors when granted a computer for test taking.

∙ Students are monitored through a camera while taking exams in the SSC.

Please save the Testing Link 2019 for future reference.  The policies have not changed. 48 hours prior to the exam you must sign up on the link, and the last class period before the exam, the instructor should have the envelope.

* Failure to follow these procedures could result in testing privileges being revoked in the SSC.


Academic Dishonesty

Students at Saint Mary’s University are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty. If a Student Success Center staff member suspects a student of academic dishonesty, they will stop the exam and confiscate any questionable materials along with the exam. A review of the recording on camera will be used if needed.  The instructor will determine the academic consequences for the exam according to the current SMU catalog policy for academic dishonesty.

Request for Academic Accommodation
Recording Lectures

In some cases, students with disabilities may record their class lectures. The student is responsible for the set up of equipment and for the recording of the lecture. Once recorded, it may not be shared with other students. The professor and/or Access Services may stipulate conditions for recording. All files are to be erased, deleted, or destroyed at the end of the semester.

Priority Registration

At times, students who are registered with Access Services are eligible for priority registration so that they can establish a class schedule that will accommodate their physical and/or academic needs. Time should be allowed between classes so that exams can be taken with extended time at the same time as the class. You must meet with your advisor prior to registering to discuss this accommodation.

Temporary Conditions

Temporary conditions are conditions such as a broken leg, illness, or hospitalization. They are not disabilities and are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a student who has been recently hospitalized, had an accident, or had a family emergency, you may want to be aware of the following information.

Student Checklist for Assistance during Temporary Conditions

Temporary conditions are conditions such as a broken leg, illness, or hospitalization. They are not disabilities and are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a student who has been recently hospitalized, had an accident, or had a family emergency, you may want to be aware of the following information. You may need only a few of these resources; all are included for your convenience.

  • It may be helpful to provide campus offices with your cell phone number.
  •  Contact each of your professors to let them know of your absence as soon as possible. Clarify what you need to do while you are away from class and follow up promptly. If you cannot meet a deadline, be sure to contact your professor to ask what you need to do. Any changes in deadlines are at the professor’s discretion.
  • In addition, you may ask Student Health Services to notify your professors of your absence. This is not an excused absence, but an official SMU absence notification. (This does not take the place of #1). If the student will miss more than one day of class and/or miss a test/quiz/major project the student should make an appointment in Student Health for evaluation and verification of the health concern. If the student must return home for an extended period of time, or has documentation from a health care provider describing the nature of the student’s health condition and the length of time the student will miss classes, the student should speak with a nursing professional in Student Health Services and provide the necessary documentation. Student Health will then notify the Student Success Center that an absence is due to a health concern. The Student Success Center will send a general email to the student’s instructors.
  •  If your class notes are not on blackboard or you do not have access to Tegrity for this class, ask a classmate to take notes in each of your classes and copy or email the notes to you. Thank them.
  •  Student Health Services the Wellness Center may provide a medical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Documentation of medical treatment can also be provided. Additional support, such as assistance with food services or temporary parking is also provided through this office. Contact Christina Uribe NItti at: or 507-457-1493.
  • Communicate with your professors by email and keep a file of your communication during your absence. This is your primary communication regarding your academic progress, so place top priority on it.
  • All SMU students are welcome to use the resources through Learning Assistance Services in the Student Success Center, contact, 457-1414, Director of Learning Services.
  • Counseling Services in the Wellness Center provides emotional/mental health therapy and support. Contact: Dr. Ruth Mathews, 507-457-1773.
  • If you have a temporary disabling condition, contact the Student Success Center. You may be able to arrange academic accommodations for tests that are missed during your temporary condition. If the temporary condition becomes a permanent disability you will want to register with this office for academic accommodations through Karen Hemker, 457-1465 or

Saint Mary’s University resources for students:

Counseling Services:

Access Support Services:

Residence Life:

Campus Safety:

Student Health Services:

Student Success Center:



Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy

The following link reviews the new policy for animals that provide emotional support and services. It explains:

  1. Definitions
  2. Procedure to Request a Service Animal in University Housing
  3. Procedure to Request an Emotional Support Animal in University Housing
  4. Conflicting Disabilities
  5. Owner’s Responsibilities in University Housing
  6. Expectations of Faculty, Staff, Students
  7. Removal of Approved Animal
  8. Damages
  9. Roommate/Suitemate Acknowledgement

Please click on the following link to download a PDF of our current policy. 

Service and Emotional Support Animal Policy

Request Form for Emotional Support Animal



Discussing Accommodations with Professors

It is expected that the student will initiate a conversation with the professor regarding their needs and accommodations for their classes as soon as possible. Students are responsible for discussing the Notice of Accommodation email with their professor.

Discussing academic concerns or disability related accommodations with professors can be difficult, especially the first time. Below are steps to help you with this proccess. 

  • Schedule your meeting as early in the semester as possible. 
    • Find a time during scheduled office hours, or by appointment, to meet privately with your professor. Arrange the meeting early in the semester.
  • Start in your comfort zone.
    •  If it feels overwhelming to talk to all your professors, start by meeting the ones you are most comfortable around. As you gain confidence, schedule the other meetings.
  • Organize your thoughts, or even role-play, prior to the meeting. 
    • Think about your accommodation requests or any information you may want to discuss.
  • Let the accommodations be your guide. 
    • Focus the discussion on your accommodations, not your disability. You do not need to disclose your diagnosed disability to receive accommodations.
  • Discuss testing arrangements with your professor.  
    • This would be a good time to talk about when and where you will be taking your exams. You will want to discuss testing times if your class schedule does not allow you to take your exams at the same time as the class (i.e. night classes or back-to-back classes. 
  • Be open to suggestions or comments from instructors.
    •  Accommodations often require a collaborative effort and instructors are frequently able to offer creative suggestions for implementing accommodations.


What happens if I'm sick on the day of an exam?

Please notify your professor AND the Student Success Center. It will be up to your professor’s discretion if and/or when you are allowed to make it up. Your professor will need to contact Access Services to approve the new time.

What if a test date changes or gets cancelled?

Simply notify Access Services.

Help is a good thing

As a student who has always had to seek out additional assistive technology in order to maintain honorable grades and remain an active class participant, Erik Qvale has developed the skill of finding what works.  His learning challenges have often required him to use tools and seek assistance.  Finding resources is a skill that was not easily learned as a young child, but as the years went on Erik became progressively more involved in ensuring he had everything necessary to be successful in the classroom.

Erik chose to come to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota because he and his family agreed that Saint Mary’s strong academic support center offered him the best opportunity to be successful. He has worked with Karen Hemker, Director of Saint Mary’s Access Services, since day one of his freshman year.

Erik is now in his last year at Saint Mary’s University and is finishing up his double major in Sports Management and Marketing. He is also participating in a marketing internship with the familiar faces of the Saint Mary’s Student Success Center. He is working hand and hand with Karen Hemker to promote and market this newly formed Student Success Center as a resource for all students on campus. He plans to create student and faculty workshops that demonstrate the resources and technologies that are currently used and the benefits to all students.  “I originally use alternative learning technology as a way to be able to keep up with other students in the classroom.  Now, it has become such a part of my life I feel it has lessoned the burden so much that today there is technology that can help any student succeed, whether they are looking to become more efficient and/or just be more thorough in their studies.” -Erik Qvale

Erik now works with students to demonstrate programs and applications that can assist student learning. His site can be viewed by clicking the following link: ESQ

Winona Daily News Article – Erik Qvale