Student Accessibility and Accommodation (SAA) Orientation August 17, 2018 - Recap

   Picture of Peggy Perno  

Peggy J Perno, MSW, LICSW – Director, Student Accessibility and Accommodation


At this year’s SAA New Student Orientation we had 102 students and 114 family members. It was a pleasure for all of us at SAA to see how much you all enjoyed the program. Our speakers provided a lot of information and we received an excellent suggestion to provide a recap with each speaker’s key points. The main points from my opening speech are:

     ·   SAA students, who attend classes, go to their professor’s office hours, use their accommodations, and use the resources in the Center for Writing, Learning & Teaching are very successful.

     ·   SAA students have been writing advisors, tutors, research assistants, peer academic advisors and leaders on campus

     ·   SAA staff is here to remove barriers while encouraging realistic independence.

     ·   Accommodations in higher education are used to provide access to academic programs and university activities. Course requirements and academic standards are not changed or lowered.

     ·   All new students will have individual meetings with me to discuss accommodations.

     ·   If you are having a problem on campus and you do not know where to go for assistance, start with SAA. We have walk-in hours, when school is in session, Monday – Friday, 10 – 4.

Picture of Kariann Lee

Kariann Lee – Assistant Director of Academic Advising 



       · The University of Puget Sound is faculty-based advising. That means that first-year students have a faculty member who acts as their advisor. During the first semester, they are in class with their faculty advisor (FA). This allows the student to build a relationship with that faculty member.

       · First year students will also have a Peer Advisor (PA). These students are upperclassmen who are trained by us and work out of our office to support your academic transition to Puget Sound. You will be hearing from them frequently – you can also reach out to them too! Their hours are more flexible than a faculty members’ hours.

       · PAs will stay with you throughout your first year, while your FA will be your FA until you change advisors.

       · Please communicate with both your faculty and peer advisors as fully as you feel comfortable! They will be able to better advocate for you if they know about you!

       · The process to declare your major happens through the Office of Academic Advising. Please do not worry about this until your sophomore year. You need to have a faculty advisor in the department of the major you declare.

       · I am a resource for you, whether it is regarding academic planning, to discussing specific timing issues with classes, to planning foreign language substitution course. If you are having academic difficulty, you can speak with your FA and PA, but I am also happy to help.

       · Use the resources available and please communicate, especially as soon as you start having an issue or realize you need help! Across departments, we all collaborate together and work hard to support students. Our most successful students identify the resources across campus early and get connected to them right away.




  Finn Secrist – Transfer Evaluator 

  · Services provided by the Registrar’s Office

                    o Transcript requests – these are most easily completed online at Students can also requested on by logging onto their myPugetSound student portal.

                    o Enrollment verifications (for insurance companies, scholarships, etc.)

                    o Personal information updates (e.g., name, address, phone number, gender)

                    o Transfer credit questions (including AP/IB credit, study abroad, and credit from other US institutions)

                    o Graduation applications

                    o NCAA athletics and club sport eligibility verification

  · Fall 2018 Registration Deadlines are listed on our website:  

  · Students can complete a “Permission to Release Student Information” form at our office.  Per FERPA rules, university faculty and staff are not permitted to discuss information about the student’s record with anyone other than the student unless they sign this release form.  Students specify which of the following they want to be released, and they indicate to whom it can be released:

                    o Midterm and final grades to be mailed to specified address(es);

                    o Academic information (e.g., grades, class schedule, degree progress, academic standing);

                    o Conduct (information pertaining to the Student Integrity Code)

  · What are the ways that a student can make up for a course unit if they take 3 rather than 4 courses?

                    o One of the easiest ways to earn elective credit without having an overload (that is, more than 4.75 units in a single semester) is to take a little bit of activity credit.  We have several PE classes worth 0.25 unit, and students may take up to 2 units of activity credit toward your graduation requirements.  There are also a few 0.25 unit academic courses, such as ENVR 354 Contemplative Environments.

                    o Students can also take courses in the summer, either here on campus or by transferring work from another school.  For transfer work, make sure to touch base with the Registrar’s Office beforehand to ensure the credit is approved to transfer.


Picture of Sarah Shives

     Sarah Shives – Assistant Dean of Students


       · Here’s a helpful link to our referral guide for student concerns:

       · Please contact us if you have concerns* for your student’s well-being and/or if you are trying to understand their options for resources on campus.

        *In case of immediate emergency, call Security Services.


Assistant Director of Residence Life

Residence Life works closes with SAA on a number of housing accommodations – from Emotional Support Animals (ESA) to single rooms. These accommodations are approved by SAA and housing follows up with the students to determine the best fit out of available housing options. Students returning to housing their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year should carefully evaluate their housing needs and ensure any accommodations are approved prior to housing selection or the upcoming year which begins in the late fall. Questions about housing can always be directed to .


Picture of Rachael Shelden

Rachael Shelden – Interim Director for the Center for Writing, Learning, & 



 Time management is one of the most important skills you need in college in order to be successful—and one of the most important in our lives after college. And yet, it’s one of the most commonly cited challenges for first-year students, both according to national surveys and surveys taken on our own campus. There are two basic reasons that college students tend to struggle with time management.

   1.     KNOWLEDGE GAP: Many time management problems that new students struggle with come from the misconception that going to college is just like beginning a new grade. The rules in college are fundamentally different from the rules in high school and learning how to navigate them can be tricky.

          ·  In high school the majority of learning is done in class. What you need to do and how is relatively structured and you can be reasonably certain that you will not be held responsible for any material that is not also covered in class.

          ·  In college, it is expected that most of your learning will be done independently. Reading assignments, papers, and tests ARE how you learn the material, and class is where you practice skills with which you are expected to have already familiarized yourself. For students who fail to realize this, it will seem as if, all of a sudden, you have more free time. And herein lies the problem! Being a student is a full-time job—that is, at least 40 hours a week.

          ·  If you’re unsure how much studying you should be doing outside of class, start with 2 hours of independent studying for every hour you spend in each class. Since studies show that students almost universally underestimate the amount of time they need to study, start by over preparing, and then you can dial things back at midterms if you realize that you’ve been doing more work than you need to.

   2.     SKILLS GAP: Even when you understand the key differences and increased demands of college, rising to meet them is very challenging! Effective time management is dependent on a number of interrelated processes known as “executive skills.” The term comes from the neuroscience literature and refers to the brain-based skills required to execute tasks and solve problems. Executive skills encompass things like task initiation, planning, and impulse control (among others) and they work together to help us carry out the tasks of daily living and develop a plan to achieve our life goals.

          ·  Why is it important to think about these skills separately? Well, for example, you might struggle with time management not because you can’t keep track of the time, but because you tend to procrastinate (task initiation); or you may not know what steps to take in order to get started on an overwhelming project (planning); or your five-minute study break might turn into a five-hour YouTube spiral (impulse control).

          ·  Becoming more aware of our strengths and weaknesses is the first step to developing better habits and becoming better students.




Chelsea Bairy – Senior Dining Services Manager


The Diner attempts to meet all dietary needs. On our menu boards you’ll find allergen icons, including the top 8 allergens, gluten and vegan and vegetarian icons. For additional nutritional information visit . Here you will find Diner menus up to two weeks in advance, allergen and nutritional information. We also have an allergy friendly station that only prepares food free of the top 8 allergens and gluten. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or are not finding the food you’re looking for. We’re happy to meet with you and discuss options. For additional dietary needs and questions please contact

       · DCS encourages you to tour the Diner and get familiar with food options. We serve an al la cate menu and you can combine food from different stations. For example, combining the zucchini noodles at Chef’s Table with meatballs and read sauce from Italian, or grabbing a chicken breast from the grill and adding it to your salad from the salad bar. The options are endless.

       · The Diner can become pretty crowded at peak meal times. If you’d prefer a quieter atmosphere join us for lunch before 11:45am or after 12:40pm. Take a tour around the Wheelock Student Center and find a comfortable place to enjoy your meals, beyond the seating in Marshall Hall there are couches and chairs throughout the building.