Rollins College: Learning Support profile

College review by Diane Forman

Rollins College has a gorgeous campus located on the shores of Lake Virginia in Winter Park, Florida only ten minutes from downtown Orlando.  My visit was most enjoyable starting with a personal greeting from the Dean of Admission and Enrollment, David Erdmann, who grew up in Cranford, NJ and noticed that I was from Westfield and wanted to introduce himself.

The theme that pervades the campus is caring and building relationships between the students and faculty for academic success.   The admissions counselor was a 2006 graduate of Rollins and said the perfect fit is the student who wants a voice in the classroom. There is a vibe of relaxation yet the students take their studies seriously. While touring the campus and looking in on some of the classes, the students looked engaged in their learning.

The average class size is 17 and the classrooms are set up for an engaging learning experience; either a “round table” or traditional style, but nothing too large and often with some sort of comfortable seating like a couch in the middle of the room.  Some of the more popular majors are  Psychology, International Business  and Economics.

Sports are Division II with strong tennis and golf teams. There is some school spirit, especially for soccer.    Many students were lounging at one of the pools on campus or eating lunch outside by the lake.  The location lends itself to enjoying the sunshine.  While touring the cafeteria, Chef Gustavo introduced himself and was setting up for Spanish Culture Day.  I went back to the cafeteria after lunch to enjoy the live Spanish music.

My tour guide shared some traditions of the school, including Fox Day which occurs each Spring.  The president places a fox on the lawn and declares “Fox Day” which means classes are cancelled.  Students run around campus screaming “Fox Day”, pancakes are flipped through the air and must be caught on the students’ plates and then all the students are taken by bus to one of the theme parks.

While there are many activities on campus, the students say the town is part of their college life.  The downtown is steps away and consists of beautiful stores, restaurants and clubs.  According to our tour guide, Circa is one of the favorites.

Learning Support at Rollins College for Students with Disabilities

The learning support at Rollins College can be described as coordinated services.  Gail Ridgeway serves at the Disability Services Coordinator and is a wonderful resource for the students.  She has done a great job in setting up a system for the students to receive their accommodations and to follow up on ensuring that the accommodations are being used effectively.  Gail also plays a role in the student’s first semester schedule and can help the student with a foreign language substitution if necessary.

She believes in a collaborative approach and she describes the professors as very accommodating to the students with documented learning disabilities.  Gail also makes sure the students are plugged into the additional resources on campus if necessary such as tutoring or counseling.  Some of the accommodations that are available depending on the individual student’s documentation are: extended test time, scribes and readers for tests, distraction reduced testing area, assistive technology such as the Kurzweil, Open Book and Jaws, calculators, note takers and audio recording of the lectures.

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