Q: What is the Higgins Academic Center?
A: The Higgins Academic Center (HAC) is Randolph-Macon College's teaching and learning center. Its mission is to provide student academic support services to students and to facilitate and support the development of classroom pedagogies by faculty.
Q: Where is the Higgins Academic Center located?
A: The HAC offices are located on the first floor of the McGraw-Page Library.
Q: Is the HAC only for struggling students?
A: Absolutely not! Every student—even very strong students—can benefit from the services available at the HAC. Each year, more than half of all students at the College visit the HAC—and still others work as tutors, mentors, consultants, and clerical assistants.
Q: Is there any charge to use the HAC's services?
A: All of the HAC's core services, including tutoring and mentoring, disability support, and the speaking/presentation consultations and writing tutoring, are offered free of charge to students. From time-to-time, the HAC offers special workshops and opportunities that have a fee for participation. These are clearly specified on the publicity and registration materials for any such programs. In addition, diagnostic testing to evaluate students for disabilities is not provided in-house and carries fees for service.
Q: Do I need to worry that everyone will know I visited the HAC?/Will everyone know I have a disability?
A: Everything you say and do at the HAC (including disability support) is protected by FERPA regulations and the same guidelines that govern medical confidentiality. All peer tutors and mentors are bound by strict rules of confidentiality, as are all of the HAC's professional staff members. Information you provide concerning disabilities will only be shared with appropriate school officials or faculty members, and only with your consent.
Q: Does the HAC hire students?
A: Yes! The HAC hires about 60 students a year to serveas mentors, subject tutors, and writing and speaking tutors. The hiring for these positions takes place earlyin the Spring term for the following academic year. If you have ever benefitted from using one ofthe HAC's services, you are especially encouraged to apply for a position.
FAQs for Parents
Q: My student is resisting my encouragement to go to the HAC. Can someone reach out to him or her? Can I fill out the paperwork for him or her to receive disabilities accommodations?
A: All of the services available at the HAC require the active participation of the student seeking services—therefore, while we'll do our best to reach out to a struggling student, there are limits to how much we can do to convince students to avail themselves of the services we offer. This is particularly true when it comes to receiving accommodations for disabilities. To receive or qualify for accommodations, students must first fill out and sign a formal disclosure form (available on this website and at the HAC, and through the new student packet). Parents can and do help their son or daughter provide appropriate documentation of the disability, but must not complete this paperwork for them.
Q: Can I talk to the HAC or DSS office about my student?
A: Yes, but with an important caveat. Some information is confidential and may not be shared with parents (or anyone else) unless a written authorization is signed by the student. If a student declines to sign an authorization, the information that can be shared with parents (or anyone else) is limited.
Q: My son/daughter had an individualized education plan (IEP) in high school. Does that mean that he or she is guaranteed the same accommodations in college?
A: No. The laws governing K-12 students, primarily the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), are not applicable to college students. Instead, college students are protected as adults under the Americans with Disabilities Act, specifically Section 504. Therefore, the accommodations that your son or daughter had through an IEP may no longer be applicable. Once a student matriculates into an institution of higher education, IEPs no longer have a formal role, although they can be useful for helping the College identify areas where accommodations may be needed. Current documentation of the student's disability becomes the key to getting accommodations (testing must be completed using adult norms within the last three years for learning disabilities).
See TCNJ's website for additional information related to this topic.
Q: If my student registers for disabilities accommodations, will he or she be singled out? I'm worried about stigma.
A: Student privacy is legally protected. However, R-MC also works very hard to cultivate an environment where all students are welcome and accommodated appropriately. Disability stigma is an unfortunate reality, although R-MC is committed to limiting or eliminating it on campus to the extent possible.