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Student Handbook: HGSE Supports

Office of Student Affairs 

The Office of Student Affairs (OSA) supports student success by providing a variety of services, programs, and activities. Some of the programs and services OSA offers and supports includes: 

  • Orientation
  • Student Events 
  • Diversity & Inclusion 
  • Student Support Services 
  • Academic Coaching 
  • Access and Accommodations  
  • Sexual & Gender-Based Harassment 
  • Commencement 

More information about our supports and services can be found at: 

Accommodations: Process and Supports 

Harvard Graduate School of Education is committed to making all courses and related programs available to all students. As part of this mission, we welcome and provide assistance to qualified students with documented disabilities who are among our community, which is guided by the principles of inclusivity.

An eligibility is approval to receive assistance based on documentation and conversations with Student Support Services.

An accommodation is an eligibility requested for a specific class for a specific term. There is no one-to-one correspondence of disability to accommodation. Consideration is given to the student’s disability, history, experience, and the unique characteristics of the course, program, or requirement to determine whether a specific accommodation is reasonable. A clear understanding of how the disability impacts the student establishes the reasonableness of the accommodation for that individual. Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to the tasks, environment, or to the way things are usually done that enables individuals with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in an academic program. Ensuring that accommodations provide effective access requires a deliberate and collaborative process that is responsive to each individual’s unique experience. Engaging in a structured conversation around the disability, history, experience, and the unique characteristics of course enrollment is necessary to have an equal opportunity to participate in an academic program. This is true even if the student has never received formal accommodations or recently acquired a disability and is seeking guidance to determine accommodations that might be effective.

The process of requesting an eligibility and accommodations is as follows: 

  • Student completes the Disability Identification Form and submits documentation via email to Student Support Services
  • Student Support Services reviews documentation to determine eligibility
  • Once the eligibility for accommodations is established, Student Support Services emails student to confirm the student’s registration with Student Support Services and eligibility.
  • Student makes an appointment with the Senior Associate Director of Student Support Services, to review/discuss accommodations and policies and procedures
  • Student receives Accommodation Letter by email in 3-5 business days
  • After receiving the Accommodation Letter, student schedules a meeting with faculty and teaching fellows for each course to discuss the implementation/expectations of the accommodations in the context of each course. In some cases, a conference among the student, the faculty member, and Student Support Services may be necessary for optimal support. 

It is important that all parties engage in this work with the understanding that, according to federal educational laws, accommodations are provided in order to ensure access to the curriculum and learning opportunities consistent with the program and degree requirements.

Students with accommodations whose home institution is HGSE and who are cross-registered must notify the Senior Associate Director of Student Support Services to ensure the accommodations are communicated to the host school. In addition, for specific housing accommodations related to disability, students must complete the Housing Form for consideration. For additional support, contact the Senior Associate Director of Student Support Services.


Primary Responsibilities 

Office of Student Affairs (including Student Support Services and International Student Supports) Provides Academic Coaching and counseling and support related to academic progress; discusses needs with student; reviews and assesses eligibility for accommodations; determines appropriate supports/accommodations and makes referrals to appropriate resources. Provides counseling and support related to academic progress and integrity; supports international students in understanding the accommodations process.

Faculty Program Directors/Co-Chairs and Concentration Co-Chairs 

May identify need for student support and refer student to the Office of Student Affairs

Teaching Faculty and Teaching Fellows 

Review course level performance and report any integrity concerns to the Degree Programs Office 

Degree Programs Office (Ed.M., Ed.D., Ph.D., Ed.L.D.) 

Manages any initial concerns related to academic progress or integrity, reporting alleged violations to the academic dean 

Academic Dean 

Reviews all complaints and decides on a course of resolution 

Records pertaining to requests for accommodation are maintained separately from academic records and both are treated confidentially, with information shared only on a strict “need to know” basis. If a student receiving accommodations is not making sufficient academic progress towards program and degree requirements, this issue is taken up with the HGSE Degree Programs Office. In these cases, Student Support Services may serve as a support or resource to the student; however, Student Support Services does not oversee academic progress or make determinations or decisions about academic progress and/or requirements.

If a student with a disability disagrees with a determination of academic or non-academic accommodations (pursuant to the procedures described below), the student may request reconsideration of the decision by following the Harvard University Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedure. If a student with a disability wishes to resolve complaints concerning discrimination, they should follow the procedures laid out on the University Accessibility website.

HGSE Academic Coaching 

Academic Coaching is a personalized research-based service used to help students overcome academic challenges. A list of services is provided on the Office of Student Affairs Website. Students interested in Academic Coaching, please fill out the Academic Coaching Request Form.

I Notice/I Care Form

The I Notice/I Care Form (INIC) provides an opportunity for anyone who is concerned about the well-being of a student to raise those concerns. All submissions to the INIC are followed up on by the appropriate office and students are connected with resources aligned with their needs. Use of the INIC creates a culture of personal well-being, belonging, and academic success and aids school administration in becoming aware of a student who may be distressed and responding in a supportive, proactive, and individualized manner.

HGSE Academic Writing Center and Communications Lab

617-496-3894 | 

Academic Writing Center and Communications Lab ("CommLab"), supported by Gutman Library, is designed to assist HGSE students in the acquisition of clear and cogent writing and oral communication skills. Appointments are provided by HGSE Teaching Fellows (TFs) with backgrounds in academic writing and communication. The Writing Center TFs provide students with the tools necessary to respond effectively to assignments, organize short papers and lengthy research projects, and develop working drafts into publishable products. The CommLab TFs offer students strategies to develop an academic presentation, create a research poster, prepare an entrepreneur pitch or practice a doctoral defense. 

Academic Writing Center and CommLab services are available by appointment using this website