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The PLUS Program

Initiated in 1983, the Muskingum University PLUS Program continues a tradition of individual attention to all students that is reflective of the University mission. The small and caring environment enhances the possibility for student success and is an ideal setting to provide an appropriate support structure to meet the academic needs of qualified students with disabilities. George Dehne has suggested that Muskingum University has the opportunity to become distinctive in higher education by emphasizing the development of "lifelong learning skills" and by equipping our graduates with "tools" to "know how to learn in a variety of contexts," both while they are in the University and "when they leave Muskingum for a less generous and caring world" (Dehne, 1990).

"The learning consultants and staff are personable and caring. They give me a sense of security and confidence being away from home."

The PLUS Program is primarily intended for individuals with high incidence disabilities, such as the learning disabled, but may also serve other qualified disabled students. A learning disability is a generic term that refers to a heterogeneous group of disorders manifested by significant difficulties in the acquisition and use of listening, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical abilities. These disorders occur in persons of average to very superior intelligence and are presumed to be due to central nervous system dysfunctions. Even though a learning disability may exist concomitantly with other handicapping conditions (e.g. sensory impairment) or environmental influences (e.g. cultural or language difficulties), it is not the direct result of those conditions or influences (Journal of Learning Disabilities 22(2):109-112, 1987).

Course requirements and graduation requirements are not compromised for PLUS students; PLUS students are required to complete the same course and graduation requirements as non-PLUS students at Muskingum University. However, PLUS students are encouraged to take a reduced course load of 10 to 14 credit hours per semester, compared to 13 to 18 for most non-PLUS students, to allow time for tutorial contacts, extended testing time, and additional time to complete course assignments. PLUS students may take courses during the summer at Muskingum or elsewhere to compensate for the reduced course load during the fall and spring semesters, or they may choose to take additional semesters to complete degree requirements.

The primary goal of postsecondary service providers is to foster success through increased self-reliance during and beyond the University years. Strategy instruction in a small, closely knit University environment where students, faculty, and staff work together can aid discovery of individual learning strengths and weaknesses. Students will move out of the structured support environment towards self-direction and greater acceptance of responsibility for managing lifetime learning as their confidence increases and they view their successes.

Additional information may be obtained from the PLUS Program by phone at 740-826-8280, by e-mail at ethenry@muskingum.edu, or by mail at Walter Hall, Muskingum University, New Concord, Ohio 43762-1199.

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