Student and Faculty Handbook

Faculty Guide to Accommodate

Faculty Rights and Responsibilities

Faculty members have the right to:

  • Maintain the rigor and the fundamental nature of their course content; 
  • Require students to demonstrate their knowledge of crucial course content; 
  • Negotiate an accommodation with Accessibility Resource Center if the accommodation seems unreasonable; 
  • Request verification (student accommodation letter) of a student's eligibility for an accommodation. Faculty can turn down the request for an accommodation without the accommodation letter however, faculty should encourage the student to continue communicating about learning challenges and suggest that the student go to Accessibility Resource Center to make an official request for an accommodation; 
  • Wait for the student to contact the course instructor. Course instructors do not need to reach out to a student who has presented the letter, but not yet made specific accommodation requests. It is the student’s responsibility to follow-up in a timely manner.

Faculty members are responsible for:

  • Maintaining confidentiality. While the Accessibility Resource Center may be contacted at any time to discuss matters, information should only be shared with others on an educationally need to know basis. Casual conversation with other instructors, including within department, may influence (perhaps adversely) future student-instructor interactions; 
  • Sharing information on how students can request an accommodation (through the Accessibility Resource Center syllabus statement); 
  • Coordinating reasonable accommodations when timely students requests are made (i.e. approving Testing Center requests in a timely manner and sending test to Testing Center at least 24 hours prior to test date, and approving test requests); 
  • Consulting with the Accessibility Resource Center as necessary when students make late requests or when concern exists about the reasonableness/appropriateness of an accommodation request; 
  • Being respectful toward the student’s situation and be available to speak with the student upon student request about accommodations for one’s course; 
  • Referring students to the Accessibility Resource Center when they make an accommodation request that is not listed on this letter, as the Accessibility Resource Center only supports requests specifically listed.
  • Familiarizing themselves with Accommodate in order to approve/ upload exams for students testing in the Testing Center.

Educational Resources

To learn more about people with disabilities these supplemental resources can be useful:

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA)

  • In 2008, the ADAAA was enacted. The Act emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and generally shall not require extensive analysis. o The Act makes important changes to the definition of the term "disability" by rejecting the holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA regulations. The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.
  • For more information on the ADA, please visit the EEOC, the Department of Labor and the ADA sites.

Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)

  • AHEAD is a professional membership organization for individuals involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities involved in all areas of higher education. 
  • Learn more on the AHEAD site.

The Department of Education- Office of Civil Rights

  • For legal information regarding Section 504, please visit the DOE's site.

Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology (Do-it)

  • Run by The University of Washington. Learn more on their site.

Job Accommodation Network

  • The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.
  • Learn more on the JAN site.

National Center for College Students with Disabilities

Equal Access Teaching Practices

Accessibility Resource Center has provided the following list of tips for good teaching practices that support equal access for all students:

General Tips

  • Make sure to use appropriate language when referring to individuals with special needs. They should be referred to as “students with disabilities.” Avoid terms such as “handicapped” and “victim.”
  • Place a statement in your syllabus and make an announcement at the first meeting of the class notifying students of services available to students with disabilities. Ensure that students understand the emphasis on confidentiality and that you are supportive of students with disabilities.
  • Encourage students to seek assistance during your office hours and to use campus support services.

Learning Disabilities

  • Make reading lists available in advance.
  • In order to meet different learning styles, present information in a variety of ways. For instance, while presenting information orally, accompany content with a visual presentation.
  • Begin each class session with a brief review of the previous session’s material and conclude each session with a summary of key points.
  • Always give students opportunities to ask questions and make sure information is clear. 
  • When searching for a textbook, select one with an accompanying study guide for optional student use. • Be very clear about course expectations (in written and oral format), especially with grading, material to be covered, and due dates.
  • Provide timelines for long-range assignments with sequential steps. For example, a lengthy paper could be assigned as 1) select a topic, 2) write an outline, 3) submit a rough draft, 4) make necessary corrections with approval, and 5) turn in a final draft.
  • Provide review materials to aid students in mastering course material and preparing for exams.
  • Facilitate the formation of study groups for students who wish to participate.

Blind/Visual Disabilities

  • If you assign films or videos, try to obtain them with audio support and make them available for students to view outside of class with someone who can act as a “describer”.
  • When introduced to a person with a visual impairment, let her extend her hand for you to take. Deaf/Hearing Disabilities 
  • If you assign films or videos, obtain them with a closed captioning option. Accessibility Resource Center can assist with adding captions to a video if an accessible format cannot be obtained. This process can take some time, so advanced planning is helpful. 
  • Speak clearly and face the class while speaking. In addition, when a student speaks in class, repeat comments or questions for the class as necessary.
  • Always use a normal tone of voice when extending a verbal welcome. Do not raise your voice unless requested.
  • Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to an interpreter or any other person accompanying him. Never turn to the person with him and ask, "What does he want?"

Physical Disabilities

  • When introduced to a person with limited hand use or who wears an artificial limb, you may wish to shake the left hand or touch the person on the shoulder or arm. 
  • Be sensitive about physical space in your classroom and other areas in which the class will meet or be assigned to go outside of class. Contact Accessibility Resource Center if the meeting place of your class needs to be changed if it is not accessible for a student with mobility differences.