Guidelines for Faculty
(also see FAQs on these issues)
- Syllabus statement: Faculty play a key role in informing students of the College’s commitment to ensure equal access to our programs, activities, and services. You can assist the College with disability compliance by including the following statement on your syllabi:
If you have a disability and require accommodations for this course, please speak with me privately as soon as possible so that your needs may be appropriately met. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with Disability Services (Learning Commons at Tutt Library, Room 152, 227-8285), the office responsible for coordinating accommodations and services for students with disabilities.
- Meeting with students regarding their disability: It is recommended that professors make arrangements to meet with students who choose to identify themselves as having a disability in order to discuss the particular accommodations that will be necessary. Due to the very personal and private nature of some disabilities, it is important that meetings take place in a location that protects the student’s right to privacy.
- The request for accommodation: Faculty should provide accommodations to students who 1) notify you in a timely manner of any accommodation that needs to be made for a particular course and 2) provide you with a copy of the student's letter of accommodation signed by the Director of Disability Services. If the student does not provide a letter of accommodation or if you do not have knowledge that the student has been approved for accommodations, please refer the student to Disability Services (DS).
- Providing accommodations: Faculty members should provide appropriate classroom accommodations as indicated on the student’s letter of accommodation, consulting the student section of the DS webpage for accommodation guidelines or contacting DS for assistance.
- Inappropriate accommodations: Do not feel obligated to provide accommodations if a student with a known disability has not requested them. In other words, you are not asked to guess or predetermine what a student might need. Students have the right to choose not to use accommodations. On the other hand, if a student asks retroactively to fix a problem because he/she has failed to use accommodations, you are not under any obligation to do so. However, should this occur, please contact the director of DS immediately for consultation.
- A collaborative relationship: Faculty can best provide accommodations for students with disabilities by collaborating with the student and DS. Although DS is the office designated to review documentation of disability and determine eligibility for specific accommodations for students, in order for most accommodations to occur, professors, students, and DS staff must collaborate, communicate, and follow through on commitments in a timely fashion. Please refer to the DS Rights and Responsibilities page.
- Accommodations and academic standards: Please keep in mind that every effort will be made to implement reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students when necessary. However, requests that lower the academic standards of the College or fundamentally alter the College’s courses, programs, or degree requirements will be denied. If you have concerns about a particular accommodation, please contact DS.
- If you suspect a disability: If a student is having difficulty in class and you think he/she may have a disability, you may want to talk privately with the student about your concerns regarding the student’s performance. If so, please keep the following tips in mind:
- Keep a positive tone. Emphasize positive aspects of the student’s performance while noting areas in which the student’s performance might be inconsistent.
- Be very specific about the observations you have made about the student’s performance.
- Don’t announce your belief that the student has a disability. Instead, ask if the student is aware of some of his/her areas of difficulty in the course. For example, you could say, “I’ve noticed that you seem to be struggling a lot in this class (noting specific difficulties). Have you had difficulty with this in the past?”
- Also, when appropriate, ask the student if he or she is aware of the services offered in the Learning Commons. It may be helpful for you to provide the student with a list of resources that includes DS, the Quantitative Reasoning Center (227-8289), the Writing Center (389-6742), and the Learning Consultant (389-6168).