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Faculty Role and Responsibilities

ACCOMMODATIONS AND ACCESS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is the university’s agent for ensuring that students are able to access and participate in all aspects of campus life, including learning. Our compliance with federal and state law is a shared responsibiliity and faculty members play an important role in the campus' effort to provide equal access.
There are four primary types of accommodations that students may need and utilize. These are classroom accommodations, testing/exam accommodations, access-oriented accommodations, and procedurally-oriented accommodations. Access- and procedurally-oriented accommodations involve policies, procedures, or practices that can be modified without fundamentally altering the experience (classroom tasks, internship, field study, clinical tasks).
Accommodations that require discussion and modification of campus policies, procedures, and practices can involve a three-way conversation between the student, a DRC staff member, and the faculty. The DRC is responsible for determining if an accommodation is necessary to prevent discrimination; in some cases, accommodations must be evaluated along with a thorough knowledge of a course's requirements and the means of assessment used to gauge learning.

Fundamentals about Accommodations and Access

  1. Call DRC if an accommodation is unclear or you have any concerns.
  2. CPP, through DRC, is responsible to ensure access in all environments — physical, digital, instructional, policy.
  3. Consultation is vital to resolution.

Accommodation Examples by Type

Classroom accommodations — examples:

  • Uses notetaking support
  • Preferential or adaptive seating/furniture.
  • Having a sign language interpreter or real-time captionist.

Exam accommodations — examples:

  • Has extended time to complete an exam.
  • Takes exams in an alternate format — large print, audio, or Braille.
  • Utilizes the support of a reader or scribe.
  • Uses a faculty-approved memory aid — content is mutually agreed upon.

Access-oriented accommodations — examples:

  • Having a sighted guide as a blind student.
  • Inaccessible instructional content is reformatted, or a work-around is used.
  • A lab or field study site has inaccessible features or equipment.

Procedurally oriented accommodations — examples:

  • Student allowed extra time to complete assignments (disability-related).
  • Student given consideration for absences/tardiness (disability-related).
  • Student allowed to leave class briefly and return to class, without penalty.
  • Student agrees to rely on visual prompts to regulate classroom behavior.

Illustrative Examples of Accommodations and Access

Case #1: A visually impaired student is taking a geology course. DRC facilitates access to required texts, handouts, and exams. A classroom aide assists the student in the lab, following directions from the student. On a required field trip, a sighted guide is hired to provide orientation and mobility assistance.

Potential problems — What could happen

  1. Student is told by the instructor she can skip the field trip or do an alternate assignment: This is not equitable participation.
  2. DRC is delayed in providing an alternate media form of the text because the book is not available.

Case #2: A student in music performance, flute major, fails her final recital due to sudden onset of a medical condition that had affected her breathing. It is determined she can do another recital. She wants to know what accommodations are possible in the recital.

Problems to solve through consultation

  1. What is required in a flute recital — what are the academic requirements?
  2. Given knowledge of the student's condition and past performance, what are reasonable modifications?

Case #3: A student with multiple disabilities, including cognitive impairments due to a stroke, requests to use a memorty aid during exams.

Problems to solve through consultation

  1. Is use of a memory aid a necessary accommodation to prevent discrimination? DRC determines the recommendation.
  2. Faculty approve the memory aid's content.

Guidelines for ensuring accessibility

  1. DRC fulfills its role of interviewing students, reviewing pertinent disability records, and determining appropriate accommodations.
  2. Student requests use of the needed accommodations for each class. Faculty receive a Faculty Notification of Accommodation. Student meets with faculty member privately to discuss accommodations that are unclear or procedural (requests DRC verification as needed).
  3. Student informs faculty and DRC if their condition or circumstances change and/or if a new accommodation is needed.
  4. Faculty arrange a private meeting space for discussions about accommodations as needed. Faculty should not inquire about a student's condition or have discussions in a public space.
  5. Faculty consult with DRC about accommodations and how to address specific access (physical or digital) barriers, share information about course/program essential skills and requirements in relation to accommodations proposed.