Q & A for Faculty

Q: Who is responsible for determining appropriate accommodations?

A: Anna Meadows in the Center for Student Success determines appropriate accommodations. The decision is based upon documentation collected from a student with a disability and the student's current functional limitations.

Q: Are all students with disabilities registered with the Center for Student Success?                      

A: No, it is likely that many students with disabilities have chosen not to be registered with the office or they may not have met the eligibility criteria for services. In either instance, faculty members do not need to provide these students with accommodations.

Q: What would be the best way to inform students in the class that I would like to help in facilitating exam accommodations or any classroom accommodations?

A: It is important that all instructors put a statement about accommodations in their syllabus. It should go something like this: “Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. Please register with the Center for Student Success at ext. 8496 (Cattell Library, Second floor) to coordinate reasonable accommodations for documented disabilities.”

Q: Am I required to provide exam accommodations per student request?

A. Yes, if they have delivered a letter of accommodations from the Center for Student Success to you (listing exam accommodations). Students with disabilities are protected by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504. This law requires qualified students with disabilities to receive equal access to an education, which includes exam accommodations.

Q: A student has asked for accommodations. How do I know the student truly has a disability and is eligible for accommodations?

A: You should ask the student to provide you with a letter verifying that s/he has a disability. The student, if registered with the Center for Student Success, will be given letters of accommodation to deliver to his/her instructors the first week of each semester. Documentation regarding the disability is on file for each registered student using our services.

Q: I have a student in class who told me that s/he has a disability, but has never requested any accommodations. Am I still responsible for accommodations?

A: No, you are only responsible for reasonable accommodations if requested. In these types of situations, however, it would be appropriate to speak to the student privately. Reassure the student that you welcome the opportunity to discuss reasonable accommodations if the student is interested. 

Q: What are some of the types of exam accommodations available to students with disabilities?

A: Exam accommodations are based upon the student's functional limitations and documentation of the disability provided to the Center for Student Success. Some of these accommodations include: extra time for exams (usually 50% extra time but in some cases as much as double time), a reader or scribe (a person who writes answers verbatim), a computer, an enlarged exam, an exam scanned onto a disk and use of computer (student uses enlargement options or spelling/grammar check), and/or a distraction-reduced testing area. 

Q: A student with a disability has requested that s/he take an exam in the Center for Student Success. How do I know my exam will be secure and the student will not receive inappropriate advantages? 

A: The office has developed a very systematic and secure procedure for receiving exams from faculty and returning upon completion. All staff adheres to established testing procedures. Exams are kept in a secure and locked file. Students are monitored via security cameras at all times during testing.

Q: When I have a deaf student in class, am I required to have an interpreter or real time captioning in the class too? The room is very crowded and the students sometimes watch the interpreter instead of me.

A: There is no question about it. You are required by law to have what is essential for the student to have equal access to an education, including a sign language interpreter and/or real time captioning. 

Q: A student with a disability has asked me for a copy of my notes and overheads. Do I have to give this to the student?

A: Some students with disabilities have difficulty taking notes. Sometimes faculty notes are only a brief outline of the actual lecture given. These notes may not be too helpful. It is important to assist the student in receiving class notes. You may want to help the student find a volunteer note taker in class by making an announcement in class without revealing the student's name. If you feel your notes are good, sharing your notes would be another option. Many faculty have developed website guided notes. This has been extremely helpful to many students lacking the ability to keep up the pace in taking thorough notes. It may also be appropriate for some students to tape a class.

Q: I have a student who is having difficulty in my class. I think this student may have a disability. What should I do to help the student?

A: Talk privately with the student to discuss your observations. The student may reveal s/he has a disability. If this is the case refer the student to the Center for Student Success. Anna Meadows will collect the appropriate documentation to determine the needed accommodations for referred students.

Q: Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?

A: No. The standards should be the same for all students. Some students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production, and other course expectations differently than their peers. For example, a student with a learning disability in writing may produce an essay exam by using a computer or scribe rather than writing out an answer without the use of accommodations. The quality of the work should be the same.

Q: I have a student with a disability getting behind in his/her schoolwork. This student has missed a number of classes and has not handed in several assignments. Although s/he has taken a midterm and used accommodations, the student's grade is about a D. At this point, the student is not passing the class. Do I have a right to fail a student with a disability?

A: The student with a disability has the same right to fail as anyone else. Their work should be the equivalent of their peers. It may be a good idea to discuss your observations with this student just as you would with anyone else in your class who is experiencing difficulty. 

Q: I have a visually impaired student in my chemistry lab. How is s/he going to participate and be graded in his/her lab work?

A: If possible, assist the student in finding a lab partner or assign a student assistant. In either situation, the visually impaired student should direct the assistant to carry out the functions of the lab assignment. If a volunteer lab partner cannot be found, suggest to the student that s/he needs to contact the Center for Student Success as soon as possible. The timely manner in making these arrangements is critical for the student to not fall behind in coursework. 

Q: Do I have any recourse if I disagree about requested accommodations?

A: To clarify any disagreement about a requested accommodation, you should first contact Anna Meadows. If there continues to be conflict, you may contact the provost.