Why does W&J provide accommodations?
W&J complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. These civil rights laws ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. Section 504 states that "no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination solely on the basis of a disability." As a program that receives federal financial assistance, W&J is required to provide reasonable accommodations academic adjustments and auxiliary aids to ensure equal access for students with disabilities who are admitted through the College's regular admission process.
What is my responsibility as an instructor when it comes to students registered with disabilitiesthe disability support services office?
Instructors have the responsibility of implementing the approved accommodations listed on a student's accommodation letter and to discuss any issues with the disability services office. Instructors and students should meet in-person to discuss the accommodations and how they will be applied to the course. These meetings should take place in a separate appointment - not before or after class - in order to protect the privacy of the student. Students are asked to follow this process when they receive their letters. If a student has not made an appointment, please ask them to do so.
Is there proctoring assistance available should I need it for a student with extended time or a solitary/low distraction testing environment?
Yes. You can submit proctoring requests here:
What recommendations do you have for structuring the discussion with a student when s/he presents the accommodation letter?
First review the listed accommodations and make a notation of any issues that you will need to discuss with the disability services office. Also make the student aware of any accommodations that are not applicable to your course and why they are not applicable. The rest of the discussion should center around how the accommodations will be implemented in your course. Below are a few examples based on the most frequently requested accommodations:
May I ask a student what his/her disability is?
No. Instructors should provide the approved accommodations listed on a student's accommodation letter. Students may not be comfortable sharing what their disability is with an instructor, and it is not necessary for instructors to know this in order to provide accommodations. It is the responsibility of the disability services office to ensure the accommodations are reasonable. Focus on providing access, not on the disability itself.
Are accommodations retroactive?
No. A student can request accommodations at any time, but they can't be applied to previous work or courses. Every effort will be made to complete the accommodations process in a timely manner.
Do I need to change my course requirements to accommodate a student with a disability?
All students, including those with disabilities, must meet the requirements of the program and course. W&J is not expected to change requirements for students with disabilities, but we are required to provide reasonable accommodations. For example, a student with a learning disability may need additional time to complete an exam, but the exam questions or length of the exam does not need to be altered.
Are there particular teaching strategies that I may use to assist students with disabilities?
Yes. Many institutions are exploring Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which supports the development of curricula and educational environments that are inclusive of increasingly diverse student populations. Also, the strategies listed below help to decrease the need for formal academic accommodations:
Can I talk about a student's disability with his/her parents?
Only if the student has given you permission to do so by setting up a FERPA password, though it's recommended the discussion take place with the student, who can then share information with his/her parents. You may also contact the disability services office to help navigate the discussion.
The student is struggling in my course even with accommodations. What are the next steps?
There may be a number of reasons why students continue to struggle even with accommodations. The best next step would be trying to find the root of the issue. You can discuss this with the student or refer him/her the student to disability services.