Center for Academic Success

For Faculty

Welcome to the Faculty Info Page for Disability Services

Below you will find info that is pertinent to faculty with regard to accommodations and students with disabilities.

Obtaining Accommodations | Reasonable vs. Unreasonable | Common Accoms: Exam
 
 

  Obtaining Accommodations

Here is a short and sweet overview of how students obtain accommodations.

  1. The student meets with the Assistant Director of Academic Success (AD) at the start of each semester to review documentation of the disability, discuss how the disability impacts the student academically, and in general.
  2. The student and AD develop an individualized package of accommodations to provide the student with equal access to learning opportunities at our institution.
  3. The AD sends email notifications to professors, including information about what (if anything) needs to be done on the part of the professor.

To protect privacy, the nature of the student’s disability is not generally disclosed. However, there are exceptions and the AD is able to share information that is academically necessary.

If professors ever need or want help or information about working with a student with a disability, feel free to contact the AD. If you feel that your department would benefit from a workshop on a particular kind of disability or disability services in general, these types of requests can be responded to on an as needed basis.

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  Reasonable vs. Unreasonable Accommodations

Academic accommodations are not optional. The law distinguishes between “reasonable” and “unreasonable” mainly by providing guidance about how to determine what is unreasonable. If an accommodation:

  • presents a health or safety risk,
  • gives an undue advantage,
  • fundamentally alters the essential elements of the course/curriculum, or
  • creates undue administrative or financial burden,

it may fall into the category of being unreasonable. If any of those limits of reason can be mediated to allow for provision of the accommodation, then it may still be considered a reasonable accommodation.

The Center for Academic Success is here to help professors administer accommodations. Our goal is to have accessible classrooms and learning methods for all students. If, upon receiving an accommodation request, the professor feels the accommodation meets one of the limits of what is considered reasonable, the steps for requesting a review of the accommodation are as follows.

  1. The Assistant Director should be notified in writing about: 1) which accommodation is of concern 2) how the accommodation is unreasonable.
  2. The Assistant Director will consult with colleagues and Disability Services professionals who are familiar with both statutory requirements and pedagogical implementation to determine whether the accommodation is unreasonable.
  3. If it is determined that the requested accommodation is not appropriate, alternate options for accommodating a student will then be explored in conjunction with the professor and staff at CAS.
  4. If it is determined that the requested accommodation is appropriate, it should be provided to the student with no penalty assessed for using the accommodation.
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  Common Accommodations

Below are some major points of interest regarding some of the most common accommodation requests.

Exam Accommodations:

  1. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with you and get the form properly filled out.
  2. The exam accommodation form includes information to assist CAS in properly administering the exam for you. This includes whether a student is allowed to take anything in the room with them, how you want the exam returned, and whether the student is taking the exam at the same time as the rest of the class. Please be sure to read over this information before signing.
  3. No students are allowed into a testing room with their backpacks or cell phones.
  4. Students are not allowed to have “unlimited time” exams.
  5. If a student is caught cheating or violating a testing center rule (e.g. as having a cell phone with them during the exam), the exam will be taken up and returned as is with a message to the faculty member about the violation. The issue will then need to be resolved between the student and professor directly.
  6. Taking an exam on a different day (or having more days to study) is not an accommodation. The only time CAS allows for taking exams at different times/days than the class is when there is a schedule conflict (back to back classes, labs, etc.) that would not allow for the student to utilize their extra time.
  7. CAS will never move an exam without a professor’s permission, even if the student is sick. CAS will always tell the student that an email or phone call must be received from the professor in order for an exam to be moved.
  8. If you would like a record or copy of the exam form, please have your faculty secretary or student worker make a copy of the form before the student leaves your office. CAS will assume that you know which of your students you’ve signed accommodations forms for once we have them on file.

Note Taking Accommodations:

Students with disabilities may request a note taker as part of their academic accommodations. When a note taker is requested for a class:

  1. Professors are notified by the Assistant Director of Academic Success that a student in their class will be receiving notes.
  2. The professor is not responsible for finding a note taker. Center for Academic Success manages the entire note taking system, and only contacts professors if no note takers are found.*
  3. To find a note taker, an email request is sent out to all qualified students in the class in blind carbon copy. The request lists the criteria for being a note taker, which includes a minimum of once a week upload of notes and neat handwriting or typed notes.
  4. Center for Academic Success conducts an orientation for the selected student. This includes information about the note uploading process and confidentiality.
  5. Notes are uploaded to Moodle via a created “class” for each semester. Only students requesting notes and the note taker have access to the “Notes” class for upload and download purposes.  
  6. The identity of the student requesting the notes and of the note taker is not disclosed to any student in the class, at any time. All note-takers are required to sign and abide by the Volunteer and Confidentiality Agreement.
  7. For classes where no note takers can be found, students are offered alternative options such as the use of a digital recorder to record lectures, use of a laptop to take their own notes in a more efficient way, or a direct ask of the professor for a referral. 

*In the event that no student responds to the request for a note taker, the professor may be contacted by the Assistant Director for a recommendation of a student in the class who could be a potential note taker. Good candidates for recommendation might include a student who has a very good attendance record, and students who the professor has noted a strong level of participation and note taking in class. The student would then be contacted directly by the Assistant Director. 

 

Attendance accomms, course substitutions and more coming soon!

If you have suggestions of content that you feel would be beneficial to faculty, please contact Maria Peña to suggest or request info you’d like to see on the website

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Contact us:

Academic Success
Southwestern University
P.O. Box 770
Georgetown, Tex. 78627-0770
success@southwestern.edu