Services for Students with Disabilities

Faculty Resources

The Associate Director of Academic Success provides assistance to faculty in the implementation of academic accommodations in their classrooms and provides ongoing support through individual consultations.

  • What should I discuss with the student when I am presented with an accommodation letter?

    It is important to lay a framework about how you and the student will work together throughout the semester. 

    • Ask the student what accommodations they expect to use in your class right away (recorder, note taker, extended time)​
    • Share expectations regarding notice/communication for accommodations as needed​
    • Review and discuss the Flexibility Implementation Guide & Agreement  (if applicable)​

    Can I ask a student about their diagnosis or the nature of their disability?

    No, you should not ask a student about why they receive services or why they have specific accommodations. There are times when students are comfortable discussing their disability with professors, but in most cases, students choose not to disclose the nature of their disability. Faculty may contact the Associate Director of Academic Success to discuss helpful ways to work with students.

    What if I think a student’s request for accommodation impacts the integrity of my course?​

    If the accommodation is outlined in their accommodation letter, please contact the Associate Director of Academic Success to consult about your concerns. It may be possible to find alternative accommodations, or, there are times when an accommodation does not work given a course’s structure. Facultymust consult with the Associate Director prior to denying any accommodation (some faculty have consulted once and continue to use previous guidelines for the same course).

    If the accommodation is not outlined in the student’s accommodation letter, bring this to the student’s attention. They may need to be referred back to the Associate Director to discuss whether they qualify for the accommodation.  

    What if I have identified additional ways to support the student? Or want to propose an alternative accommodation to meet the needs of a student?

    The Associate Director of Academic Success welcomes input from faculty about meeting students’ accommodation needs. Faculty are an integral part of discerning what will work in their course and how a student is performing/navigating the course. Please consult with the Associate Director prior to replacing any approved accommodation with an alternative unless this has already been approved by a disability counselor in a previous semester for the same course.

    What should I do if I suspect a student in my class has a disability and I do not have an accommodation letter from them?

    The instructor’s observations in the classroom are invaluable to appropriate referrals to Services for Students with Disabilities.  Faculty are encouraged to contact the Associate Director of Academic Success to consult about a student and whether a referral is warranted and how to make the referral. 

  • If there is a student in your course who has been approved for alternative testing accommodations, you will find a link to submit an Alternative Testing Agreement at the bottom of the ADA/504 Accommodations Notification email.

    After you submit an Alternative Testing Agreement, students who wish to take their exams in the Center for Academic Success must schedule their exams through SSD Online Services. If a student has an Alternative Testing Agreement in place but does not schedule an exam, we will presume the student has decided to take the exam with the rest of the class without accommodations (students are not required to use their approved accommodations).

    Requests for alternative testing services made too close to the exam time may impose undue administrative burden. The Center for Academic Success generally requires 2 business days’ notice to arrange alternative testing.  Late requests will only be accommodated if there is adequate space available and there is adequate time for the instructor to provide the exam.

    Alternative Testing Quick Tips for Faculty:

    • The Center for Academic Success is available to provide alternative testing accommodations for approved students during regular business hours: Monday-Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM
    • You are not required to submit more than one Alternative Testing Agreement per course section; the Testing Agreement you submit will automatically be applied to all eligible students in that course section and can be copied to multiple courses or sections at your request.
    • If changes need to be made to a Testing Agreement, contact the Associate Director of Academic Success, Jennifer Smull, at smullj@southwestern.edu or 512-863-1536.
    • If an Alternative Testing Agreement is not submitted, the Associate Director will complete the agreement on behalf of the faculty member, and the student’s exam will be accommodated based on these specifications.
    • You are responsible for providing a copy of the exam to the Center at least two (2) hours prior to the start of the exam.  Exams can be uploaded directly to the SSD Online Services portal or hand-delivered.
  • Faculty should include a syllabus statement about the process to qualify for academic accommodations.  Please include the following statement on your course syllabus:

    “The Center for Academic Success coordinates reasonable, individualized accommodations for students with documented disabilities (medical, learning and/or psychological). To receive formal accommodations, students must be registered with the Associate Director of Academic Success, Prothro Suite 120, (512) 863-1536.”

    Or consider a more robust version:  

    “All students are welcome in this course, including students with learning, emotional, physical, cognitive, and/or hidden disabilities, illnesses, and injuries, regardless of diagnosis. 

    Access is a collective and collaborative project, and we all learn and process information differently; it is my goal to make this course as accessible as possible for everyone. If there is anything I or your classmates can do to facilitate your learning in this class, please let me know, and I welcome any suggestions for how to make the course more inclusive of different learning styles. It is never too late to have this conversation with me; not only do bodies, minds, and circumstances change over time, but it also can take time to find the language needed to describe your needs. I am happy to help with this process, too.” 

    • Questions regarding the implementation of approved accommodations specific to a course

    • Concerns about student access or brainstorming creative solutions to barriers

    • Creating an inclusive environment for students with disabilities to thrive

    • Education about specific types of disabilities and rationale for accommodations

    • Best practices for communication regarding accommodations

    • Implementing Universal Design for Learning