Providing reasonable and necessary accommodations to students with disabilities is an important part of our responsibilities as a University. To ensure that the University meets its obligations to students consistently and fairly, students who seek accommodations should first register with the Office of Disability Services at Stevens.

PROVIDING ACCOMMODATIONS IN THE CLASSROOM

Referring Students to the Office of Disability Services (ODS)

Instructors are often the first point of contact for students with disabilities who seek accommodations. You can help students receive the accommodations they may need by doing the following things:

In your syllabus, include the recommended statement about classroom accommodations for students with disabilities:

“It is University policy to provide reasonable accommodations to students who have a documented disability. Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services at 201-216-3748 or contact the office via email at [email protected]

Announce to your students on the first day of class how they can receive accommodations if needed;

Direct any requests for accommodations to the Office of Disability Services, 2nd Floor of the Wellness Center, (201) 216-3748;

Provide accommodations only to students whom you’ve received accommodation notifications for, which explain the approved classroom accommodations.

Providing the Requested Classroom Accommodations

When you receive an email from the ODS concerning a student with a disability, the email will explain what accommodations that student requires in the classroom. The most frequently requested accommodations are extended time on examinations and quizzes or testing in a separate location. Students with hearing impairments may need interpreters in class or use assistive technology that will require the instructor to wear a microphone when lecturing. Students with low vision may need enlarged print examinations and handouts. At times the ODS may ask the Registrar to change the location of a class to accommodate a student with limited mobility.

The purpose of an accommodation is to ensure that students with disabilities have equitable access to University programs. Accommodations should not change the essential components or requisites of the course. If you have such concerns about a requested accommodation, please contact the ODS.

Arranging for accommodations is a collaborative process involving the student, the ODS Office, and the instructor. Please contact the ODS with any matters regarding accommodations in your course.

Points to Remember

When in doubt about how to assist a student with a disability, contact the ODS office.

Confidentiality of all student information is essential. At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability, unless the student makes a specific request to do so.

The Student Code of Conduct regarding disruptive behavior applies to all students. Clearly state behavioral expectations for all students; discuss them openly in your classroom, on your syllabus, and with individual students as needed.

Make the class syllabus and list of required texts available by request to students before the start of the semester. This allows time for students to obtain materials in alternative formats and to begin reading assignments.

Faculty Rights & Responsibilities

Faculty have the right to:

Establish the academic standards for their courses.

Consult with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) to determine what accommodations are reasonable for a given course. It is therefore the responsibility of an instructor to provide accommodations, as determined by the ODS-provided accommodations email, as long as they do not undermine the academic integrity of the course.

Evaluate the academic work of students with disabilities according to the same criteria of evaluation utilized for all other students in the class.

Faculty have the responsibility to:

Ensure that each course, viewed in its entirety is accessible, e.g. content, texts, and materials, assessment method, online instructions, time requirements, etc.

Direct all questions/concerns regarding accommodations for students with disabilities to the ODS.

Provide the accommodations listed on the student’s accommodation email.

Direct students reporting an unverified disability to the ODS.

Maintain confidentiality.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the ODS.

External Resources

AccessCollege: The Faculty Room 

Great resource from the University of Washington on teaching students with disabilities.

UDL on Campus: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education http://udloncampus.cast.org/home

UDL On Campus is a collection of resources developed by CAST geared towards multiple stakeholders within postsecondary institutions, including instructional designers, faculty, policy makers, and administrators. The purpose of the site is to offer an understanding of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in higher education and contains four sections: 1) UDL in Higher Education, 2) Course Design, 3) Media and Materials, and 4) Accessibility and Policy. Each section provides resources about addressing learner variability at the postsecondary level in an effort to improve learning opportunities, retention, and outcomes.

Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction https://www.washington.edu/doit/sites/default/files/atoms/files/EA_Instruction.pdf

Sheryl Burgstahler, member of DO-IT at the University of Washington, designed this checklist for inclusive teaching.  This checklist was field tested at more than twenty postsecondary institutions nationwide.

Teaching Tips for an UDL-Friendly Classroom https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/teaching-tips-udl-friendly-classroom#.WFE3Z6loSqo.gmail 

Advice for implementing strategies based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as well as links to practical resources (eg. how to create an accessible document and PowerPoint).