FAQ's for Faculty
Any student who wishes to request a reasonable accommodation must submit appropriate documentation of the disability to the Dr. Deborah J. Fischer, Director of the Center for Learning Assistance, 312 Library. Documentation is confidential and kept in the office of the Director. Information from the file is only released with the student's written consent in keeping with FERPA. Please contact Deborah Fischer at (309) 677-2845 or firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions.
Who is responsible for determining appropriate accommodations?
- The Center for Learning Assistance (CLA) is the office on campus that determines appropriate accommodations. The office bases their decision upon documentation collected from a student with a disability and the student’s functional limitations.
Are all students with disabilities registered with the CLA?
- No, it is likely that many students with disabilities have chosen not to be registered with the CLA or they may not have met the eligibility criteria for services. In either instance, faculty do not need to provide these students with accommodations.
Am I required to provide exam accommodations to students who request it?
- Yes you are. Students with disabilities are protected by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504. This law requires that qualified students with disabilities get equal access to an education, and this includes exam accommodations.
A student has asked for accommodations. How do I know the student truly has a disability and needs accommodations?
- You may ask the student to provide you with an Accommodation ID Card verifying that s/he has a disability. The CLA has on file for every student who is registered with the office and uses services, documentation of the disability.
I have a student in class who told me that s/he has a disability, but since that time has never requested any accommodations. Am I still responsible for accommodations?
- 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 to let the student know that you welcome the opportunity to discuss reasonable accommodations if the student is interested.
What are some of the types of exam accommodations available to students with disabilities?
- First of all, the exam accommodations are based upon the student’s functional limitations and the documentation of disability that the student has provided the CLA. Some of these accommodations include but are not limited to: extra time for exams (usually 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 voice, enlargement options, or spelling/grammar check), and a distraction-reduced space.
A student with a disability has requested that s/he take an exam at the CLA. How do I know that my exam will be safe and that the student will get no unfair advantage?
- The CLA has developed a very systematic and secure procedure for getting exams from faculty and returning them once the student has taken the exam. No student is able to take an exam with appropriate accommodations without prior authorization. While exams are at the CLA, they are kept in a locked file during the night. While students are taking the exam, they are monitored. Occasionally, there are a few issues, however, the CLA works diligently to rectify any problems.
Students with disabilities ask me to fill out “proctor sheets.” I have a million things to do. I don’t mind if they use exam accommodations, but do I have to fill out that form?
- No you do not! The student is responsible to make testing arrangements prior the exam date. In order for students to arrange for exam accommodations at the CLA, and in order for the CLA to administer your exam to your student, the student must utilize the “proctor sheets.” It is often very helpful to meet with the student so that you and the person requesting accommodations can fill the sheet out together and are on the same wavelength. Not only does the proctor sheet help facilitate the exam accommodation process, but it also helps the CLA administer the exams using your specific requirements for the administration of the exam. You may, however, opt to administer the exam yourself to the student, but appropriate exam accommodations must be provided. This includes adaptive technology, a distraction-reduced space, reader/scribes, etc. if needed. If you are unable to provide appropriate accommodations or are unsure about what is appropriate, please work with the CLA to ensure that the student’s accommodation needs are met.
I’ve been debating about what book I want to use for my class, but the CLA keeps asking me to select a book ASAP. Do I have to?
- Yes you do. Students who are print impaired have a legal right to equal access to their textbooks or any instruction as their peers. They need to be able to listen to taped or scanned textbooks at the same time as others in the class. By delaying the selection of textbooks, the CLA may not be able to get books converted to an appropriate format in a timely fashion. This means that students may have to start the quarter without access to their textbooks. None of us want to contribute to a student getting behind or failing a class.
When I have a deaf student in class, am I required to have an interpreter or real time captioner in the class too? My class is very crowded and also, the students sometimes watch the interpreter instead of me.
- 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, and this includes a sign language interpreter or real time captioner.
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?
- 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 that you assist the student in getting access to 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 have a graduate student in class to assist you and if this person takes notes, these notes may be another option. If you feel your notes are good, sharing your notes would be a third option. Many faculty and departments have developed website guided notes. This has been extremely helpful to many students who lack the ability to keep up the pace in taking thorough notes. It may also be appropriate for some students to tape a class.
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?
- Talk privately with the student to discuss your observations. The student may reveal s/he has a disability. If this is the case and the student is registered with the CLA, suggest that the student call the office at 677-3654 for further information.
Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?
- No, the standards should be the same for all students; however, 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.
I have a student with a disability getting behind in his/her schoolwork. This student is missing 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?
- The student with a disability has the same right to fail as anyone else. Their work should be equivalent with 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.
I have a student who is blind in my chemistry lab. How is s/he going to participate and be graded in his/her lab work?
- If possible, assist the student in getting a lab partner or assign a student assistant to work with the student with a disability. In either situation, the student who is blind 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 CLA as soon as possible for assistance in getting a lab partner. The speed in making these arrangements is critical so that the student will not get behind.
Do I have any recourse if I disagree about requested accommodations?
- To clarify any disagreement about a requested accommodation, you can first contact the Director of the CLA.
Do faculty need to place information on their syllabus informing students with disabilities that accommodations are available?
- As a university, we are obligated to notify all students of services available. The following are suggested accessibility statements for your syllabus:
- Our University is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. if you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, discuss your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, students with disabilities should contact the Center for Learning Assistance on the 3rd floor of the library in person or call 309-677-3654 to set up an appointment.
- 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. You must be registered with the Center for Learning Assistance (CLA) located on the 3rd floor of the library, and provide an Accommodation ID Card to verify your eligibility. You can reach the CLA at (309) 677-3654.
- Please address any special needs or special accommodations with me at the beginning of the semester. Those seeking accommodations based on documented disabilities should obtain an Accommodation ID Card from the Center for Learning Assistance (CLA). The CLA is located on the 3rd floor of the library, (309) 677-3654.
When students identify themselves as having a disability, what should the faculty/staff do?
- The CLA has issued an Accommodation ID Card to each student who has provided the appropriate disability documentation to become a client and eligible for academic accommodations. This card identifies the student as a client of the CLA and lists the accommodations for which the student is eligible.
- If an instructor is approached by a student who has an Accommodation ID Card from the CLA verifying that he/she is a qualified individual with a disability and lists recommended accommodations, we request the instructor take the time to set an appointment to discuss the accommodations that are required and how best to facilitate those. Only when a student provides faculty with the ID card are the faculty to provide accommodation. When the student shows the ID card, most of the accommodations listed on the card will be provided through the CLA. If not, Dr. Debbie Fischer, the CLA Director, will discuss further needed accommodations that may require the instructor’s assistance.
- If a student does not have an Accommodation ID Card and claims to have a disability, the instructors should not provide any accommodation. The CLA is the office designated by the University to verify a qualified disability and ensure accommodation. This provides legal protection for the faculty member and the University. Please refer the student to the CLA.
Is disability information confidential?
- Disability information is confidential and should never be discussed or referred to in front of classmates or other individuals. Any information regarding the disability is housed in a client file in the CLA. The CLA cannot provide documentation to anyone. If you have a concern about an accommodation please contact Debbie Fischer at (309) 677-2845. Students are not required to divulge the nature of their disabilities or provide faculty and staff with copies of their disability documentation. Students requesting accommodations are only required to show their Accommodation ID Card stating that they have documentation of disability on file in the CLA. The laws that protect the rights of individuals with disabilities also protect the standards of the attending institutions. Having a disability does not preclude a student from meeting the essential course elements or from following the established policies and procedures.