Student and Institutional Rights and Responsibilities
The Learning Support Center (LSC) is the campus office responsible for coordinating disability related services for students. Reasonable accommodations and services are provided in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Accommodations and services provided are designed to provide equal access to information, educational programs, activities and facilities.
Some of these include:
- Extended time for tests
- Quiet location
- Use of a notetaker or recording of lecture
- Alternative format textbooks and course materials.
Accommodations are required to be reasonable, not create undue hardship or alter the essential nature of the course.
Students are required to provide documentation of disability to the LSC in order for appropriate and reasonable accommodations to be approved. The LSC Director or Assistant Director meets with the student to discuss eligibility for accommodations. Documentation information is stored at the LSC and remains confidential.
Faculty Notification of Classroom Accommodations
A student requesting academic classroom accommodations must complete an accommodation request form and information release each semester. Faculty members listed by the student receive a letter by email attachment from the Learning Support Center Director.
Copies of accommodation letters are also available through your course web page. On the right hand side of the first page you will find listed under My Courses - "20__ Accommodations Forms" appearing in red. Click on this and you will be directed to a page containing a folder with your name. Copies of that semesters accommodation letters are contained in folders for each class or section you teach.
Implementing Classroom Accommodations
The LSC encourages student self advocacy. Students are informed that it is their responsibility to meet with their faculty members to review the accommodation letter and discuss any other issues related to accessibility that may arise.
It is important to keep in mind that the accommodations are meant to be appropriate and reasonable. If you believe the accommodations are not reasonable or alter the essential nature of the course you should bring this to the attention of the Director of the LSC.
The Faculty Role
Access is a College-wide responsibility. The Faculty plays a major role in instructional needs of all students. Providing access to the courses at Albion College requires the active participation of each instructor.
Protection of Student Confidentiality
Any information shared between the student with a disability, the LSC and a Faculty member is considered confidential. Information that a student has a disability may not be shared beyond this group without the student's permission. This includes sharing with other faculty or administration members.
To preserve confidentiality, faculty should keep all accommodation letters in a separate file during the course of the semester. These letters should be shredded at the end of each semester.
Suggested Disability Statement for your Syllabus
Students with Disabilities:
Any student with a disability, who has concerns related to the format or requirements of this course, should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs and to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that formal, disability-related accommodations are necessary, it is very important that you be registered with Learning Support Center (311 Seeley Mudd Library) and provide that office with documentation of your disability. That office will then notify me of your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. We can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations.
The statement serves to normalize the process of using disability accommodations. It also establishes the importance of faculty-student communication in planning how to best facilitate the accommodations in a particular class.
Working with students to address their accommodations needs
When a student who has provided documentation of a disability submits a request for accommodation form, the instructor will be sent a letter listing the approved accommodations/services. If you have questions regarding accommodations it is useful to request a meeting with the student to discuss these and mutually work out the best way these can be provided in a timely and non-intrusive manner.
Once a student has self identified through an accommodation letter and/or requested a meeting with you, discussion can begin with the student explaining her past experiences and the best ways she has found to deal with academic demands. Utilizing past information can facilitate developing a plan for your class that meets both of your needs.
Students who claim a disability without a letter from the LSC
Faculty should not provide any accommodations for a student without obtaining a confirmation memo from the LSC. Informal arrangements can lead to possible abuse, expectations of further accommodations and raise issues of fairness to other students in the class. In addition, a student may not request any accommodation not specifically listed in the letter. If further accommodation is necessary, the student should contact the LSC for an appointment to discuss the situation.
Discussing disability issues with students who have not disclosed a disability
If you have cause for concern over student academic performance or classroom behavior, you can refer the student to the Learning Support Center which provides both disability and general academic support to students. The center also can screen for possible disabilities and provide follow-up referral for evaluation if necessary. In addition you can contact the LSC director by email or phone to discuss a student concern.
Learning Support Center Proctored Exams
When a student requests extra time and/or a quiet location for an exam it is generally best if arrangements can be made to administer the exam near the regular exam site or in the department office. This allows students to have access to the instructor if questions arise.
Accessibility by Design
The model of disability services as a service delivery system for a few special students is being replaced with the conceptual framework of Universal Design. This approach provides a way to address issues of access and alleviate some of the need for individual accommodations. The adoption of some of these practices can serve to assist the learning of all students. Information on the concepts and initiatives based on this approach are laid out in the Universal design for college level instruction brochure.
The following are some instructional strategies based on Universal Design which work for all students while assuring access for students with disabilities:
- Provide students with a detailed course syllabus that clearly addresses course requirements at the beginning of the semester
- Announce reading assignments well in advance allowing students who need alternative format time to obtain a converted version and provide students with slow reading speed enough time to complete the assignment.
- At the start of each class period give an outline or concept diagram of material to be covered and summarize key points at the end of lecture
- Arrange content logically and in order of importance
- Provide the outlines/concept diagrams and summary notes on an accessible website following lecture.
- Use multiple modes to deliver content such as lecture, discussion, fieldwork, etc.
- Discuss the format of exams and assignments with the class and if possible provide copies of previous exams or examples of "model" papers
Additional web resources for Faculty Resources
University of Washington: Faculty Information on Disabilities
Ohio State University: ADA Information