As a faculty member, you may encounter a variety of students with different disabilities and different needs. You may be uncertain about the disability particulars a student may share, how much to inquire about the information shared, and how to arrange the needed accommodations. You may have questions about your rights and responsibilities, as well as those of the student and SAS. SAS is committed to assisting you to ensure that the students with disabilities can participate equally in your class.
SAS encourages students with disabilities to privately meet with you (either during your office hours or by appointment) so that you can be discreet in discussing disability accommodations, guard the confidentiality of personal information shared with you, and create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for the student with a disability.
Students with disabilities should provide you with an accommodation letter from SAS which indicates they are registered with the office and specifies the accommodations s/he has been approved to receive. If the student does not provide you with this letter, you should inquire about whether the student has registered with SAS and refer the student to the office if s/he has not yet registered. If the student is registered with SAS, you should ask the student to provide the letter to you before providing accommodations. The Assistant Director of SAS can assist faculty and students facilitate appropriate accommodations when necessary.
Faculty members are cautioned about providing any academic accommodations that would be considered disability-related without verification of disability status from SAS. When in doubt, contact SAS to clarify whether the student has a disability and is in need of accommodations. Jane Jarrow wrote a document entitled “When Faculty are Too Accommodating” which explains how providing accommodations to students who are not officially registered with SAS can be problematic for faculty, the institution, and the student.
The academic expectations you have set for your class need to be the same for ALL students, including those students with disabilities. Accommodations may change the manner in which a student participates in your class or gains access to information (e.g., extra time for tests, a sign language interpreter, or use of a computer with special software). However, accommodations are not meant to give an advantage to students with disabilities or to alter academic expectations. If you feel an accommodation is not compatible with the structure of your class or alters the essential requirements of it, SAS should be contacted immediately.