Frequently asked Questions for Faculty

How do I decide if a request is reasonable?

You should not question the existence of a disability when the student has presented an Accommodation Letter from a Disability Specialist. If the student has requested an accommodation that conflicts with the goals of your class, please discuss your concerns with a Disability Specialist. In this way, a reasonable compromise can be achieved which upholds the goal of equal opportunity for students with disabilities while maintaining the academic integrity of your class.

What should I do if I have questions or disagree with the accommodations requested for a student?

The instructor should promptly contact the student’s Disability Specialist. If the instructor and the disability specialist cannot agree, the instructor should seek review of the requested accommodation within five (5) days of being asked for the accommodation. The instructor must provide the requested accommodation until it is either set aside or modified in the appeal process per District Policy 8.1.1.

If a student with a disability is already getting good grades in my class, why is it necessary to provide accommodations?

Title 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 establish that students with disabilities must have equal opportunity. A student’s excellent performance in a class (or his ability to finish exams on time or early) is not, by itself, a compelling argument that the student is being given equal opportunity. In order to have equal opportunity, the student may require accommodations: extended exam time, the use of a computer, or other techniques specified in the Accommodation Letter.

What should I do if a student does not present a Request for Accommodation letter from DRD, but instead speaks with me personally to negotiate accommodations?

You should refer them to DRD. Providing an accommodation without verification of disability-related needs can establish an approach which is unwarranted.

What if a student asks for a test accommodation the day before an exam?

Some accommodations may take a while to prepare or acquire. The instructor may be wise to warn students that certain accommodations may take longer to ensure. One way to aid timely arrangements is to be sure to provide a notice on your syllabus alerting students with disabilities who are requesting accommodations to give you and the Disability Resources Department reasonable advance notice of their needs.

You should know, however, that denial of a reasonable request is unacceptable. The college must provide the student with appropriate accommodations required under law, regardless of when the student requests those accommodations. Encouraging cooperation by all involved can result in productive actions.

Is it appropriate to let a student take an exam home?

Only if you let all other students take the exam home and work unsupervised. Fair treatment of students with disabilities does not mean that you give up good teaching practices.

Can I authorize unlimited time for a test?

Never offer unlimited time on tests as an accommodation. Never offer untimed tests. If extra exam time seems like a necessity for accommodation, offer it as extended time.

It may seem like semantics, but unlimited and untimed suggest that the student can tell you when the test is done. Extended time puts the time limit in your hands. So, unless you bring your sleeping bag and toothbrush to campus to provide proctored tests, only authorize extended time test accommodations.

Most commonly testing time is extended 1-1/2 times the amount of time your other students have to take a test. When an interpreter is needed, the student has especially labored use of equipment, or there are extraordinary problems, then twice the time or even longer may be recommended.

What if I give the whole class extra time for a test? Do I still need to give extended time for the student with a disability?

Yes, the civil rights laws specify that you do so.

May I require that a student start the exam at the same time as the class? How can I know that the questions will not be shared?

Ideally proctored exams are scheduled close to the time when your class is being tested. Sometimes a student must take the exam at a different time or date. You can help by completing the DRD Test Request form in a timely manner.  Unfortunately, we cannot prevent students from asking others in the class about the test. But such conduct is a violation of the Student Conduct Code and can result in sanction by the Dean of Student Conduct. Some instructors use alternate forms to reduce security problems. Alternate forms are useful, as long as they are comparable in difficulty.

I'm an "evening/ weekend" instructor. How can I get an exam proctored? Won't the student have to take the exam either a day before or after the rest of the class?

Proctored test services are available through DRD Monday through Friday during daytime hours only. The scheduling of the exam should be negotiated as far in advance as possible. For students who are in evening or weekend classes, we prefer that they take tests during the weekday, when the DRD Testing office is open. Arrangements can be made to have the test given in the DRD office, which is open M-Th 8-5 and Fri 8-12 p.m.

Why can't I get a list of students with disabilities? Why can't the College indicate which students on my roster have disabilities? If I had a list of students with disabilities I would know who may have problems.

Information about a student's disability is confidential. It is the individual's choice whether to ask for an accommodation or not, or how much to reveal about their disability. In post-secondary education it is up to the adult student to decide whether an instructor is to be made aware of disability-related information.

Such information might prejudice an instructor's opinion about the student. The only information an instructor needs to know is what accommodations (academic adjustments) are authorized by the Disability Specialist.

What if I don't believe a student really needs an accommodation? Or I don't believe he or she is disabled?

DRD Specialists base their recommendations on current medical/educational information and their professional knowledge of the student's disability. If a student presents you with an Accommodation Letter from their Disability Specialist, that student's disability has been documented. You may contact the DRD if you have any questions. But, as the student's records are confidential, DRD staff will not be able to provide you with any information about the student's specific disability.

If a student says that a medical condition prevents them from handing in an assignment on time, how can I be sure without offending them?

Refer the student to DRD or their Disability Specialist. DRD will notify the instructor if the request is authorized or not.

Do all students with disabilities receive support from the Disability Resources Department?

Students with disabilities are not required to accept services from the DRD. In order to receive an Accommodation Letter, they may have to go through DRD in order to verify eligibility.

Can I ask a student if they have a disability? Should I use that word?

"Disability" is the appropriate term. See the Etiquette Section for information on preferred terminology.

What if a student with a disability causes discipline problems?

Students with disabilities are expected to conform to the college's conduct rules. See the Student Incident section for more information.

As an instructor, how can I work more effectively with students who have disabilities of various kinds?

Please see the section Faculty Resources. For more information on particular topics, consult DRD’s disability specialists by telephone or e-mail.

How can I learn more about disability in general, or particular disabilities?

The Disabled Students’ Services welcomes the opportunity to offer presentations on disability in general, or particular disabilities, to academic departments and staff. To arrange such a presentation, contact DRD. We can also provide lists of relevant books, articles and other information (for example, names of support organizations for people with specific disabilities). In addition, you may find other helpful information on this website.

What should I do if a student needs help to use the restroom?

Students are expected to provide their own assistance for personal care such as toileting, eating, and other activities which are not strictly school-related, activities which must be attended no matter where the student might be.

What if a student has an aide come to class with them? What should I expect?

Both a personal assistant and a class aide provided by the college should be authorized by DRD. If the student has a personal aide, ask the student to register that person with Disability Resources Department.

Can students bring motorized "scooters" into classrooms?

Sometimes mobility equipment is used by those who are able to ambulate relatively short distances. The equipment may be "parked" inside a classroom while the qualified student with a disability participates in the class.

Are students with disabilities allowed to tape classes as an accommodation?

Students may be authorized by their disability specialist to record their instructor’s teaching as an accommodation for educational limitations. Recording in an educational environment is defined as using technology to capture sound and/or visual images for later personal use. Recording devices may include phones, smart pens, tablets, laptops, or other mobile devices. Students who are authorized to record have reviewed the following responsibilities with their Disability Specialist.