Information for Faculty & Staff
Welcome to the Faculty and Staff page of the Meredith College Disability Services web site. Listed below you will find valuable information to assist you in working with students with disabilities. If you have any questions about working with students with disabilities, the policies of Disability Services, or your responsibility as a professor do not hesitate to contact us at (919)760-8427 or via email.
- Disability Services Handbook for Faculty and Staff
- ADA and Disability Law
- Frequently Asked Questions
- If You Only Read One Thing: Important Points to Keep in Mind
- Sign Language Interpreter Information
- Syllabus Statement
- Test Proctoring
- The Faculty Room (sponsored by Do It)
- Training Opportunities
- Universal Design
- Web Accessibility
According to these laws, no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity. Neither law requires that faculty change written and approved course standards; however, the faculty member may need to adjust teaching methods, evaluation tools and other instructional elements.
"Qualified" with respect to educational services, means "a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services."
"Person with a disability" means "any person who 1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities [including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working], 2) has a record of such an impairment, or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment."
Disabilities covered by legislation include (but are not limited to) AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, head injuries, hearing impairments, specific learning disabilities, loss of limbs, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, psychiatric disorders, speech impairments, spinal cord injuries, and visual impairments.
Working Together: Faculty and Students
Faculty members are encouraged to be responsive to the pedagogical needs of all students. However, students with disabilities may have some additional educational needs that they should discuss with each faculty member. It is helpful to include a statement on the class syllabus inviting students who have disabilities to discuss academic needs. An example of such a statement is "If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible."
Most of the time, the student with a disability is the best source of information regarding necessary accommodations. Faculty should work with students one-on-one to determine the best reasonable accommodations for each course. Faculty should seek support from other campus resources such as Academic and College Counseling and the Dean of Students’ Office.
(taken from DO-IT, University of Washington, www.washington.edu/doit/)
Why do I have to provide academic accommodations?
Federal law requires reasonable accommodations. Since the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities are attending colleges and universities in increasing numbers. The Rehabilitation Act states that "No otherwise qualified handicapped individual...shall, solely by means of handicap be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." With the passage of the ADA, this mandate was expanded to any public or private institution. Subpart E of the Rehabilitation Act requires an institution to be prepared to make reasonable academic accommodations to allow students with disabilities full access to the same programs and activities available to students without disabilities.
What if I cannot implement a requested accommodation?
If you have a question, or think you will have difficulty providing any accommodation requested, the first step is to contact Disability Services. A disability counselor will clarify any information, as well as assist you with the resources you need to provide the accommodation(s). In many cases, clarification will involve working with the student and Disability Services to adjust the recommendations for your particular academic situation.
What if a student with a disability is disruptive in class?
A student with a disability should be treated as you would any student who is interrupting class. If the disruptive behavior of a disabled student becomes sufficiently severe, Disability Services should be notified as soon as possible.
What do I do if a student approaches me in class requesting accommodations and I have not received notification of her disability from Disability Services?
The first question to ask the student is if she is working with Disability Services. If she is, suggest that the student inform Disability Services that the instructor has not received notice of the student’s disabilities. The student is responsible for providing documentation of her disability in order to receive accommodation(s). If a student is asking for accommodation(s) and is not working with Disability Services, suggest she call and arrange for an appointment.
Why is extended time on test recommended so often?
Students attending the college may have a variety of disabilities. Extended test time is the accommodation most common for students with disabilities because many disabilities affect processing time. For example, a student with a learning disability cannot process information in the same manner as a typical student. Therefore, she needs additional time to rephrase the questions in a way she can understand and answer. A student with a disability affecting motor control of her extremities may need additional time to write the answers. Examinations need to be modified to allow students with disabilities to demonstrate their abilities, not the limitations of their disabilities.
What if I suspect a student in my class has a disability and would benefit from accommodations; however, I don’t think she is working with Disability Services?
Many referrals to Disability Services are from faculty who have noticed a student having difficulty in class. If you see a student struggling and suspect a disability, you are encouraged to contact Disability Services. The faculty/staff member and a disability counselor will develop an appropriate strategy for approaching the student after class or during office hours about the difficulty the student appears to be having.
As a faculty member, can I know a student’s disability?
Disability Services cannot release information unless the individual with the disability signs a release of confidentiality.
I have a student who has been out sick for the past week and wants to have extra time to turn in her assignment(s) and make up a quiz. Am I required to provide the extra time?
Our primary goal for students is learning, and with that in mind, you may work with Disability Services to determine an appropriate plan to address the student’s individual needs. Disability Services serves the student once appropriate medical documentation has been received, and the student requests our help. Temporary disabilities are not covered under Section 504 or the Americans with Disabilities Act; however, the college encourages professors to work with students with temporary disabilities.
If You Only Read One Thing: Important Points to Keep in Mind
This is an informative resource that provides tips for faculty & staff working with students with disabilities. It highlights legal considerations, rights and responsibilities, and information about providing reasonable accommodations. If you could only read one thing about studetns with disabilities, this should be it!
Developed by Utah State University. Project supported by a grant from U.S. Department of Education Office of Post Secondary Education. P33A990006
Sign Language Interpreter Information
It is possible that you have encountered a sign language interpreter on campus. If you have little or no experience in using an interpreter, you are not alone. Interpreters are trained professionals who provide access to auditory information presented. It is important to remember that they are bound by professional guidelines and ethics that dictate their role. To clarify the roles of the interpreter and the professor, The Ohio State University has published a helpful guide for faculty who have an interpreter in the classroom. To access this useful document, click in the link below:
A statement inviting students to identify their needs will be very helpful in encouraging students to feel comfortable approaching instructors. The statement should be made orally and included in the syllabus. The following statement was approved by the Disabilities Panel and the Faculty Affairs Committee:
"Reasonable accommodations will be made for students with documented disabilities. In order to receive accommodations, students must go through the Counseling Center/Disability Services office. Disability Services is located in Carroll Hall and can be reached at (919)760-8427 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information see the website at www.meredith.edu/students/counsel/disability."
An instructor may have a student come forward as a result of this statement who has not contacted Disability Services regarding her disability. Please inform the student of the services provided by the Disability Services in the Counseling Center. Also encourage the student to visit our website for more information about our services.
For students who need testing accommodations, a need may arise when the professor of the course will not be able to provide those accommodations (i.e. extra time, separate setting, a reader or scribe) within the department. In such cases, the student and professor may request test proctoring, in writing, from Disability Services. Test Proctoring Forms are available on the Disability Services website or from 202 Carroll Hall. Unfortunately, due to limited space and staffing, Disability Services may not be able to honor each and every request. As such, Disability Services will work with students and faculty to locate an environment that is appropriate for their accommodations. In cases where no suitable environment can be identified, Disability Services may be able to provide the space and staff to provide the student's accommodations.
Test Proctoring Forms should be submitted to Disability Services in writing a minimum of five business days in advance of the test date. Changes and updates may be accepted with less notice, but cannot be guaranteed. All test/exams that will be proctored by Disability Services must be scheduled between Monday and Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
DS provides accommodations for tests, but not testing materials. Please do not bring non-testing materials to the DS office, including but not limited to, cell phones, pagers, PDA’s, pocket books, or book bags. If you do bring these items, DS will hold them, but will not be held responsible.
Students testing at DS will not have immediate access to their instructor. Any anticipated need to contact an instructor during an exam should be discussed ahead of time between student and the instructor. It is helpful for DS to know how to contact instructor in case the need should arise during test time.
The Faculty Room
An excerpt: "The Faculty Room is a space for faculty and administrators at postsecondary institutions to learn about how to create classroom environments and academic activities that maximize the learning of all students, including those with disabilities." To browse the vast amount of information click the link below:
Due to the unique nature of each department, Disability Services is available to provide trainings tailored to the needs of individual departments. Both the biology and history departments received departmental-specific training in the spring 2004. If you are interested in having a training, or would like more information, please contact Disability Services.
Resources for Faculty & Staff
- Universal Design Principles
- Universal Design of Instruction
- Universal Design for Staff & Administrators
- Universal Design in Post Secondary Education
- Introduction to Web Accessibility
- Ten Quick Tips for Web Accessibility
- How Different Disabilities can Affect Web Accessibility
- Accessible Web Design Video
- Section 508 Regulations