Implementing Academic Accommodations
The Academic Achievement and Access Center (AAAC) facilitates appropriate academic accommodations and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in the University’s programs and activities. Specifically, students must provide written documentation from a qualified professional on the nature and impact of the disability. The student and the AAAC will then engage in an interactive process to determine what, if any, accommodations are appropriate based on the student’s disability and individual needs.
Students must meet with an assigned AAAC Specialist to do the following:
· Complete an accommodations request for each class in which accommodations are needed and submit to their instructors.
Students must then notify each instructor as follows. Students are not obligated to self-disclose the nature of a disability to faculty members or instructors.
· Meet with each instructor during office hours to review the accommodation request.
· Discuss implementing accommodations with each instructor (e.g., when extra time for exams will be given, where to take exams, conflicts with back-to-back classes, alternative start times, and note-taking).
· Address any concerns about accommodations promptly with the instructor.
· Students may contact the AAAC Specialist for assistance with concerns about their accommodations.
Academic Achievement and Access Center Staff Responsibilities
· Meet with each eligible student requesting accommodations and determine appropriate accommodations based on documented need.
· Demonstrate to the student how to request accommodations and request that students meet with each instructor to discuss their accommodation letter.
· Ensure that any equipment or technology utilized to effectuate any academic adjustment is tested and is working properly one week prior to the first day of class.
· Advocate with faculty/instructional staff to have accommodations implemented as denoted on the AAAC AN.
· Contact the Department Chair if student indicates difficulty in the implementation of accommodations and a solution cannot be arrived at with the faculty member. The next step will be the Assistant Dean and then the Dean of the College.
· It is preferred that academic accommodations be requested at least two weeks prior to the beginning of classes or two weeks from the implementation of the approved accommodations in order to give the AAAC time to complete the processes necessary to support the accommodations.
· Discuss implementation of accommodations with each student.
· Assist in locating note taker if necessary.
· Comply with AAAC policies and procedures regarding the administration of tests in the AAAC Testing Center.
· Consult with AAAC professional staff if questions arise concerning the approved accommodations.
· Faculty/instructors are not exempt from following AAAC policies and the AAAC cannot implement separate practices for individual faculty/instructors.
Reasonable Flexibility in Attendance Accommodation
All students are expected to follow established classroom attendance policies. However, some students have a disability which could be episodic in nature, causing attendance difficulties. Flexibility with attendance policies may be necessary in some rare instances.
The accommodation of flexibility in attendance is determined by a review of the disability documentation provided by the student to the AAAC, as well as through a structured interview regarding the need for such an accommodation. It is up to the instructor and the AAAC access specialist to determine how this will be implemented for a particular class and a flexible attendance agreement will be developed. Like all accommodations, flexible attendance is not retro-active, meaning, an agreement must be in place prior to the absence(s).
What is “reasonable”?
Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to the tasks, environment or to the way things are usually done that enable individuals with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in an academic program (U.S. Department of Education, 2007). Depending on the nature of the course, flexible attendance might not be reasonable. Only the instructor can determine if a course involves significant interaction and in-class participation, and cannot allow attendance flexibility (e.g., labs, conversational foreign language, etc.). The AAAC access specialist will work with the instructor to determine if attendance flexibility is reasonable, and if so, to what extent.
Whether or not attendance flexibility is allowed, students will remain responsible for the following:
- Complete all work required for the course. When class is missed, the student will notify their instructor, as designated in the agreement.
- The accommodation of reasonable flexibility in attendance is not an automatic extension for work that is due on a day that they are absent. Students must still make every attempt to complete and submit their work. Any missed assignments, quizzes or tests will be completed in accordance with the flexible attendance agreement with the instructor.
- If medical intervention is sought, provide documentation to the AAAC.
- A conversation must occur between you and your instructor regarding the flexible attendance agreement so both parties are clear about expectations.
- Keep your AAAC Access Specialist informed if absences exceed the agreement.
- If absences exceed the agreement, consider how this will impact the course grade and whether withdrawing from the course is an option.
- Instructors must make themselves available to discuss the accommodation with the student in a place that allows for confidentiality.
- The instructor will work with the AAAC access specialist to determine a flexible attendance accommodation plan, if reasonable.
- If student absences exceed the agreement the instructor will not be required to approve additional absences.