Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty and Staff

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 Amendment Act (ADAAA) 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.

Are there things I should take into consideration when advising a student with disabilities?

Yes, listed below are some advising tips. However, this information is not a substitute for having a thorough discussion with the student about his/her needs.

  • A student with a learning disability(ies) often needs assistance in selecting a balanced class schedule.
  • A student with a disability(ies) may require a lighter course load than a student with no disability(ies).
  • A student with mobility issues needs sufficient time to travel from one class to another.
  • A student with certain medical conditions may require the student to take classes during a particular time of day.

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 the student’s disability specialist. The disability specialist will clarify any information, as well as assist you with obtaining the resources needed to provide the accommodation(s).

What if a student with a disability is disruptive in class?

Treat a student with a disability as you would any student who is interrupting class. A student with a disability is not exempt from the code of conduct that has been established by the University.

What do I do if a student approaches me in class requesting accommodations, and I have not received notification of his/her disability from the Noel Center?

The student is responsible for providing the Noel Center documentation of a disability in order to receive full accommodations. Therefore, the first question to ask the student is if he/she has met with a disability specialist from the Noel Center. If a student has not arranged such a meeting, suggest that he/she does so. A professor should wait to receive a Letter of Accommodation issued through the Noel Center before implementing accommodations unless it is an obvious disability.

Why is extended time on tests recommended so often?

Extended test time is the most common accommodation 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, additional time is needed to process the questions in a way the student can understand and answer. A student with a disability affecting motor control of extremities may need additional time to write the answers. Examinations need to allow students with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities, not the limitations of their disabilities.

As a faculty member, can I know a student’s disability?

A student may choose to disclose his/her disability; however the Noel Center cannot release information unless the individual with the disability signs a release of confidentiality.

I have a student who has been out ill 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?

Extended time for assignments or make up quizzes may be a reasonable accommodation in some situations. The Noel Center, in consultation with the student and professor, will determine the appropriateness on a case-by-case basis.

Does the Noel Center provide services for temporary disabilities?

Temporary disabilities are not covered under Section 504 or the Americans with Disabilities Act; however, the staff of the Noel Center will work with students with temporary disabilities to assist them in locating and utilizing all campus resources.

Does the Noel Center provide faculty/staff accommodations?

Yes, with the appropriate documentation.

Does the Noel Center provide other services?

Yes, the Noel Center provides faculty development opportunities, is available to speak to classes, and serves as a resource center for the University and the community at large.