Frequenty Asked Questions: A Guide for Regis University Faculty How do students receive accomodations from SDS/UT? Students must provide sufficient documentation of their disability to SDS/UT. They must then meet with an SDS/UT staff member to establish appropriate accommodations. Once accommodations have been established, the SDS/UT will send an LOA (Letter of Accommodation) to the faculty member and the student. This letter explains the types of accommodations deemed appropriate for that student. What types of accommodations does SDS/UT provide? Examples of accommodations that may be provided to students include, but are not limited to, peer note taking, books in alternative format (Braille, CD, large print or electronic format), permission to audio record lectures, Sign Language interpreters, or additional time to complete exams. Students who approach faculty in the classroom asking for accommodations should be referred to the SDS/UT. Faculty should not be accommodating students with disabilities without receiving an LOA from Student Disability Services and University Testing. What is my responsibility if a student requests accommodations? The provision of academic accommodations is ultimately a team effort between the student, the professor, and SDS/UT. SDS/UT helps the faculty to ensure that the accommodations are appropriate and obtainable for a particular class. All accommodations must be approved by the SDS/UT before a faculty member can accommodate a student. At the student’s request, SDS/UT can provide an LOA to the faculty (Letter of Accommodation) outlining necessary accommodations. NOTE: If an instructor grants an accommodation without SDS/UT involvement, the student could be perceived as being disabled under ADAAA criteria, and that could put the professor and the University at risk if a problem or complaint related to the accommodation arises (example: one professor will accommodate a student without an LOA and another professor will not. Such behaviors can be viewed as confusing and inconsistent to the student that the student may end up challenging the discrepancies of why one professor will give a disability-supported accommodation and another professor will not unless that professor has received an LOA from Student Disability Services and University Testing. If a student needs Alternate Format Texts (CD, e-text, Braille), what do I do? Students with this accommodation work directly with the SDS/UT to get the accommodation put in place. If a student requests alternate format texts to the professor, refer the student to the SDS/UT at 303.458.4941 or email@example.com. I’ve been told that a disability statement must be included in all course syllabi. What does this statement say? A University-approved syllabus statement was adopted in 2006. The statement says: Regis University, in compliance with federal guidelines, is committed to equal educational opportunity by assuring otherwise qualified students with disabilities equal access to Regis University programs and activities that are provided to students without disabilities. An otherwise qualified person with a disability is a student who meets the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in Regis University’s educational programs and activities. Eligibility To ensure the provision of reasonable and appropriate services at Regis University, students with disabilities must identify themselves in a timely manner to Student Disability Services and University Testing (SDS/UT), Clarke Hall, the Learning Commons, Room 225, 303.458.4941, firstname.lastname@example.org, in order to be eligible for the requested accommodation(s). Current and comprehensive documentation must be on file with SDS/UT prior to approval of the accommodation. What should I do if a student says he/she needs accommodations due to a disability? Refer the student to the SDS/UT. Accommodations work through the SDS/UT, not through the professor. All students with disabilities have to present appropriate documentation to the SDS/UT before they can be eligible for accommodations. SDS/UT works with sensitive disability information that we encourage students to not share with the professor, the academic department, or the Admissions Office, and instead send that documentation directly to the SDS/UT. If disability documentation is sent to those areas, SDS/UT suggests that the paperwork be forwarded to the SDS/UT. May I discuss the student and/or the disability with other faculty or staff and parents? Students at least 18 years old are afforded all the rights of adults, including privacy. Instructors must receive in writing the student’s permission before sharing any information with anyone other than the student. For distance learners, written permission can be done in the form of an email. If the student gives verbal permission over the phone, we suggested that a follow up email from the professor or staff member be sent to the student verifying that the student has agreed to allow the professor to talk to other faculty or staff. If the student has signed a release with the SDS/UT, SDS/UT can discuss educational issues with faculty and staff but will not disclose the nature of the disability unless the student has given permission to the SDS/UT to do so. More important, discuss the behaviors of the student, not the disability; the behaviors are the issue in most cases, not the disability label. What is extended time testing, and how does it work? Many students with disabilities are afforded this accommodation. At Regis, students receive extended time to take in-class quizzes and exams or timed online quizzes and exams. Professors are not obligated to accommodate students for extended time testing but may do so if they offer the same to the whole class or if they are willing to arrive to class early or stay later to accommodate the student with the disability for more time. The student must: Contact SDS/UT at least five business days (one week) prior to the test date. SDS/UT then contacts the instructor to make arrangements to get the exam. Take the exam in the SDS/UT testing facilities at the same time the rest of the class is taking it, unless prior arrangements have been made between the professor and SDS/UT. For evening and weekend classes, arrangements are usually made after discussion with the faculty and the SDS/UT. In some cases SDS/UT will proctor the exam during normal weekday hours (M-F 8:30 to 5:00 p.m.) or after hours with advance notice. The most important consideration the faculty can give is to communicate with the SDS/UT if they have any questions or concerns involving any disability accommodation. Do extended time accommodations apply to online classes? Yes. Faculty must contact a member of the Learning Design Department to make sure that the parameters for the time extension are in place before students are able to access their online exams. Faculty is encouraged to contact SDS/UT if they are unsure of who to talk to set the additional time. What about faculty and staff who have disabilities and need accommodations? All Regis University faculty and staff who wish to disclose a disability to receive accommodations must contact HR at 303.458.4161. Student Disability Services and University Testing only works with students. What are my responsibilities concerning field trips? Students with disabilities are entitled to participate in field trips or other events and accommodations must be offered to the student. Contact the SDS/UT for more specific information on how to obtain accessible accommodations. Please notify SDS/UT of the field trip well in advance so that accessible transportation can be arranged. What do I do if a student appeals a grade based on a disability? Accommodations cannot be granted retroactively. To receive an accommodation, a student must disclose the disability, provide proper documentation, and request the accommodation at the time it is needed, usually before or when the class is in progress. Students have the right to file grade appeals whether they are registered with the SDS/UT or not. What do I do if I think an accommodation is inappropriate? SDS/UT staff can help determine appropriateness of an accommodation. Accommodations that compromise the integrity of an academic program, impose undue financial burden on the University, or alter the programmatic content are neither reasonable nor appropriate. Students must meet the goals and objectives of any course(s) in which they are enrolled. If you have concerns regarding a particular accommodation, please contact the SDS/UT director; do not make the decision on your own to deny the accommodation. Such actions may put the University at risk if a student challenges a faculty member's denial of an accommodation and the SDS/UT is unaware of the situation. What should I do if a student says he/she needs an Incomplete in the class because he/she has a disability? If the faculty has not received an LOA from the SDS/UT, the student is either not registered with the SDS/UT, or has chosen to not use accommodations for this particular class, or is not aware of the SDS/UT. If no LOA was sent to the professor then the professor has no obligation to give the student an Incomplete based upon a disability. It would be appropriate to refer the student to SDS/UT. If the student is registered with SDS/UT and an LOA was sent to the professor, then the professor may grant an Incomplete based upon the academic criteria used for all students to determine an Incomplete, not the disability itself. What is an LOA? An LOA is a Letter of Accommodation that is sent electronically to ALL professors of students who request classroom accommodations. Students to whom the LOAs refer to are copied on these electronic LOAs. Some professors may receive one or two LOAs in a given term for a particular course; other professors may receive numerous or no LOAs. Professors should not be accommodating students without receiving an LOA. What should I do if I think a student has a disability but I have not received an LOA? According to the ADA, a student is disabled if he or she meets at least one of three criteria: 1) Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity, 2) Has a record of such an impairment, 3) Is regarded as having such an impairment. If you suspect that a student meets any of these criteria, you may suggest that he or she contact the SDS/UT for guidance. If the student discloses to you that she/he has a disability but you have not received notification from our office, please contact SDS/UT. In some cases the student may be registered with the SDS/UT but may forget to request the LOA or may decide to not use the accommodation for that particular class. In other cases students do not wish to be identified as having disabilities and may not even be registered with the SDS/UT. However, many adult learners may have developed disabilities later on in life and may not be aware of SDS/UT services, which is why it is always a good idea to refer students to the SDS/UT and let our office work with those students to determine their needs. A student needs a note taker in class; what do I do? Either the student or the faculty can ask for a volunteer note taker at the beginning of the class. SDS/UT provides Note Taker Agreements (contracts) and special paper or copy machine access. SDS/UT is also willing to come speak to the class if you cannot obtain a volunteer. Finally, if a volunteer note taker is not available after every effort, SDS/UT will provide one from outside the class. I have a student in an online class who needs extra time on a test. Can they still use D2L? Yes! In most cases students can take the exam through the secure browser with the appropriate settings. In some cases, the student requires a test reader, in which case SDS/UT will request a hard copy of the exam. Please contact SDS/UT for instructions on how to set this up. Please note that all online exams must be set individually for students who are eligible for extended time. Please contact the Learning Design Department for directions on how to reset those time parameters. What do I do if a student brings a dog or other animal to class? Service dogs are allowed anywhere on campus including classrooms. A service dog (or miniature horse) is a dog specifically trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability including physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by service animals must be directly related to the person’s disability. RU cannot ask about the nature or extent of a person's disability as to whether a person’s animal qualifies as a service animal. However, when it is not readily apparent that a dog is a service animal refer the student to Student Disability Services and University Testing where the staff may make two inquiries to determine whether the dog qualifies as a service animal, which are: Is the dog required because of a disability? What work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Requests should be submitted to Student Disability Services and University Testing and, consistent with applicable laws, RU may make an accommodation in its policies to permit the use of a Service dog assuming the request meets certain criteria and the Service dog has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of people with disabilities. An “emotional support animal” is an animal that provides emotional support that eases one or more identified symptoms of a person’s disability. Unlike service animals, emotional support animals are not trained to perform work or tasks, and they include species other than dogs and miniature horses. Emotional support animals are not allowed to accompany persons with disabilities in all areas of RU, but they may reside in University Housing with students with disabilities with appropriate documentation. To do the latter, the student must work through Student Disability Services and University Testing and Residence Life, Housing and Event Services departments. Are students who receive academic accommodations receiving special privileges? No – the implementation of accommodations does not give students “an edge” and should not be viewed as such. Students with disabilities are given accommodations in order to help them overcome barriers caused by their disability that may prevent them from learning in the same manner as students without disabilities. Accommodations provide access, but do not guarantee success. Students with disabilities are held to the same academic expectations as other students, which are to meet the course objectives. It is not appropriate for an instructor to lower his or her standards of grading or coursework to allow a student with a disability to receive a passing grade. This approach does not help the student in the long run and may put the university at risk for treating students with disabilities differently than students without disabilities. Can I get a list of Regis students with disabilities? No. Right-to-privacy guidelines dictate that we cannot disclose information about students without their consent; however, the LOA that we send out to faculty can help open up dialogue between the student and the professor concerning disability issues. How do I handle a student with a temporary disability, e.g., a broken arm? Students with temporary disabilities or injuries should contact the SDS/UT to discuss their needs. In general, the same disability guidelines apply although temporary disabilities are not protected under the ADAAA. SDS/UT will provide students with an LOA and work with students to provide reasonable accommodations. What do I do if a student with a disability is threatening or verbally attacking other students or the professor at a satellite campus or through an online course? If the class is being held at a remote campus (a campus site other than the Lowell campus), or online, students should notify the professor who in turn should notify the program chair on the behaviors. If the class is land based, then refer to the same information found in the question: What do I do if a student with a disability is verbally disruptive in the classroom? If the class is being held at the Lowell campus then the professor/students should call 911 and then call Campus Safety (303.458.4122). If the class is held at a satellite campus then students/professor should call 911 or the local police department. Why am I getting more LOAs that support time extensions on out-of-class assignments? Due to an OCR settlement (Office of Civil Rights) in 2011, disability service providers must now enter into dialogue with a professor concerning the use of time extensions on assignments. Before, SDS/UT providers advised students that they had to negotiate time extensions directly with the professor since SDS/UT providers could not determine how a late assignment would affect the course. OCR determined that putting the responsibility of negotiating time extensions directly on the student with the professor implied that the student has to negotiate his/her own accommodations; accommodations are not to be negotiated by the student. To negotiate accommodations in higher education is the role of the disability service provider. What do I do if a student with a disability is verbally disruptive in the classroom? Even with a disability, the student should be treated as any other student in the class who speaks out of turn or interrupts others from speaking. The professor controls the classroom environment and should address behavioral issues as he/she sees fit. If the acting out is a direct consequence of the disability then contact the SDS/UT to get input on how to address the behaviors of the student, not the disability. In some cases the student may not be aware of the disruptive behavior, or, if it is a part of the disability then the student, SDS/UT, and the professor can determine boundaries to aid the student in fully participating in the class without disrupting the flow of the lecture. Sometimes it is helpful to determine strategy with the student or the class as a whole on the consequences of disruptive behaviors, including the number of warnings a student may get, before asking the student to permanently leave the class. If the verbal disruption continues, then the student can be reported through the proper channels set up through the respective colleges (Regis College, Rueckert-Hartman College of Health Professions, and College of Professional Studies) for student discipline issues. If it is a day class then the student can be reported to the dean of that college or to campus safety; if it is an evening or a weekend land-based class, it is appropriate to report the incident to either Campus Safety (303.458.4122) or to the Chair of that Department. For online classes, it is best to report the incident to the chair of the department or the dean of the school. The Office of Campus Safety’s authority lies with Regis University proper (Lowell Campus) only. Students who act out at satellite campuses should be reported to the local Police Department. For general teaching tips on how to work with students in the classroom, contact Ken Sagendorf, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, at email@example.com. What are the laws mandating academic accommodations for students with disabilities? The first federal civil rights legislation for people with disabilities was Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (usually just called section 504). This law describes specific protections from discrimination for people with disabilities as well as outlines appropriate and reasonable services for students with disabilities in post-secondary education, e.g., academic accommodations, auxiliary aids, etc. In 1990, Congress passed a second law known as The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law added further support to Section 504 and set in place additional protections from discrimination for people with disabilities in such areas as employment, public transportation, public communication systems, and facility accessibility. The ADA(amended act) was amended in 2008 to further define the meaning of Service animals and broadened the definition of disability to include more conditions. It is important to note that the disability laws governing K through 12 are different than the laws governing higher education. K- through 12 grades are based on entitlement to an education; post-secondary is based on nondiscrimination.