Accommodations are designed to provide equal access to the academic environment for students with disabilities. The office of Disability Services and Programs (DSP) engages in an interactive review process to determine reasonable accommodations for each student. Faculty, instructors, and other academic department contacts are key partners for DSP in helping to ensure students receive their approved accommodations in an appropriate way. As fellow members of the University community, DSP collaborates with faculty and academic units to determine fundamental components of courses and programs. We look to faculty to serve as subject experts in their courses – design, objectives, assignments, and assessments. We work together to remove obstacles in the learning environment, allowing all students equal access to the educational experience.
When determining accommodations for a student, DSP factors-in the student’s request, the nature of the student’s disability, the supporting documentation, and the fundamental requirements of courses, programs of study, and the University. Accommodations cannot fundamentally alter the nature or requirements of a course or program, or institutional requirements for admission, academic standing/progress, or graduation. The University will give priority consideration to the specific accommodation(s) requested by a student, but cannot guarantee that a particular accommodation will be granted if DSP, on behalf of the University, determines it is not reasonable or that other suitable methods are available to ensure equal access to the learning environment.
Students may connect with DSP and make requests for accommodations at any time. Once the registration process is complete, it is generally not necessary for the student to re-register with DSP each semester. Exceptions to this may exist if the student initially connected with our office due to a temporary illness or injury, or whose accommodations were approved on a provisional basis.
Instructors should expect students to disclose their registration with DSP and their approved accommodations in each course, each term. This is done via Accommodation Letters, which the student generates through the MyDSP portal. It is the student’s responsibility to create and distribute these letters each semester. The MyDSP system does not automatically distribute letters to the faculty. Students may print and deliver the letters, or may email instructors with the PDF of their generated letter.
Important Notes about Accommodations
- A student’s request for accommodations does not guarantee approval. It does guarantee a full review of the request and the student’s file, and an interactive process to reach decisions about accommodations. Therefore, students stating they have contacted DSP or their request is “in process” does not necessarily indicate completed registration or approval of requested accommodations. We strongly encourage faculty to defer to DSP approval before providing accommodations independently.
- Approved accommodations are relevant from the point of approval forward; they may not be applied retroactively. For example, a student who registers with DSP and is approved for testing accommodations may not go back and re-take already completed tests now using accommodations.
- We guide students to provide their Accommodation Letters to faculty as early in the semester as possible, or as soon as their registration process is complete, in order to help ensure successful and timely implementation of approved accommodations.
- Students may register with DSP at any time in the term, and at any point in their academic career. While it is appropriate to request and remind students to provide Accommodation Letters and discuss accommodation use in your class, it is inappropriate to suggest a specific deadline within a course for when Accommodation Letters must be provided in order to receive accommodations in a course.
- Students are responsible for providing reasonable notice of intention to use an accommodation. For example, making use of approved testing-related accommodations involves planning with your instructor, or DSP, at least one week in advance. (More information about timelines is explained within each accommodation description.)
- DSP is happy to consult with any instructor or department regarding questions on how best to implement a student’s approved accommodations, or to address any concerns an instructor or department may have. Please contact the student’s DSP Specialist directly, or contact our front desk to be connected with the appropriate staff member.