Faculty FAQs

1. A student gave me an accommodation letter, what should I do?

Please review the details in the accommodation letter and discuss with the student, in a private space and in a confidential manner, how you intend to provide the approved accommodations.

2. What are my responsibilities when I have a student with a disability in my class?

Your primary responsibility is to respond to and provide the accommodations as outlined in the accommodation letter, provide a welcoming environment, and maintain confidentiality.

3. What if I am concerned about an approved accommodation?

Please contact Disability Services and Programs and speak with a DSP Professional Staff Member at (213) 740-0776.

4. What do I do if a student requests a note-taker in my class?

DSP’s NoteTake Specialist will work behind the scenes to assist in recruiting a note taker in your course.  Should we have difficulty securing a note taker in your course, you will receive an email asking for your assistance.  As professor, you can provide the student with your lecture notes, have a TA provide notes, or make an anonymous announcement to the class requesting a note-taker.

If you make an anonymous general announcement in your course and elect to email the class roster, please state the following:

“There is a student in  the course with a disability (do note mention the student’s name).  Because of the student’s disability, the student is in need of a note-taker.  Would someone please volunteer to share his or her notes with this student for the semester?  It would be of great value and assistance to the student.  If willing, please see me after class.  Then, email DSP Note Taking at notetake@usc.edu.  In general, note takers receive a token of appreciation at the end of the semester of up to $100 per course.  This amount is not guaranteed as it is dependent on various factors such as frequency and timeliness of uploads.

If a student does not immediately volunteer, you may approach a student and request his or her note-taking assistance.  In the past, some professors have provided a few points of extra credit to note-takers.  Please consider if this may be a possibility for your class.

5. How far in advance must students with disabilities inform an instructor about needed accommodations?

DSP advises students to provide instructors with accommodation letters as early in the semester as possible, however, they may notify you at any time throughout the semester.  If requesting testing accommodations, we recommend notification of a week in advance of any exam to allow time to put accommodations in place.

6. Are there any general modifications I should consider to make my courses more accessible to all students?

Basic principles of universal design for learning encourage providing multiple means of representation, multiple means of expression, and multiple means of engagement for all students.  Examples may include providing notes for course lectures, offering students a variety of options to demonstrate their comprehension of course material, and administering untimed exams.

For additional information, please refer to The National Center on Universal Design for Learning, The Faculty Room, and USC’s Center for Excellence in Teaching.

7. Should I place a statement on my syllabus informing students with disabilities that accommodations are available?

It is mandatory that all university syllabi include the following statement regarding students with disabilities available through the USC Faculty Portal:

Any student requesting academic accommodations based on a disability is required to register with Disability Services and Programs (DSP) each semester.  A letter of verification for approved accommodations can be obtained from DSP.  Please be sure the letter is delivered to me (or to TA) as early in the semester as possible.  DSP is located in GFS 120 and is open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.  Website for DSP: https://dsp.usc.edu and contact information: (213) 740-0776 (Phone), (213) 740-8216 (FAX), ability@usc.edu (Email).

8. May I talk to a student about his/her disability?

Feel free to speak with students about accommodation requests.  Please respect student privacy and use the utmost discretion and sensitivity when discussing these matters.  The level of disclosure regarding the nature of any disability status is up to the student.