- Reasonable Accommodation Syllabus Statement
- Faculty Portal
- Frequently asked questions
- Grievance policy and procedures
- Terminology definitions
As an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility to inform students with disabilities about the process of accessing reasonable accommodations. As you prepare course materials for the upcoming semester, please include the following Reasonable Accommodation Syllabus Statement.
Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please contact the Access Center at 360-546-9238 or email@example.com. The Access Center is located in the Classroom Building, Room 160. Accommodations may take some time to implement so it is critical that you contact the Access Center as soon as possible.
All accommodations must be approved through the Access Center.
WSU Online Course Syllabus Statement
The following statement is included for online courses:
Reasonable accommodations are available with online classes for students with a documented disability. All accommodations must be approved through your WSU Disability Services office. If you have a disability and need accommodations, we recommend you begin the process as soon as possible.
For more information contact an Access Center Coordinator on your home campus:
Learn about the WSU Faculty Portal.
A student says s/he needs accommodations for a disability. What should I tell the student?
Ask the student if they have registered with the Access Center and have been approved for accommodations. If they have not registered and been approved for accommodations, please direct the student to the Access Center located in the Student Wellness Center (Classroom Building, Room 160), or to the Access Center website. The first step is for the student to submit an Access Center New Student Application located on the Access Center website. Once this application has been received, the student will be contacted to set up an appointment with the Access Center Coordinator. The Access Center Coordinator will meet with the student and review documentation to determine reasonable accommodations for the purpose of reducing or removing environmental barriers impacting the student’s equitable access.
Faculty are not to request documentation from the student to verify their disability. Nor should you ask students the specifics of their disability. Students are not obligated to share information about their disability or why they are receiving accommodations; however, if students choose to disclose their disability with you, this information should be treated confidentially.
I suspect a student in my class has a disability. What are my next steps?
Some disabilities are evident with students who are deaf, blind or have mobility access needs. However, there may be times when you notice students exhibiting certain behaviors or reactions that may be substantially impacting their academic performance. These might include, but are not limited to: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, asking excessive questions, poor memory, increased anxiety, irritability, panic, difficulty with social situations, lack of attendance or failing grades. These behaviors may be symptoms related to a hidden disability.
If you suspect a student may have a disability, you are encouraged to set up a one-on-one meeting with the student and give him or her a list of campus resources to encourage their success. Included in these resources should be the contact information for the Access Center, where they can apply for accommodations on the Access Center webpage, and providing the student with an Access Center brochure. Brochures are available from the Access Center upon request.
After a student has applied, met with the Access Center Coordinator and has been approved for accommodations, instructors will receive an official “Notification of Accommodations” by email. This Faculty Notification Letter (FNL) is automatically sent on the first day of class, or 48 hours after the student has selected their approved accommodations from MyAccess. This official notification lets instructors know there is a student in their class requiring accommodations, and how they are to proceed.
Do I need to sign accommodation forms?
Faculty will no longer receive Letters of Accommodations (LOAs) to sign. These were previously brought to you by students for you to sign and return to the Access Center. Faculty now automatically receive an official Faculty Notification Letter (Notification of Accommodations) via email, once a student has selected their approved accommodations online through MyAccess.
There are a few forms (Alternative Testing Agreement, Flexible Attendance and Flexible Assignment Deadlines) that require your prompt attention and completion in order for students to receive their accommodations. While students are not expected to negotiate their approved accommodations, some accommodations may require discussion between faculty and student such as alternatives to presentations or alternative print needs, to determine best fit for the student.
If a student has been approved for flexible attendance and/or flexible assignment deadlines, instructors are to meet privately with the student, discuss, complete and sign these forms, which will be given to you by the student in person or via email. When done, please make a copy for yourself and return these forms to the student. It is then the student’s responsibility to bring a copy of these completed flexible agreement forms to the Access Center. If you need assistance or guidance with these forms, please contact the Access Center Coordinator at 360-546-9138.
If a faculty member has questions or concerns or believes that the accommodation granted present a fundamental alteration to the academic integrity of the course, please speak directly to the Access Center coordinator and not to the student in question.
What is my responsibility for maintaining confidentiality about a student’s disability?
Students are not obligated to share information about their disability or why they are receiving accommodations. However, if students choose to disclose their disability with you, you must hold this information in confidence. You may discuss the student’s accommodations with the student. However, you are not to discuss a student’s accommodations with other faculty, staff or students or allow accommodation information, such as the faculty notification letter, to be in view of others (e.g., as on your desk or podium). If a student approaches you to discuss their accommodations in the presence of others, please invite them to meet privately with you, rather than continue the conversation in front of others. If you have questions about a student’s accommodations, you may discuss these with the Access Center Coordinator.
Can I provide accommodations for a student without using the Access Center?
Please connect with the Access Center Coordinator before providing your own accommodations to a student. Over accommodation can be as problematic as under accommodation, especially when the student interprets the accommodation as university-sanctioned or expects other instructors to accommodate them in the same ways without formal approval.
What if a student notifies me of a needed accommodation late in the semester? Are accommodations retroactive?
Students can request accommodations from the Access Center or request accommodation adjustments at any time, not just before, or at the beginning of a semester. Accommodations are not retroactive. They begin once you have received the official Faculty Notification Letter for the student for that semester.
Flexible attendance and flexible assignment deadlines accommodations are also not retroactive. They begin once the instructor and student meet to discuss, complete, and sign the flexible agreement forms. We strongly encourage faculty to meet with the student within the first two weeks of receiving the Faculty Notification Letter. Having a clear understanding of the parameters of these flexible agreements is beneficial for both faculty and students. The student is responsible for returning a copy of these signed forms to the Access Center each semester they use them.
After appropriate accommodations have been established through the Access Center, if they wish, faculty can choose whether to allow the student to repeat an assignment or retake an exam with the new or updated accommodations in place. However, the instructor is not required to do so.
Can any student take exams in the Access Center testing room?
No, only student who are registered with the Access Center and approved for alternative testing services accommodations may take exam in the Alternative Testing Services classroom. Approved students must also use their MyAccess dashboard to schedule their exams with the Alternative Testing Services classroom at least 3 business days in advance (excluding evenings, weekends, and holidays) and 10 days in advance for finals.
What is my responsibility if a student has testing accommodations?
Faculty members may choose to proctor students within their department as long as they are able to provide the student with their accurate exam extensions and other testing accommodations that may be listed in Faculty Notification Letter. Alternately, a student may take their exams at the Access Center.
Instructors are responsible for:
- Completing an Alternative Testing Agreement (ATA) so that students can schedule their exams in the Access Center via MyAccess. The ATA provides the Access Center testing staff with instructions regarding any testing parameters (such as memory aids or notes), how you can be contacted if any questions arise, how the exam will be submitted and how it should be returned. A student cannot schedule their exams via MyAcess until the instructor completes the ATA.
- Providing testing materials to the Access Center a minimum of 48 hours in advance of the exam so that our testing staff can prepare the exams for students in a timely manner.
If you have any testing questions, you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does a student’s testing accommodations apply for Global Campus courses with online exams?
For Global Campus courses, or courses with proctored on-line exams, students are required to use Global Campus Proctoring Services (GCPS). Unless informed to do otherwise by their instructor, students must contact GCPS directly to schedule exams and let them know what kind of proctoring they choose. The student will choose between a third-party online proctoring service or to be supervised by an on-site proctor.
Instructors are responsible for:
- Adding exam extensions in the course space
- Notifying the third-party online proctor (i.e. Examity) of extensions
- Notifying GCPS at email@example.com of extensions for on-site proctoring
- Notifying GCPS of exceptions to a proctoring location
- Notifying GCPS at firstname.lastname@example.org for any on-site exceptions if the course only allows Examity proctoring
Contact Global Campus Proctoring Services for more information.
Do testing accommodations also apply to quizzes, pop quizzes and clicker tests?
Yes, testing accommodations apply to any graded evaluation. For pop quizzes, please notify the Access Center testing staff at email@example.com beforehand and let the student know they may be directed to check-in with the Access Center testing staff so that alternative arrangements can be arranged with their accommodations. Note that students may opt out of using their accommodations for testing.
Can I post materials and links to Blackboard/Canvas if they are not accessible?
A person with a disability should be able to obtain and have access to information as fully, equally and independently as a person without a disability. Materials should not be made available if all students will not have a fair and equal opportunity to view them at the same time. For example, if a video is not closed captioned, do not post it on Blackboard/Canvas until it has been captioned. Please remove inaccessible materials and submit a Closed Captioning Request Form.
How can I acquire closed captioning for videos for a course?
You may submit a request for closed captioning to IT. Typically, IT requires receiving the request two weeks before the video is posted/made available to the class. Especially long videos may require more than a two-week notice.
For short online videos faculty are always encouraged to close caption videos on their own using a system called Amara. Learn how Amara works (video).
You may also consider an alternate course material that meets your learning objectives and is accessible. Consult with the Reference Librarian, for assistance in locating accessible materials.
A non-native speaking student has asked to get a copy of the notes that are provided to a fellow student as coordinated by the Access Center. What should I do?
Notetaking through the Access Center is provided exclusively to students who have a documented disability and who have been approved for notetaking as an accommodation. Notes or transcripts from a student’s notetaker or real-time captioner are not to be provided to other students who are not registered with the Access Center. If the non-native speaking student needs assistance with notetaking, please refer them to the Access Center to apply for accommodations.
What should I do if a student arrives in my class with a service animal?
Under the ADA law, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The ADA does not require that animals be certified as service animals.
There are two questions you can ask the student with a service animal:
- Is your service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the service animal been trained to perform for you?
If the answer to the first question is yes and the student is able to describe a task(s) in response to the second question, the animal is a Service Animal and must be allowed to accompany the student unless an exception discussed below applies.
Faculty/Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the service animal, ask that the animal demonstrate its task or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability. Service animals do not have to wear a vest or patch or specific harness identifying them as service animals.
Service animals must be under the care and control of their owner at all times. This includes feeding, toileting and cleaning up after their animal. The student owners are responsible for harnessing, leashing or tethering the service animal, unless an individual’s disability precludes the use of a restraint or if the restraint would interfere with the service animal's safe, effective performance of work or tasks.
If a service animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it, staff may request that the animal be removed from the premises. A service animal can also be removed if it is not housebroken, if it fundamentally changes the nature of the classroom, course or activity, or if its presence poses a direct threat to another’s health, safety or property.
What are the procedures in the event of a medical emergency during class?
Due to the nature of a given disability, there may be some students that provide faculty with a safety plan or emergency evacuation assistance.
In the event of an emergency, use the classroom phone or a cell phone to call 911. The 911 operators will notify a Campus Security office. Be prepared to give your location and the nature of the emergency. Afterwards, you may be required to submit an Incident Report.
What are some general modifications I might consider making to my curriculum to make my courses more accessible, and thus maximize the learning of all students?
The Access Center encourages instructors to always consider accessibility, regardless of if there is an identified student in your course with a disability. One way to do so is to shift to a universal design model.
Universal design is “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design." (Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University). Examples of universal design include closed captioning for all assigned videos, assigned readings that are easily accessible as audio texts or PDFs that are compatible with screen readers (rather that scans, photocopies, or images of text). Composing math assignments and exams in MathML in order to be accessible with screen readers, making syllabi available to students prior to the start of the semester are other general modification that maximize learning for all students. You are encouraged to research universal design and accessibility by starting with the following resources:
- Universal Design of Instruction in Postsecondary Education. (n.d.).
- Portland Community College: Distance Education and Instructional Support. (2016). Accessibility for Online Course Content: A Guide for Instructors.
If I have questions or concerns, with whom can I discuss a student’s disability accommodations?
The Access Center Coordinator, located in the Student Wellness Center (VCSL 160), is available for consultations. You may refer students’ questions directly to the Access Center Coordinator in person, by phone or by email. Please remember that any information the student shares with you should treated confidentially. Do not discuss disability accommodations with the student in front of the class or allow Faculty Notification Letters or other student accommodation information to be in places where others may see them. For more information, please contact the Access Center Coordinator at 360-546-9138 or contact the Access Center.
Grievance policy and procedures
Faculty members have the same right as students to raise questions and concerns with disability services/accommodations, especially when it is believed that the accommodations granted present a fundamental alteration to the academic integrity of the course. In these cases, faculty must speak directly to the Access Center Coordinator and NOT to the student in question. In addition, faculty members are still obligated to provide all accommodations as stated in the Faculty Notification Letter until resolution is reached.
If a faculty member is still dissatisfied after the Access Center has considered the concern and provided rationale, the faculty should speak directly to the manager of the Access Center or his/her department chair. The department chair will confer with the Academic Leadership Team and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs as needed, and will respond to the faculty member within two weeks. Accommodations may not be adjusted until resolution is reached.