Faculty Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I include in the syllabus to inform students of the Office for Disability Services?
It is important that instructors include in their syllabus a statement encouraging students to inform the University of any special-needs that require accommodations. A further recommendation is that the statement be read aloud by the instructor during the first week of the course.
"Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is encouraged to speak with the course instructor immediately at the beginning of the semester. The student is responsible for applying for accommodations through the Office for Disability Services. All information disclosed during this process will remain confidential. No accommodations can be given without first registering with the Office for Disability Services. To contact Jon Abernathy, Director of the Office for Disability Services, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (731) 661-6520. The office is located in Penick Academic Complex, Hallway F, Room 19".
Attendance Policy: Please include a clear policy on attendance and its role in grading process, if any. This is helpful for all students to understand and it can communicate the essential role of attendance in the course objectives.
- How do students become eligible for accommodations?
Students can access the procedures and guidelines for requesting reasonable accommodations at the Office for Disability Services website at
The site includes a section on How to Request Accommodation and a link to
Register Online. After the application and supportive medical documentation is submitted, the materials are evaluated to determine if any appropriate accommodations are available. As instructors, you may also refer a student to the Office for Disability Services if you become aware that they may qualify for our services.
Our Office will then refer the student to appropriate testing if needed. Please send an email to the Director, Jon Abernathy, at email@example.com or call at (731) 661-6520.
- How will I be notified if a student is approved for accommodations?
Any student that qualifies and is requesting accommodations should contact the Director of the Office for Disability Services at the beginning of the semester. The Director will then give them a formal accommodation letter that outlines the approved accommodations. It is the student's responsibility to either email this letter to their instructors or deliver the letter in person. If a student asks you for accommodations and does not have a formal letter from the Office for Disability Services, please request that he or she contact Jon Abernathy, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (731) 661-6520.
- Can I provide accommodations for a student without utilizing the Office for Disability Services?
In order to ensure that accommodations are appropriately and effectively administered to students with disabilities, we discourage instructors from providing accommodations outside of the procedures outlined by the Office for Disability Services. By using the Office for Disability Services, the instructor can be confident that the student qualifies for specific accommodations.
- Why are instructors required to provide exam accommodations to students with disabilities?
Federal law (Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) mandates that university instructors must provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. This includes allowing students extended time on exams and a distraction free testing environment. In these cases, it has been determined by a professional that the student's disability hinders his or her functional abilities during a testing situation.
- What do I tell other students regarding the exam accommodations for students with disabilities?
Since confidentiality is key, it is best not to discuss exam accommodations with other students or in a class setting. Discussing any information regarding a student's disability in the presence of other students can create an uncomfortable situation for the student. Also, confidentiality is a legal concern and a student's right to privacy concerning their disability is protected by Federal Law.
- Do exams have to be taken in the Hundley Center?
Faculty may choose to accommodate the student within their own facility. It is the student's responsibility to make arrangements with the instructor prior to the exam date.
As long as the students required accommodations are met (e.g. distraction free environment), it is not necessary for the student to take the exam at the alternate testing site.
The testing location within the Hundley Center provides a safe, quiet, and distraction free environment for the student.
More information on policies and procedures concerning the alternate testing site.
- What is the Instructor's responsibility in providing accommodations to a student who approaches them immediately before an exam?
The Office for Disability Services clearly sets out the expectation that students will approach instructors at least a week before an exam date. If a student chooses to wait until the day of the exam, instructors are encouraged to make a good faith effort in accommodating his or her needs. However, it is the student's responsibility to follow all procedures and policies, therefore instructors in this situation are not obligated to provide an alternate testing site.
- What if a student notifies the instructor of needed accommodations late in the semester?
There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Sometimes students are not able to acquire documentation of a disability until later in the semester. In other instances, a student may try to take a class without accommodations, but find that they are not doing well and need to use them. In either situation, an instructor must remember that accommodations are not retroactive. The Office for Disability Services encourages instructors to make a good faith effort at fulfilling the accommodation, however, in some instances a late request may make the accommodation impossible to provide.
- What is my responsibility as an instructor in assisting students with acquiring a note-taker in class?
One of the accommodations provided for some disability students is an alternate copy of course notes. It is ultimately the student's responsibility to acquire a note-taker.
However, we encourage instructors to assist in any way possible. There may be situations where a student needs a copy of the instructors lecture notes because other copies are not available.
If the student is requesting a note-taker and has been approved for the accommodation, they should provide a Note-Taker Announcement Letter to you.
- What are ways that I can ensure that student with disabilities are supported during the semester?
- Encourage students with disabilities to register with the Office for Disability Services.
- Provide students with a detailed course syllabus.
- Clearly set out expectations before the course begins (e.g., attendance policy, materials to be covered, and due dates).
- Start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered that period.
- Present new or technical vocabulary in written form.
- Give assignments both orally and in written form to avoid confusion.
- Point out if a study guide is not comprehensive or lacks new subjects that may be covered in an exam.
- Provide study questions for exams that demonstrate format as well as content. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.
- If possible, select a textbook with an accompanying study guides or software programs for optional student use.
- Provide adequate opportunities for questions and answers, including review sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Meet the Staff
- Jon Abernathy, M.S.Ed.
- Office: PAC F-19
- Phone: 731-661-6520
- Fax: 731-661-5187
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Box: 1806
Location and Hours
- 1050 Union University Drive, Jackson
- Penick Academic Complex, Hallway F, Room 19 (Between Union Station and the Library)
- 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday - Friday