Carthage College is committed to ensuring equal educational opportunity, employment, and access to services, programs, and activities for all Carthage students, faculty, and staff. Employees of the College may contact the Department of Human Resources in Lentz Hall 434, 262-551-6034 regarding issues with accessibility and disability services and rights at Carthage.
Faculty and staff have a responsibility to provide equal educational access to all Carthage students, which includes supporting students with disabilities. Please see below for ways faculty and staff may support students in their classrooms.
- Supporting Students with Disabilities in the Classroom
- Learning Accessibility Services for Faculty/Staff
- Syllabus Statement
- Testing Accommodations
- Creating Accessible Course Materials
- Accessibility Services at Hedberg Library
- When Faculty Are Too Accommodating
Supporting Students with Disabilities in the Classroom
- Provide students with a detailed course syllabus. Whenever possible make it available prior to the start of classes.
- Use the College’s course management system to make course materials and grades available to students.
- Clearly spell out expectations (e.g., grading, assignments, due dates, location of texts).
- Start each class with an outline of material to be covered that day. At the end of class, briefly summarize key points.
- Offer a variety of assessments, including tests and quizzes, class participation, projects, and papers.
- Support students who are entitled to accommodations by respecting their privacy and following through on your end of the alternative test taking process.
- Whenever possible, select text materials that are readily available in electronic or audio format.
- Create accessible audio, visual, and print course materials (see below).
- Encourage students to use academic support resources such as the Library, the Writing Center, and Tutoring and Supplemental Instruction.
- Familiarize yourself with services available to students through the Learning Accessibility Services Office.
- Educate yourself on your students’ disabilities. Read this article on Academic Supports for College Students with and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Learning Accessibility Services for Faculty/Staff
Learning Accessibility Services can provide services to faculty and staff, aiding them in supporting their students. Please consult Learning Accessibility Services if you need information about the following:
- Verifying student’s special needs
- Identifying appropriate classroom accommodations
- Providing information about disabilities
- Clarifying roles and responsibilities of faculty and students
Please use one of these statements in your syllabus to encourage students with disabilities to notify you of their academic accommodations in a timely manner.
- To show you welcome students with disabilities into your class and are fulfilling your legal responsibility to provide necessary accommodations in your classroom
- To facilitate your relationships with students with disabilities.
- To inform students of the appropriate process and contact person for their disability support needs.
Sample statement 1
If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this class, please make arrangements to meet with me soon. Also, please contact Diane Schowalter, Director of Learning Accessibility Services in Hedberg Library room 214 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and provide a letter verifying your disability and specific accommodations you may need. If you have any trouble accessing any course content or resources please contact me and Learning Accessibility Services and we will work with you to resolve any difficulties.
sample statement 2
Please address any special needs or special accommodations with me at the beginning of the semester. Those seeking accommodations should also meet with Diane Schowalter, Director of Learning Accessibility Services in Hedberg Library room 214 (email@example.com) and provide a letter verifying the disability and specific accommodation needs. If you have any trouble accessing any course content or resources please contact me and Learning Accessibility Services and we will work with you to resolve any difficulties.
Accommodations frequently include extended time and a separate room for testing. Having extended time is important for students who read or process information more slowly than their peers or have focus and anxiety issues. Some students need to test outside of the classroom. Students are welcome to take tests and quizzes in the Learning Accessibility Services Testing Center in Hedberg Library room 216. The LAS Testing Center is staffed by graduate students and there are many hours available each weekday. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule at the LAS Testing Center and to remind you to email the test to the LAS Testing Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) or deliver it to room 216 in Hedberg Library.
instructor responsibility for testing accommodations
Please email (email@example.com) or drop off your test or quiz to the LAS Testing Center in Hedberg Library room 216 at least one day in advance of the student’s testing appointment. Be specific about any instructions for administering the test and any materials the student is permitted to use (notes, textbooks, internet, calculator, etc.). The proctor will scan and email the completed test or quiz to you unless you specify otherwise. hard copies of completed tests and quizzes are available in the Testing Center for approximately 30 days.
Creating Accessible Course Materials
Faculty and staff creating content for courses must use technology in a manner that can be accessed by all users. Please keep in mind that students interact with electronic documents, websites, software, hardware, video, and audio technologies during the course of their college careers. Also be cognizant that some students may be unable to use the content you create in the same manner as others.
Carthage faculty are expected to create course content that is accessible to all and to follow the protocols below to create their content for distribution to students. Before uploading or linking content to Carthage’s learning management system, take a look at the instructions below.
If you have questions on creating accessible documents, you may contact Learning Accessibility Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Library and Information Services help desk at email@example.com.
Further Resources for Accessible Course Materials
From WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
- Accessibility from the user’s perspective
- PDF accessibility
- Captions, transcripts, and audio descriptions
- Microsoft Word accessibility
From the University of Washington
Accessibility Services at Hedberg Library
Consult this webpage for technology assistance and resources available through Library and Information Services at the Hedberg Library.
When Faculty Are TOO Accommodating!
Jane E. Jarrow, Ph.D.
Most faculty members in higher education today understand the legal and educational imperatives that mandate equal access to students with disabilities through academic accommodation. Sometimes, though, problems arise from faculty who are readily prepared to provide appropriate accommodation — it is their accommodating nature that can get them, the institution, and (sometimes) the student into trouble!
Most institutions have established a clearly articulated policy as to who holds the documentation of disability, what steps a student must take to declare their need for disability-related accommodations, and how that information is communicated to faculty. But what of the student who says, “I don’t want to go through the disability services office. I want to advocate for myself and work directly with faculty and negotiate my own accommodations.” Regardless of why students choose to go this independent route (and there are both good and bad reasons for taking such a stance), the faculty member who agrees to disregard institutional policy and honor accommodation requests directly from the student may not be doing anyone a favor!
Faculty members who work directly with students, discuss the disability, (possibly) look over the documentation, and agree to accommodation may be establishing themselves as the “gatekeepers” without meaning to do so. If the faculty member agrees to provide accommodation “x” and not accommodation “y” and later the student maintains that he/she was not appropriately accommodated, it is the faculty member’s decision that is subject to question and the faculty member who could conceivably be held responsible for violating this student’s civil rights. The faculty member who agrees to provide accommodations without institutional authorization for a student with one disability (for example, LD) but is less familiar and comfortable with another disability (for example, ADD) and sends that student back through channels for official documentation could be opening himself/herself up for charges of discrimination, intimidation, or harassment. Faculty members who conscientiously try to make life easier for the student by allowing the student to bring the documentation directly to them may gain access to confidential information to which they should not be privy. For all these reasons, it would be best for faculty not to be drawn into the collection of disability documentation or the decision-making regarding accommodation.
The student who provides documentation to a single faculty member (who accepts and acts on that documentation) may be able to make a legitimate case for saying the he/she informed the institution of the disability and the need for accommodation. The faculty member should not be discussing the information that has been shared (because of issues of privacy and confidentiality), and yet the student may be expecting to receive similar consideration and accommodation from other faculty on the basis of having provided the documentation to someone in authority at the institution. If it is not made clear that the institution has not been “notified” until the documentation is provided and requests are made from such-and-such an office, the institution may not be in a position to defend itself from charges of discrimination by neglect for a student who does not receive accommodation by others within the institution. Or consider this scenario — Professor A accepts the documentation and provides accommodation without going through channels, as do Professors B and C, and then Professor D says, “I will provide accommodations when I receive proper notification from the disability services office that this is appropriate.” Professor D looks like the villain for following the rules! More distressing, however, is the possibility that the institution may be facing some very real difficulties if the disability services office determines that some of the accommodations that Professors A, B, and C provided were not warranted by the documentation and does not prescribe those same accommodations for Professor D to provide.
Students with disabilities will still have those disabilities after they leave the postsecondary environment. Whether they choose to go on to graduate or professional school or seek a place in the world of work, chances are that if they needed accommodations to successfully function in higher education, they may need accommodation in their future endeavors as well. More and more often, those settings beyond the postsecondary experience are ready and willing to provide accommodations on the basis of verification from the higher education institution that those same accommodations have been provided during the student’s postsecondary career. If the student has no record of having been served by the institution — if the student was never on file in the disability services office and received all of his/her accommodations through individual discussion with faculty — that student will have no official history of being regarded or served as a person with a disability and may have a much more difficult time establishing the claim to accommodations in the future.
Bottom line: The policies and procedures were established for everyone’s protection. Everyone needs to play by the rules!
Excerpted from the DAIS Newsletter, February, 1997 (Volume I, No. 2).
Reprinted with permission