Accommodating Students with Disabilities

All faculty should provide students with this syllabus statement, and are responsible for knowing and adhering to Dickinson's policies for accommodating students with disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. To ensure that you are current on all of Dickinson's academic accommodations policies, please refer to our Guidelines for Implementing Academic Accommodations, where you'll find guidance related to:

It is also recommended that you familiarize yourself with the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions with explanations for how to handle nearly every accommodation situation you may encounter.  

For nation-wide guidance to faculty regarding accommodating students with disabilities, see the DO-IT Faculty Room.

NEW FOR 2019!

Post-Concussion Guidance: Our Spring sessions have now passed, but if you are interested in learning more about the short and potential long-term impacts of concussions, as well as relevent accommodations and return-to-learn protocols, please email Marni Jones and she'll make sure you're made aware of any future sessions.

Review our Stats: You can revisit the data presented to the faculty by Dean and Director Marni Jones.

Student Video Montage: Watch as Dickinson students share some insights on barriers, accommodations and the importance that access has had on their experience at Dickinson. 


Contact Info

Department Head:
Marni Jones
Dean and Director of Access and Disability Services and SOAR

Elizabeth Connelly
Access Coordinator

Susan Frommer
Assistant Director and Proctoring Manager


Old West Lower Level, Room 5
Mailing Address

This page also includes the following subsections, with the first three relating to possible entries in your syllabus: (click to jump to section)

Syllabus Statement

It is important that faculty include in each syllabus the following statement, articulating your facilitation of reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and the protocols required for receiving them. It is further recommended that the statement be read aloud by the faculty member. This encouraging approach best promotes the timely use of any needed accommodations.

Accommodating Students with Disabilities
Dickinson values diverse types of learners and is committed to ensuring that each student is afforded equitable access to participate in all learning experiences. If you have (or think you may have) a learning difference or a disability – including a mental health, medical, or physical impairment – that would hinder your access to learning or demonstrating knowledge in this class, please contact Access and Disability Services (ADS).  They will confidentially explain the accommodation request process and the type of documentation that Dean and Director Marni Jones will need to determine your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. To learn more about available supports, go to, email, call (717)245-1734, or go to ADS in the Lower Level of Old West, Room 5.
If you’ve already been granted accommodations at Dickinson, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can meet soon to review your Accommodation Letter and complete your Blue Forms. If you will need test proctoring from ADS, remember that you will need to provide them with at least one week's notice.

The following are useful but optional statements to add to your syllabi that will be helpful if you have any students with an accommodation to record class, or if you restrict laptop use but you have any students with an accommodation to type their notes (to prevent "outing" them as having a disability). Feel free to email Marni Jones if you have any questions -- and thank you!
  • This class may be recorded for accommodation purposes
  • Laptop use is by permission only

Accommodating Students with Mobility Impairments

If a student has questions relating to building accessibility, please direct the student to this webpage:

If your office is located in a building that does not have an elevator and/or requires ascending or descending steps, please include in your syllabus and your email signature something comparable to this:  “My office is located on the ___ floor, which is only accessible by going up/down ___ steps. This building does not have an elevator. If this is problematic for you, please just let me know and I will gladly arrange to meet you at an alternative location.”

Note that, in addition to students with obvious short-term injuries, we have several members of our community who contend with mobility impairments that are not immediately apparent. Some may be able to navigate only a few steps, while others may have a flare-up of a chronic medical condition that renders them unable to climb or descend stairs. By announcing the potential obstacle of your office’s location, along with your willingness to make alternate arrangements, you give students (and colleagues) with a mobility impairment an opportunity to convey the need for a more accessible meeting location.

Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources

Professors may also wish to include in their syllabi information about this academic success resource.

Marni Jones is also the Dean and Director of SOAR: Strategies, Organization, and Achievement Resources, which is a part of Academic Advising, and provides supports for all Dickinson students in the areas of time management, effective reading and study skills, note-taking and notes review strategies, memory-enhancing techniques, and test-taking and preparation. Marni trains student Time Management Strategists who are available to assist students with forging a time management and study strategy plan. Sessions can be scheduled by emailing Referrals by professors are welcome. Students can also find a wealth of resources, including semester calendars, weekly planners, and the Academic Success Workshop schedule through the SOAR website.

Universal Design

Universal Design is a construct based on the premise of maximizing accessibility for all. An example would be elevators, which are needed for wheelchair users, but beneficial to all. Principles of UD that relate to education are referred to as Universal Design of Learning (UDL), Universal Design of Instruction (UDI), and Universal Course Design (UCD). Often when UD principals of inclusive learning are incorporated, the need for specific accommodations is reduced. Learn more about Universal Design, as well as how to design a Universally Designed syllabus.

Disabilities, Disorders, and Medical Conditions

There are times when students may tell you their diagnosis in hopes that this will shed light on the potential impact their disability may have on their academic participation. For information about how certain disabilities may impact various aspects of a student's educational experience, see the DO-IT Faculty Room resource page. If you're seeking information about specific disabilities, disorders, illnesses, and medical conditions, see below. 

ADS Director Marni Jones is also available to serve as a resource for you if you have any disability-related questions.

Video Explanations of Specific Disabilities

These brief video clips created by the National Center of Learning Disabilities are a part of their excellent "Ask the Expert" series and will provide viewers with an insightful snapshot to help you to better understand the most prevalent cognitive and learning disabilities.

What We Do

Accommodations are determined following thorough documentation review by Dean and Director Marni Jones, who also provides support and guidance for faculty and administrators. The daily facilitation of scheduling, forms management, note-taking support, and more is handled by Elizabeth Connelly, Access and Communications Coordinator , and is assisted by our Staff Associate, Madelyn Campbell. Proctoring is facilitated by Susan Frommer, Assistant Director and Proctoring Manager.

Students who have formally disclosed a disability represent nearly 20% of the Dickinson student population. About 15% receive academic accommodations. Access and Disability Services facilitates accessibility and reasonable accommodations for eligible students, and serves as a support and resource for faculty and administrators working with students and disabilities. Dickinson's accommodations policies are in compliance with the ADAAA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.