Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty
...REGARDING ACCOMMODATING AND ADVISING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
First ask the student: “Have you been set up with an Access Plan through Access and Disability Services (ADS)?”
If No: Inform the student that all accommodation requests—whether due to a temporary or permanent physical impairment, learning disability, or medical condition—are to be made to ADS (Access and Disability Services). These requests must be substantiated by appropriate documentation and reviewed by Dean and Director Marni Jones, who is trained to examine disability-related documentation and determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations/academic adjustments.
If Yes: Ask whether the student has indicated their accommodation intentions on their CLIQ Access Plan and disclosed it to you.
- If they express uncertainty about it, direct the student to go to the ADS office in the OWLL (Old West Lower Level) or to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If they have done so, ask them to click the "Request a Meeting" button and then respond to their message with a time when you can meet privately to discuss which accommodations the student is requesting for your class and how the requested accommodation(s) will be implemented. (For example, will you be able to provide a student with a distraction-reduced environment accommodation the ability to test in a nearby room, or will you need to request a proctor?) Note that students may be eligible for an accommodation, but not feel it is necessary for your course.
If the student decides during your meeting to make any changes to their accommodation intentions, ask that they do so on their Access Plan at that time. At the conclusion of your meeting, you should click the "Acknowledge Accommodations" button which will notify ADS of the Access Plan that you and the student have put in place for that class. If changes need to be made at a later time, that's perfectly fine.
Professors have the autonomy to make concessions for students with extenuating circumstances, but such concessions should not be deemed disability accommodations. It is important that all accommodations are officially granted by ADS after a review of a student's documentation and determination of eligibility under the ADA and Section 504. That said, it's possible that, at certain times of the semester, ADS might grant provisional accommodations while the establishment of an Access Plan is pending. When in doubt, email John Joyce at email@example.com and CC Marni Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No; it is rather likely that you will have students in your courses who choose not to disclose or seek accommodations for a disability, and that is their prerogative (see FAQ #5 for reasons why this may be the case). If, however, students seek accommodations, they must register through ADS. You may also have students struggling with an undiagnosed disability. If you suspect a student may have ADHD or a learning disability, but they have not reported having such a diagnosis, DO NOT SAY SO, or even suggest it. Rather, send an email to the student (copying SOAR@dickinson.edu) recommending that the student connect with one of the SOAR Learning Specialists (which would be either Marni Jones or John Joyce) and then send a separate email just to Marni and John informing them of the rationale for your referral.
Accommodations do not apply retroactively, and this is made clear to students with accommodations. Prior to the start of each semester, reminders are sent to students registered with ADS to submit their Access Plan and schedule accommodation meetings with their professors as early in the semester as possible. Students also sign a form confirming their understanding of the process and implementation of accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule their accommodation planning meetings with professors in a timely manner. That said, there may be students who are not granted accommodations until sometime during the semester. For these students as well, accommodations are not applied retroactively.
Yes. There can be no deadline by which time students must inform professors of their eligibility for accommodations, other than making such requests in a “reasonable amount of time” (which, for test proctoring administered by ADS, typically needs to be 5 working days before a quiz or exam).
There could be any number of reasons why a student may either not disclose a disability or not seek accommodations until later in the school year. These might include:
- Fear of being judged less competent by professors or classmates
- Desire to start college with a “clean slate”
- Lack of awareness about their rights to have accommodations
- Misperception that recommended accommodations would be mandatory
- Incorrect assumption that accommodations would be “automatic” (if they already had accommodations in high school)
- Lack of organizational skills (to take care of necessary arrangements in a timely manner)
- Belief that, with age, they have “overcome” their disability, and that it will no longer impact their cognitive functioning
- A late psycho-educational evaluation and diagnosis
If a student qualified as having a disability under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) makes a request to receive reasonable academic accommodations in a timely fashion (regardless of the reasons why the request was not made at the beginning of the semester), the college must comply.
Unless you have received sufficient notice of the accommodation to allow you an opportunity to implement the accommodation without it constituting an undue burden, you are not required to do so. That said, case law does not substantiate decisions to disallow the use of extended time if it is reasonably feasible to provide it, even if there is an established protocol of providing more advanced notice than was given. The standard is whether the college's ability to implement the accommodation is reasonable, which typically must be determined on a case-by-case basis. If you believe that a student has provided insufficient notice to implement an accommodation such as extended time on an exam, please forward the student's request to Susan Frommer at email@example.com and CC Marni Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
QUIZZES: Because quizzes are generally short in duration, the student should ideally take the quiz in the classroom during class time. If the student receives time-and-a-half (or double-time) you may give him/her the additional time by: (1) having the student come early to class to begin the quiz, (2) by giving the quiz at the end of class, and allowing him/her to stay later (or designing the quiz to take less time than is remaining), or (3) by collecting the quiz from the student during class when the time allotted for all students is complete, and then allowing the student the extended time to complete the quiz after class.
TESTS: When possible, professors should try to provide students with the accommodation of extended time themselves. If, for quizzes or exams, you are not able to accommodate the student with your time before or after class, and you need proctoring assistance from ADS, please have the student request proctoring through CLIQ. You will be able to verify the proctoring requests have been made by viewing the student's card in your CLIQ Student Listings. If this need arises later in the semester, please contact email@example.com at least one week in advance to make arrangements for proctoring.
Additional guidance regarding accommodations for tests and quizzes (including pop quizzes) can be found on the Test-Taking Accommodations page.
Begin by asking students with this accommodation what they are comfortable with. Some students may actually feel more comfortable testing in the classroom for your class, others may prefer an isolated setting near you, and others might prefer to arrange proctoring through ADS. If you are able to provide the student with a distraction-reduced environment that is agreeable to you and the student, then please do so. If you need assistance from ADS, please ensure that you have indicated this on the Test Setup section of the student's Access Plan. If this need should arise mid-semester, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week in advance to make arrangements for proctoring.
If you are not able to monitor the student’s use of a laptop during test time please contact Susan Frommer at email@example.com so that a proctor and a computer can be reserved for the student in another location. Please note that the computers provided by ADS for testing do not have Internet access, and students taking an exam on a computer will be closely monitored. Again, as in the above FAQs, please make this request to Access and Disability Services at least one week in advance.
Yes. Such accommodations are typically granted to students whose ability to take notes by hand are significantly impaired, such as a student with arthritis or dysgraphia (a disorder that impairs the ability to form letters efficiently and legibly). Students with this accommodation are to disable their connectivity to the Internet during class (unless it's permissible by the professor), and may have this accommodation revoked if they are not compliant, or are not using their computer strictly for note-taking. Professors may also ask such students to sit off to the side of the room where they will be less distracting to those behind them.
It is advisable that all professors who restrict the use of laptops in the classroom add the following statement to their syllabi: "Laptop use is by permission only." In this way, students are not "outed" as having a disability if they use a laptop in your class. They are just seen as (for some reason) having received permission to do so.
First, ask the student how, if at all, they intend to use this accommodation. Some students may be in need off support with class notes for certain classes but not others. Here are the two options for students with this accommodation:
1. Use of a Smart Pen: (View example) This pen is also a recording device that works with a specific type of notebook. When students who are taking notes with a smart pen miss noting key information from a lecture, they can later simply tap on that section of notes with the pen and it will play back the audio that was recorded when those notes were written. Typically, a student using a smart pen will not need a note-taker but certain disabilities may warrant the need for both.
When a student is recording classes as an accommodation, the professor must announce, “This class may be recorded for accommodation purposes.” When the recording is occurring for purposes of an accommodation, the students in your class must be informed of that fact, but you do not need their consent.
Students with this accommodation who will be recording their classes are required to sign a document agreeing to each of the following:
- If using a recording device for note-taking, I agree that recording classes is permissible solely to facilitate my note-taking accommodation and for no other purpose.
- I agree to destroy my recording of any classes at the end of the semester. If my recording is for a class that I need to refer to in the future, I agree to destroy my recording at the completion of any courses that are dependent on this course.
- I agree that I will not share, send, post, publish, make public, or duplicate any recordings without the written authorization of the recorded person(s).
- I understand that failure to abide by these rules may render me liable to the professor and members of the class for breach of privacy and violation of copyright laws.
- I further understand that failure to abide by these rules is considered a serious violation of Dickinson College Community Standards and subject to disciplinary action.
2. Supplemental Notes from a Peer Note-taker: If a student requests supplemental notes from a peer note-taker, refer to the Faculty Memo on Procuring Student Note-takers, which contains all the instructions you’ll need, including a script for announcing the need for a volunteer note-taker (who can receive a gift certificate to the Bookstore), and a Note-taker Application Form, should you need one to choose between multiple volunteers. You can also guidance on facilitating this accommodation at www.dickinson.edu/ADS-NT.
Be sure to look over each applicant’s notes and choose 1 note-taker based on the quality of those notes.
When you assign a note-taker in CLIQ, an auto-generated message will be sent to the note-taker and ADS explaining next steps regarding how to scan and upload notes.
It is important to note that when a student is provided with a note-taker as an accommodation for a disability, the student receiving the accommodation must be present in class in order to receive the notes for that day. Note-taking as an accommodation does not replace attendance (unless a student specifically has an attendance-related accommodation).
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if a student eligible for receiving supplemental notes is consistently absent from class.
Use of a calculator (or any accommodation/modification) is appropriate only if its use does not lower the standards of expectation for a course. If the student is being assessed for their ability to perform basic mathematical functions, then the use of a calculator is not appropriate. If you believe an identified accommodation is not appropriate for your course, please contact Marni Jones immediately, so other arrangements can be made.
In advising, methods that guide students with disabilities away from particular courses or majors for which they are “otherwise qualified” are deemed discriminatory and are not a recommended practice. Keep in mind, however, that general requirements for the degree and the various courses of study offered at the college allow students to choose from a wide range of courses in order to complete their degree or major. Students with disabilities should be advised about the academic requirements for each course they are considering, so as to enable them to make the appropriate decision in their selection. Students should be provided with accurate, detailed information regarding course expectations before selecting a class or a major. Help students to match course selections with their strengths and interests.
For example, what if a student in a wheelchair cannot fit through a door, navigate a building, or the lab tables are too high?
If any students enrolled in your courses notify you that they have a mobility impairment and cannot physically access your classroom or building, or, if any students inform you that certain physical limitations exist in the classroom that prevent them from participating, please contact Marni Jones immediately. Section 504 and ADA do not require schools to physically alter historical buildings to accommodate students with disabilities; however, schools do need to ensure that all students have access to courses and programs. If necessary, the physical location of a particular course may need to be moved to an accessible site. Also, if necessary, physical adjustments may need to be made to classroom equipment in order to allow access for an enrolled student with a physical limitation.
For example, let’s say it is an outdoor geology field trip, that includes climbing a mountain to obtain rock samples to examine in a lab, and I have a student in a wheelchair or who has a heart condition?
According to ADA AA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, we may not prohibit students with disabilities from having access to a course or program. However, students with disabilities must also be “otherwise qualified” to take the class if he/she is to have any right to accommodations in the course or program. Thus, you should notify the student of any known course requirements and discuss any modification/accommodation that might be assistive, or any options that may be available so the student can meet the requirement.
For this example, consider such questions as these: Is the student being assessed on his/her ability to climb the mountain and extract rock samples? Or is the student being assessed on his/her knowledge in examining the rock samples? If the answer to the latter question is yes, then perhaps the student could attend the outdoor field trip without having to go up the mountain; meanwhile another student could gather the rock samples, and the student with a disability could examine the samples in the lab. If you are not sure of what to do in these situations, please call Marni Jones to assist you in the matter.
Some students may have a "reasonable flexibility regarding attendance" accommodation that indicates that the student “may miss, be late for, or need to leave early from class if necessitated by a medical condition.” Students with such an accommodation have medical conditions for which they cannot predict when flare-ups will occur, but such flare-ups may either render the student unable to participate in class, take a test, or execute academic work.
Students with severe medical conditions should discuss with their professor how this may impact class expectations with regard to attendance. Modification of an attendance policy is not automatically provided as an accommodation at Dickinson; instead, such issues are deferred to the specific faculty member involved as the one who sets the requirements and standards needed to complete the course. For this reason, students are instructed to sit down with faculty and devise (and record) a plan for the implementation of this accommodation. Requests for modification should be decided on a case-by-case basis and include how to address potentially missed critical lectures or discussions, as well as pop quizzes, tests, assignments or other graded work for the course.
Please feel free to contact Marni Jones if you have any uncertainty about how to implement this accommodation.
Some students may ask if there is an alternative to the foreign language requirement at Dickinson. For your reference, postsecondary institutions are not required to lower the standards of any course or program for students with disabilities, nor provide course substitutions. Although some colleges and universities offer alternatives for students whose ability to learn foreign languages is impaired, Dickinson College considers intermediate level mastery of a foreign language to be an essential component to a Dickinson education and a fundamental part of its commitment to prepare students for active roles in the global community after graduation. Consequently, no waiver of the foreign language requirement is available at Dickinson, nor is the use of course substitutions to meet the language requirement. This point is publicized for the benefit of all prospective students and students of Dickinson College in the Academic Bulletin. A copy of the current version can be found on the *Requirements for the Degree* page of the Bulletin.
Dickinson will provide appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities to support their access to success in the foreign language curriculum, including encouragement of tutoring.
Students struggling with mastery of a foreign language should be advised that an alternative for them is to enroll in courses in American Sign Language (ASL). Such courses are not currently taught at Dickinson, but can be transferred in to fulfill the foreign language requirement. Students wishing to pursue this option should be directed to speak with Marni Jones and to learn more about How to Fulfill the Language Requirement using American Sign Language).
In rare instances, a student may be considered by ADS to be eligible for an accommodation to fulfill the foreign language requirement by taking ASL online. Students may be directed to communicate to Marni Jones any interest in being considered for such an accommodation.
Yes! We encourage you to do so. Students are not required to inform you of their particular disabilities, so you may not know whether a student’s difficulty with organization may be due to an executive functioning deficit, AD/HD, a traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, or perhaps a co-morbidity with Asperger’s syndrome. Marni Jones is happy to provide you with assistance with strategies that may optimize an individual student’s participation and academic potential in your class.
Whom to Contact Regarding....
General inquiries about accommodations: Αccess and Communications Coordinator John Joyce at email@example.com.
Office: Old West Lower Level, Room 005. Phone: (717) 245-1734
Proctoring, Test-taking accommodations or Access Plan-related issues: Susan Frommer, Assistant Director and Proctoring Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Old West Lower Level, Room 003. Phone: (717) 254-8107
Note-taking support, text-to-speech, or uploading PDFs that can be read by a screen reader: Emily Wetzel, Accommodation Facilitator and Technologist at either email@example.com or ADSTechnology@dickinson.edu. Old West Lower Level, Room 003, Phone: (717) 245-8090
Guidance regarding a specific student or implementation concerns: Dean and Director Marni Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (717) 245-1136 (Please be prepared to leave a message.)