It is not uncommon for students to request accommodations directly from their instructors. However, expecting instructors to determine disability accommodations that are governed by federal laws places instructors and our institution at risk. Please refer students to Autumn Grant, Associate Director for Accessibility Services. It would be helpful for instructors to also email me to let me know that they have made a referral: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ADA recommends that all syllabi include a statement which informs students with disabilities about college procedures for requesting accommodations and that this is discussed during the first day of class so all students have this information.
Best Practices in the field of Accessibility Services in Higher Education suggest that faculty include a Syllabus Statement on their syllabi and explain the statement on the first day of class.
Here is a sample that you may modify as needed:
Accommodations for Disabilities
In compliance with the Wheaton College policy and equal access laws, Autumn Grant, Associate Director for Accessibility, is available to discuss reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Requests for accommodations are to be made at the start of the semester so that timely and appropriate arrangements can be made.
Students are required to register with the Accessibility Services (AS) and follow the Registration Process on the Wheaton Accessibility Services website.
Accessibility Services is located in Kollett Hall, Room 107, at the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services. Please contact the front desk at (508) 286-8215 to schedule an appointment.
Rationale for Syllabus Statement
- A statement on the course syllabus will indicate a faculty member’s willingness to provide reasonable accommodations to a student with a disability and serve as an invitation to seek out AS for official accommodations.
- A syllabus statement can also open the lines of communication by making the student feel more comfortable in approaching faculty to share the official letter of accommodation or discuss the need for accommodations.
Principles regarding Syllabus Statement
- The practical arrangements for approved accommodations should be a process of collaboration between the student and the instructor
- Students will only be eligible for accommodations when the instructor receives the official letter of accommodation via email notification to the student from AS
- The Syllabus Statement can be adapted to the writing style or tone of the instructor, but the intent of the legal policy should not change.