The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008 require that reasonable accommodations be made in the delivery or assessment of educational experiences when a documented disability exists. This does not mean a faculty member must make the class "easier." The goal is to provide an equal opportunity for success, not to provide special advantages for some students.
Some accommodations may be as simple as wearing a microphone when lecturing. Others may include allowing extended time for completion of assignments or tests. Please keep in mind that some disabilities are "invisible." Be assured that requests for accommodation are forwarded to faculty only after the University receives verification of need from an appropriate professional. The student has the right to withhold from a faculty member the specific nature of a disability and still receive reasonable accommodations.
It is extremely important that faculty provide accommodations only when requested through the Disability Coordinator in the Academic Success Center. This assures that proper documentation of a disability exists. Extending accommodations when there is no documentation of disability can open the faculty member and the University to accusations of unequal treatment of able students.
It is recommended that your syllabus contain the following statement:
Policy for Students with Disabilities
It is the policy of the University of Charleston to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with documented disabilities.
This college will adhere to all applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as regards to affording equal educational opportunity. It is the student's responsibility to contact the disability coordinator and provide current documentation from appropriate credentialed persons. The disability coordinator will assist students and faculty in arranging appropriate accommodations.
This is in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Disability Coordinator Contact Information:
302 Schoenbaum Library, Clay Tower Bldg.
- Include a statement on the class syllabus inviting the
student to discuss academic needs with you. For example, "If you have
a documented disability for which you are or may be requesting an
accommodation, you are encouraged to contact your instructor and the as
soon as possible."
- Clearly delineate expectations at the beginning of the
course (e.g., grading, material to be covered, due dates).
- Announce reading assignments well in advance for
students who are using taped materials or other alternative formats. It
takes an average of six to eight weeks to get a book tape-recorded.
- When talking with the student, inquire about special
needs in the classroom, in the lab, in fieldwork, and on field trips. Work
with the student and the disability coordinator to determine and provide
- Select course materials early. Distribute syllabi,
assignments, and reading lists in advance and in electronic format (e.g.
disk, network) to facilitate translation to audiotape, Braille, and large
- Start each lecture with an outline of material to be
covered that period. At the conclusion of class, briefly summarize key
- Make lectures and notes easily accessible (use larger
print, provide handouts of notes in class, etc.).
- Provide adequate opportunities for questions and
answers, including review sessions.
- Allow preferential seating for students with
- Face the class when speaking. Repeat discussion
questions. Write key phrases on the blackboard. Hand out assignments in
writing. Provide written summaries of demonstrations in advance and use
captioned films if you have a hearing impaired student in class.
- Verbally describe visual aids if there is a student
with a visual impairment in class. For example, you might say, "The 3
inch long steel rod," rather than "this".
- Students with disabilities are required to
submit medical documentation to the disability coordinator, which verifies
their disability and need for appropriate accommodations. Documentation
guidelines for specific disabilities may be accessed on our disability services
pages. The disability coordinator will maintain confidentiality and will not
disclose any information pertaining to a student's disability to faculty unless
we have written permission from the student. The disability coordinator will
inform faculty of the accommodation(s) it has determined the student needs to
access an equal opportunity education so as to arrange reasonable
- Confidentiality of all
disability information is essential. At no time should the class be informed
that a student has a disability, except at the student's expressed request. All
disability information, which the student gives to the faculty member, is to be
used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of
Courses and Course Requirements
- When the need for accommodations in a specific
course arises, the instructor will receive an accommodation letter from the
disability coordinator with the requested academic accommodations. Students
should also identify themselves to the course instructor. Faculty are not
required to provide accommodations that constitute a fundamental alteration of
the course. In determining the appropriateness of an accommodation, it is the
disability coordinators goal to ensure that a student receives the
accommodations necessary for the course and to fashion such accommodations so
as not to fundamentally alter the essential course requirements.
Students with disabilities may
receive test accommodations determined on an individual basis. A test, as used
in this context, refers to quizzes and examinations taken during the semester
in conjunction with an academic class. The purpose of providing extended time
for test taking is so that the existence of a time limit does not unjustly
impact the ability of a student with a disability to demonstrate knowledge of
the material. This accommodation is determined on a case-by-case basis and may
be inappropriate where the exam tests an individual's ability to perform a task
within a specific period of time as an essential element of the course.
Exam accommodations may include, but
are not limited to:
- a separate room with better lighting, reduced
distractions, or assistive equipment such as a word processor, text
enlarger, or speech to text program;
- a reader to assist students who have visual or visual
- an extended exam period for students who write slowly,
who dictate answers to a scribe, or who have a processing disability;
- a scribe to transcribe their dictated answers to exam
- the option of submitting exam answers in an alternative
format - such as on a word processor or an oral version for a written
If a student has been approved for
examination accommodations, faculty will receive an accommodation letter from
the disability coordinator with the requested exam accommodations. Sometimes,
although students are approved for examination accommodations, students may
choose to take examinations under standard conditions. Students should discuss
their needs with you throughout the semester.
If the student chooses to take the
examination with accommodations, you may choose to administer the exam with the
accommodation(s) requested. If you are unable to administer the exam in class
with the requested accommodation(s), the disability coordinator will administer
and proctor the exam. Exams are kept in a locked location until administration.
exams are to be administered by the Academic Success Center:
- When exams or quizzes are to be administered by the ASC,
the student or instructor must contact the ASC in order to schedule the
test. Exams must be taken during the regular class time unless the
instructor approves an alternate time. Exams must be scheduled at least 24
hours in advance in order to ensure adequate accommodations. Failure to
provide adequate notice may result in the accommodations not being
- The student and/or instructor is responsible for
completing an Exam Administration Form, which contains information
about the course, what accommodations are to be provided, as well as the
delivery of the examination. This information may be called in over the
phone (304-357-4776) emailed to the ASC (ASC@ucwv.edu, or completed at the
ASC (302 Schoenbaum Library). All information will be verified with the
- Whenever possible, exams should be e-mailed to ASC@ucwv.edu or delivered by the instructor
to the ASC front desk. INSTRUCTORS SHOULD NOT SEND EXAMS TO THE ASC
THROUGH CAMPUS MAIL.
- The ASC secures all exams in a locked file cabinet upon
receipt. Upon return, exams will be sealed in an envelope with an office
label and signed by the appropriate ASC representative.
- Exams should be picked up at the ASC front desk by the
instructor. The ASC can also return exams by scanned e-mail or fax. THE
ASC WILL NOT RETURN EXAMS TO A STUDENT OR THROUGH CAMPUS MAIL
*Adapted from UCONN Center for Students with Disabilities.