The goal of the Office of Student Disabilities is to provide assistance to both students with disabilities and their instructors. The number of students with disabilities attending postsecondary education continues to increase each year. While it is our responsibility to ensure that the learning environment is accessible, it is the student's responsibility to request accommodations.
THE ROLE OF FACULTY MEMBERS
Make Reasonable Accommodations
Provide Access to Classroom & Materials
Because students are affected by their disabilities in different ways, you will have students that require a quiet testing area, extra time, or/and readers. We will be happy to provide this service for you or you may use the TVCC testing center. If choosing to use the testing center, please contact them directly at (903) 675-6385 for availability
To schedule an exam in the CSC, complete the testing accommodation form and send it attached to each exam to ensure that your instructions are followed. Please return your completed testing accommodation form and a copy of the exam to the Cardinal Success Center PRIOR to the scheduled class time.
The intent of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are to ensure a “level playing field.” This is accomplished in academia by modifying course, program and degree requirements in ways that DO NOT fundamentally alter the course, program, or degree. Disabled students are required to meet the same standards for successful completion of class as other students.
When a student is approved for accommodations, a faculty advisement form is completed to inform you of what accommodations that student qualifies for. Students are instructed to schedule an appointment with each of their instructors to discuss their needs and answer any questions you might have. Instructors are legally required to talk to the student about what accommodations would be reasonable, given the course requirements. When meeting with the student, please sign this form and retain the pink copy for your records.
ACCOMMODATIONS NOT RETROACTIVE
Syllabi should inform students that they must go through the Cardinal Success Center/Student Disabilities Office if they have a disability they are requesting accommodations for. Faculty only have to provide an accommodation once the disability if verified and they have received the Faculty Advisement Form. Grades received prior to verification of a disability and implementation of an accommodation need not be changed.
ACADEMIC FREEDOM & THE ADA
Academic freedom does not allow an instructor to refuse to accommodate a student with a disability. Doing the following will facilitate compliance with state and federal disability laws:
Clearly state the department’s ADA policy on your syllabus.
Direct students to the CSC disability office to complete the disability process.
Be able to identify the essential academic standards of the course, when discussing reasonable accommodations with students.
Never discuss a student’s disability in the presence of others.
Only accommodate students who bring and official form from the disability office.
Listen attentively when talking with someone who has difficulty speaking.
When a student uses an interpreter, speaker directly to the student, not the interpreter.
If required, a student does have the right to a recording device in class.
FAILING A STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY
Yes, it is legal to give a student with a disability a failing grade. The focus is on compliance with the civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination. These laws mandate access to education, not guaranteed academic success. When a faculty member has made reasonable accommodations and has done all that is required, then failing an under-qualified student is proper and lawful.
Always communicate your class expectations clearly and concisely and stand by your academic standards.
** A student with learning disabilities does not mean that the student is dumb or unteachable, but rather learns and/or must communicate their knowledge in a non-traditional way.