What do I do if my classroom is not physically accessible? 

  • The Disability Resource Center physical access coordinator works with various departments and offices at the University of Minnesota to ensure optimal accessibility of our physical environment.
  • This includes:
    • Plan review for new or remodeled spaces. 
    • Specific accessibility-related modifications to existing spaces. 
    • Technical consultation with University departments and offices wishing to improve the accessibility of their physical space. 
    • Investigation and correction of access problems related to University property. 
  • During heavy construction on campus, the Physical Access Coordinator is involved in ensuring access through and around construction zones.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact: 

Roberta L. Kehne

Physical Access Coordinator

Email: rlkehne@umn.edu

Phone: (612) 624-1801


How do students register with Disability Resource Center? 

Students should call  (612) 626-1333 to schedule an appointment with an access consultant to begin the registration process.

Steps for registering with Disability Resource Center

  • Come prepared - The students should be ready to discuss disability-related barriers and, if applicable, their history of using reasonable accommodations.
  • Provide documentation – In the best case scenario, the students will bring documentation to the appointment that describes the disability and its impacts.  If they do not have any documentation on hand, or have difficulty getting it from the health care provider, DRC can assist in the process. Please review our Documentation Guidelines for more information.
  • Meet with Access Consultant - Through an interactive process, students and Access Consultants will discuss eligibility for services and identify reasonable academic accommodations.

Please note: students should begin this process as early as possible so accommodations can be implemented most effectively.


What is the role of an access consultant?  

An access consultant provides or arranges for reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities to ensure access to courses, programs, facilities, services and activities on campus. 

An access consultant’s role includes:

  • Providing information, referral and support to students with disabilities
  • Maintaining strict confidentiality of protected information
  • Facilitating communication and providing ongoing consultation and problem solving assistance for instructors, staff, students and guests of the University with disabilities
  • Assisting students with obtaining disability documentation and determining reasonable accommodations
  • Assisting students in understanding their disabilities and their legal rights and responsibilities
  • Promoting student self-advocacy, independence and development


As an instructor can I be confident that a student with an  accommodation letter has a disability? 

Yes, Disability Resource Center has a process to determine reasonable accommodations based on disability impacts.  You can feel confident that if students present letters of accommodation, their disability condition, as defined by the ADA,  has been confirmed by an Access Consultant.


How does Disability Resource Center determine reasonable accommodations?

  • Through an interactive process, the access consultant and student will identify impacts and discuss accommodations that may assist in removing barriers.
  • Accommodations are not intended to compromise core course requirements and may require input from instructors.


How will I be notified that a student should receive accommodations? 

In most cases, students are responsible for providing you with an accommodation letter prepared by their access consultant.  This letter should be considered effective the date you receive it. You and the student should work together to determine how these accommodations can be implemented in your course. If any questions arise, please contact the access consultant who wrote the letter.


Am I obligated to comply with the accommodations request? 

An instructor should not simply refuse an accommodation they feel is unreasonable without first engaging in an interactive process. If an accommodation concerns you for any reason, it is important to discuss this with the student and contact the access consultant to explore reasonable alternatives to the request.


Why don’t I receive all accommodation letters at the beginning of the semester? 

  • Students can register with DRC at any point in the semester; however, accommodations can be most effectively implemented when they are requested early.
  • As a practice, DRC does not require instructors to provide retroactive accommodations.
  • Accommodations become effective on the date the student delivers the letter to the instructor.


The accommodation letter indicates that accommodations are not retroactive. Can I provide them if I feel it is appropriate?

DRC does not require instructors to retroactively accommodate a student. However, you may find it to be reasonable in some circumstances.


What should I do if I suspect a student has a disability?

  • If students are struggling for reasons unknown to you, consider presenting them with a list of resources, which may include:
    • SMART Learning Commons
    • Center for Writing/Student Writing Support
    • Center for Academic Planning & Exploration (CAPE)
    • www.mentalhealth.umn.edu
    • University Counseling and Consulting Services (UCCS) Academic or Personal counseling
    • Disability Resource Center
  • If students approach you and discloses that they have a disability, please refer them to our office. Students can contact us at 612-626-1333 or ds@umn.edu.
  • Drop-in hours at the Disability Resource Center:

9 am-12 pm Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

10 am-12 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays

1-4 pm Monday-Friday  



Should I refer someone with a temporary disability to the Disability Resource Center? 

  • Temporary health conditions, such as a broken arm, are not disabilities. Therefore, the instructor can provide reasonable informal accommodations to the student.
  • If you have questions about how to accommodate a student with a temporary disability, please call our office at 612-626-1333 and ask to speak with the access consultant on drop-in.
  • For more information, please review Temporary Health Conditions.
  • Please refer students to Paratransit Services--a transportation service available to students with permanent or temporary disabilities.


What accommodations can I provide without a letter from DRC? 

Disability Resource Center (DRC) is not the only means of obtaining accommodations.  Some situations do not require registration with DRC and can instead be accommodated by the instructor. For example:


A student has indicated that I am not providing appropriate accommodations. What can I do? 

Please contact the access consultant who wrote the accommodation letter to discuss any issues or concerns regarding accommodations.


How should I handle a student’s request for accommodations beyond those stated in the letter?

Accommodations beyond what the letter recommends can be provided at the instructor’s discretion. If you do not feel comfortable navigating the request, you can contact access consultant who wrote the letter, or refer the student back to the Disability Resource Center to discuss additional accommodations.


Is accommodating one student unfair to other students?

Students with disabilities have the right to equitable access to education, and accommodations are intended to mitigate barriers.  The method for achieving access may differ for each person or each course.


Do students with a disability need to meet course requirements?

Yes.  All students must meet essential course requirements whether or not they are using accommodations.  An accommodation is considered reasonable if it meets four criteria:

  • It must not compromise essential requirements of a course, program, job, activity, or facility.
  • It must not cause an undue administrative or financial hardship.
  • It must not jeopardize the safety of the student or others.
  • It must not fundamentally alter a course or program.


What if a student with a disability is displaying disruptive or concerning behavior?

All students must abide by the Student Code of Conduct. Even if you believe the behavior is a manifestation of their disability, they are held to the same standards as all other students. 

To discuss disruptive or concerning behavior you have observed, please contact the Behavioral Consultation Team (BCT) through the Care Program at 612-626-3030.


What if I have a question about accommodations?

If, after discussing accommodations with a student, you have additional questions or concerns about implementing them in your course, please contact the student’s access consultant.


What if an accommodation does not work in my class?  

Please collaborate with students and their access consultants to discuss alternative options.  Every course may require different accommodations and there is often more than one way to accommodate a student. There is no standard accommodation plan, as each is tailored to the student’s impacts and courses.  In order for an accommodation to be considered reasonable it must meet four criteria:

  • It must not compromise essential requirements of a course, program, job, activity, or facility.
  • It must not cause an undue administrative or financial hardship.
  • It must not  jeopardize the safety of the student or others.
  • It must not fundamentally alter a course or program.


I am providing the accommodations specified in student’s  letter but they are failing my course. What should I do? 

  • Consider arranging a meeting to discuss students’ performance  as you would with any student in a similar situation.
  • Additionally, you may want to:
    • Ask students if they are using all of their accommodations. If they are not, talk about implementing them, as this may provide better access.
    • Consult with the access consultant to discuss ideas and options.
    • Suggest campus resources that might be useful to the student such as SMART Learning Commons, Student Writing Support, and University Counseling and Consulting Services (UCCS).
  • Accommodations are intended to provide equal access—not guarantee success.


Where can students take exams?


How should I get presentation materials to a student?

Please speak with the student and agree on a convenient method for delivering the materials. Options include posting the presentations in Moodle or emailing them to the student before class. Posting them in an accessible format in Moodle for all students has the added benefit of incorporating Best Practices/Universal Design in your course.


Are students allowed to record in the classroom setting and am I required to notify other students that the class is being recorded?

Audio recording can facilitate access for students whose disability conditions make note-taking difficult or impossible. University policy states that instructors determine if students may be permitted to record any part of a class/lab/other session. Instructors can notify the class when recording is permitted.


How do I accommodate in a lab and/or clinical setting? 

  • There are many accommodations that can be provided in a lab or clinical setting.  If you have questions about how to accommodate a student, please contact their access consultant to discuss things in greater detail.
  • Collaboration between the student, instructor and access consultant can determine what accommodations are reasonable on a case-by-case basis.


What are the guidelines for service animals in an academic setting? 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), only dogs and miniature horses can be service animals.The ADA states that there are only two questions one may ask of a person with a service animal: 1) is the dog required because of a disability; and 2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?  However, it is not appropriate to ask the student to have the animal demonstrate these tasks. Other factors are considered in the cases of miniature horses.


I work with a graduate assistant who requires accommodations to perform their job functions.  Who should they contact?

UReturn is the office that arranges employee accommodations. For more information, please visit UReturn’s website.


Does the Disability Resource Center offer training for staff and instructors? 

Yes. Please visit the DRC’s Education and Training page for more information.