Faculty and Instructor Frequently Asked Questions and Resources

Regardless of the kinds of courses you are teaching, you will likely receive accommodation letters from one or more students in your courses. Here are some common questions that might arise:

A student has shared their accommodation letter, now what?

The DRC encourages students and instructors to discuss the students’ accommodations and how they will be implemented in the course. If you receive a letter, consider setting up a time to talk privately with the student about their specific accommodations, either by email, zoom, phone, or in-person. Students are responsible for sharing their accommodation letter to alert their instructors and faculty of accommodations they would like to use in their course.

What do I do if I have questions or concerns about a student’s accommodations?

Please reach out to the access consultant who signed the student’s letter. This person has the most knowledge about the individual student’s access needs and accommodations. If you have concerns about the reasonableness or implementation of an accommodation, always reach out to the access consultant who signed the letter before telling the student that you cannot provide the accommodation.

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

Students can register with the DRC at any point in the semester. Students are encouraged to request accommodations and share their accommodation letter as early as possible, however students may get connected later in the semester for various reasons. For example, they may experience new barriers as the semester progresses. The DRC cannot require instructors to provide retroactive accommodations. Instructors can consider if retroactive accommodations are reasonable based on the situation and essential course requirements. 

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

You may provide accommodations beyond those in the letter at your discretion. If you do not feel comfortable navigating the request, you can contact the access consultant who wrote the letter or refer the student to the DRC to discuss the additional accommodation requests.

Can I provide informal accommodations without a DRC letter? 

Students encounter many life circumstances (illness, injury, loss) where instructors may provide informal accommodations. The following resources can facilitate consistency in navigating such requests: the Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences Policy, DRC guidance for Supporting Students with Short-Term Disabilities (PDF), Teaching with Access and Inclusion, and consultation with department colleagues. 
Consultation with the DRC access consultant on drop-in is also an option. If a student reports experiencing a persistent pattern of disability-related barriers or health-related barriers and needs formal accommodations, please refer them to the DRC.

I teach a large course with many students who have accommodations. Is there a place where I can view all of their accommodations in one place?

Not yet, but the DRC is considering ways to make it easier for instructors to access accommodation letters for each course. In the meantime, you could create a spreadsheet to organize accommodation information. Consider enlisting the assistance of a TA or department administrator. You could also save all letters in one folder for easy access when a student makes a request.

Does the DRC work with graduate and professional students?

Yes! The DRC serves graduate and professional students across University programs and disciplines and can work with students at any point in their program. We explore accommodations and resources for coursework and programmatic milestones like preliminary exams, housing, teaching, research, fieldwork, clinical placements, internships, and more. For more information, please review our information for graduate and professional students, Academic Health Center students, and Law School students.

Should I refer someone with an injury or short-term disability to the Disability Resource Center? 

Instructors and faculty can often accommodate short-term disabilities and injuries without the involvement of the DRC. This resource on Supporting Students with Short-Term Disabilities (PDF) may provide some ideas for appropriate accommodations and/or referrals. If you have questions about how to accommodate a student with a short-term disability, please email [email protected].

In addition to providing individual accommodations, I would like to design my course to be more inclusive. What can I do?

You can find an array of practices that will support student learning in this Teaching with Access and Inclusion resource document and through the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI). Additionally, Accessible U and the Digital Accessibility Badging Program offer best practices for inclusive experiences on course sites, Zoom meetings, documents, presentations, etc.

Visit the following link to find additional FAQs about testing accommodations.

Further information about specific accommodations

Further information and resources: