Disability Support and Accommodations Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty

DISABILITY SUPPORT Frequently Asked Questions for FACULTY

1. What is the role of a Learning Specialist in the Office of Student Affairs?

The Learning Specialist works in compliance with federal guidelines to assist students with disabilities in having equal access to educational experiences at the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

A Learning Specialist assists students with a wide variety of disabilities, as well as those temporarily disabled by injury or illness. Services are designed to eliminate competitive disadvantages in an academic environment while preserving academic integrity.

2. What are the laws that protect university students with disabilities?

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides that:

No otherwise qualified individual with disabilities in the United States...shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 upholds and extends the compliance mandates set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to include the whole of the institution's activities including facilities, programs, and employment.

3. Who is an "individual with a disability"?

A person who: 1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity; 2) has a record or history of such an impairment; or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

4. What are the responsibilities of the student with a disability?

In order to be recognized as a student with a disability, a student must self-identify that she/he has a disability and needs accommodation. To be eligible for reasonable and appropriate services, a student must present current and comprehensive documentation of disability to Disability Support Services. The records kept in our office are strictly confidential and are not part of the student's academic record.

5. What are the obligations of the institution?

The institution must provide reasonable accommodations to the student's known disability in order to afford him/her an equal opportunity to participate in the institution's programs, activities and services (including extracurricular activities). A college or university may not discriminate against an individual solely on the basis of disability.

6. What am I to do when I receive a letter of accommodation from the Learning Specialist with regard to a student in my class?

At a student's request, the Learning Specialist prepares an individualized letter to professors which verifies the nature of the student's disability and documents the need for specific auxiliary aids and services and/or academic adjustments. Students are encouraged to meet with each professor early in the semester to discuss the academic implications of the disability as they relate to the specific course and to request accommodation.

7. What should I do if a student speaks with me directly to negotiate accommodations without an accommodation letter from Learning Specialist?

No professor should provide a student with accommodation without verification from the Learning Specialist that the student has a documented disability.

8. What are some examples of reasonable accommodations that an institution may be expected to provide its students who have disabilities?

Academic accommodations are provided to ensure that a student with a disability receives an equal opportunity to participate in the institution's programs and activities. Higher education institutions are not required to lower academic standards or compromise the integrity of the school or program. Examples of accommodations may include:

      1. additional time to complete tests, coursework, or graduation;

      2. note-taking support;

      3. adaptation of course instruction;

      4. audio recording of classes; and

      5. modification of test taking/performance evaluations so as not to discriminate against students with sensory, manual or speaking impairments (unless such skills are the factors the test purports to measure).

9. How much additional time on exams is reasonable?

Extended time on exams is a customary accommodation for students who work more slowly for reasons of disability. For most students, time-and-one-half is adequate. Students with more severe or multiple disabilities may require additional time. The office does not view untimed exams as reasonable.

10. Does Office of Student Affairs offer a test accommodation service?

Student Affairs asks that instructors administer exams for students with disabilities within their own department so that students have the opportunity to clarify any questions they may have about the exam. There are some students, such as those who are easily distracted or need to have their tests read aloud to them, who need to take their exams with no other students present. If instructors are unable to locate a private room, the Learning Specialist can administer the exam. Please send an email request for protoring directly to Amanda Kleinman in Student Affairs. akleinman@corcoran.org