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Faculty Guide

Welcome and thank you for your commitment to students with disabilities! The purpose of this page is to acquaint faculty members with ODS procedures and best practices for the accommodation and inclusion of Wright State students with disabilities. The most crucial take-away of this training is to help faculty and staff understand their roles and responsibilities for facilitating accommodation(s) and access. It is also our hope to share some information about The Office of Disability Services (ODS) and the partnerships we hope to foster between faculty and ODS.

Introduction to Accommodations

Wright State University is committed to providing equal access to University programs and facilities for students, employees and visitors who self-identify with a qualified disability. In accordance with The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and Section 504/508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the University provides reasonable academic adjustments (accommodations) in order to minimize or eliminate the impact of a disability by allowing equal access and opportunity to participate in University programs.

The provision of academic accommodations is a shared responsibility between students, faculty, and disability services staff. Reasonable accommodations serve many functions, including:

  • To provide access to course content and academic opportunities by mitigating the impact of the disability
  • To allow students with disabilities to be evaluated on the basis of their ability (not their disability), and
  • To maintain the integrity of the faculty’s academic content.

Why Do Students Establish Accommodations?

Reasonable accommodations are determined on the basis of each specific disability and the ways each disability impacts the student (some sort of functional limitation). Accommodations may be adjusted in consideration of specific course requirements, as well. In these cases, collaboration between the student, faculty and ODS is ideal, if not necessary.

The needs among students with a disability vary greatly, sometimes even amongst those with the same type of condition or diagnosis. Therefore, accommodations are individualized on a case-by-case basis and are generally determined through an interactive narrative process with the student.

Once the student is eligible for reasonable accommodation(s), they must request specific accommodations for each semester. When a student request accommodations for specific courses, the student’s course instructors are notified of the approved accommodation(s) via email.

When students express intention to use the approved accommodations in a course, they are encouraged to discuss their needs with their instructors. During this discussion, an agreement should be reached regarding specifics of how the student’s accommodations will be provided in your specific course.

How Do Students Register with ODS? 

Any student who discloses a disability and/or requests accommodation from the University should be directed to ODS. Once the student initiates the registration process with ODS, a case manager communicates with each student about the documentation needed in order to substantiate a disability.  An ODS case manager reviews the submitted documentation and determines the student’s individual eligibility for reasonable accommodation of the disability. To complete the registration process, the student must attend an College Accommodation Plan (CAP) meeting with an ODS case manager to discuss/establish their approved accommodation(s), learn the process for implementing the accommodation(s) and to learn about the responsibilities involved in using accommodations in college. Referrals to other helpful campus resources will often be made, as well (tutoring, etc.)

To receive accommodations, students must complete a confidential registration process (separate from admissions):
1. Complete the online application
2. Submit professional documentation of disability, and
3. Attend a College Accommodation Planning meeting
4. Implementation of certain services may require additional action or coordination.

Each student is provided with a letter that summarizes all of the accommodations and referrals discussed in the CAP meeting with ODS.

What Are My Responsibilities as an Instructor?

Our partnerships with faculty are essential in providing access and engaging all students in University activities and educational programs. ODS can be a helpful resource for you to ensure that your courses are accessible to all students. You may also work with the Center for Teaching and Learning while developing content. Please refer to the ODS website for the most updated information, and feel free to consult with an ODS staff member at any time if you have questions, ideas, clarification, or need more information.

Who Do I Contact for Guidance?

Each student's needs are unique, and specific situations may necessitate further discussion between faculty and ODS in order to appropriately and effectively accommodate each student. If you have questions or concerns about accommodating a student who is registered with our office, please contact their case manager:

Caseload Staff Email
A-C Angela Masten angela.masten@wright.edu
D-E Heather Rando heather.rando@wright.edu
F-G Jason Gepperth jason.gepperth@wright.edu
H Jen Barga jen.barga@wright.edu
I-M

Katherine Myers

katherine.myers@wright.edu
N-O Heather Rando heather.rando@wright.edu
P Jen Barga jen.barga@wright.edu
Q-S Jason Gepperth jason.gepperth@wright.edu
T-Z Jen Barga jen.barga@wright.edu

Talking about Disability

Neither the student’s disability nor their status with ODS should be disclosed to any parties other than those authorized by the student. All communications should focus on needed accommodation(s) (not the student’s disability). Students should never be asked or required to disclose their disability. Remember that students may have varying degrees of comfort discussing accommodations or disability.  It is the student’s choice to share information, other than what is needed to make approved accommodations. 

Each semester, it is important to communicate with the students in your class about how to seek accommodation(s) based on a disability. Sometimes, however, a student may be hesitant to discuss the accommodations. One way to open this conversation is to develop a disability statement for the course syllabus and to make a general announcement in the class.  It may be helpful to have a disability accommodation statement on your syllabus and to also make a general announcement at the beginning of the course.

Disability Statement
 for Syllabus

Providing students with a disability statement on your course syllabus will aid students who are seeking accommodations. Below is an example of a disability statement:

Wright State University is committed to diversity and inclusion, and welcomes students with disabilities. If you have a disability related need for a modification or reasonable accommodation in this course, please contact The Office of Disability Services, located at 180 University Hall.

Course announcement

Making a general announcement at the first session of each course will broach the topic of accommodation in a neutral way, and helps students feel more comfortable initiating a discussion with you about their needed accommodation(s). Below is an example of a general announcement regarding the need for accommodation:

If anyone in this course has a disability and wishes to receive accommodations, I am available to discuss reasonable accommodations for those registered with the Office of Disability Services. Please contact me [at best private contact method] or make an appointment to meet with me during my office hours as soon as possible to discuss your accommodations. If you wish to receive accommodations on the basis of a disability and are not registered with ODS, please contact their office immediately.

Other than these general statements, any communication about accommodations should be made with the strictest confidentiality and in a discrete, private manner (email, office hours, etc.). 

How Will I be Notified of a Student's Request for Accommodation?

Once their academic accommodations are approved, students must request their accommodations via their account in the ODS accommodations portal, AIM.  Upon submission of the AIM request, a notification is sent to each of the students’ instructors, listing their approved accommodation(s) for each course. The notification is usually generated automatically from the AIM portal, directly to the course instructor’s University email address.

Instructors may also receive messages from ODS staff members, especially if there are accommodation instructions that are very specific to a particular student. ODS may also contact faculty in order to understand course requirements while trying to determine appropriate accommodations for a student who is registered with ODS. The student and faculty member should have a private conversation to discuss how the accommodation(s) will be provided in the course.

ODS is always available to consult with faculty about student accommodations. Feel free to contact ODS at any time if you have questions about accommodations, procedures, referrals to ODS.

Using AIM to Manage Accommodations

Accessible Learning Management (AIM) is an online accommodation management portal used by Disability Services to help students independently coordinate their accommodations. The system protects confidential information about the students, and allows more transparency and streamlined communication among students, instructors and ODS staff.

Current options in AIM include:

  • Students can:
    • Request accommodations each semester.
    • Generate faculty letters outlining accommodations that they will use for your course.
    • Manage requests for exams to be taken with accommodations.
    • Download textbooks and course materials converted to alternative format by ODS
  • Faculty can:
    • View a list of all students registered with ODS who have requested accommodations for each course.
    • Download copies of the student's accommodation letter, listing their accommodations for each course.
    • View a list of student exam requests for courses.
    • Complete the Testing Contract to outline specifically what is allowed in the classroom for tests. (This ensures that students with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations.)
    • Upload their exams to the AIM portal for easy access when the test date arrives.

Faculty Uses of AIM

Letters of Accommodation

When students request accommodations, faculty will be sent a letter via email.

  • The accommodations letter will list the student, the course and section number, and accommodations the student is requesting.
    • Please keep this information confidential.
  • If your student has requested to use testing accommodations, your faculty letter will have a link to your Testing Contract.
    • The Testing Contract link is specific to the class and section that the student is in.
    • You only need to do one Testing Contract per section. If you teach two sections, you will need to complete two contracts.

The counselor assigned to that student will be listed in the letter, should you have additional questions about the student's accommodations.

Testing Contracts

Before they can take exams in ODS, students must read and acknowledge our Test Proctoring Center's rules and guidelines (required every semester).

  1. Click the link to the Testing Contract in your faculty letter.
    • The link is specific for the class and section, please be sure that you are using the correct link.
  2. You will be directed to your course's Testing Contract via our AIM online portal.
  3. You will be asked for the following details about testing in your course:
    1. Would you prefer to proctor exams yourself for this course?
      • If you choose to proctor the exams yourself, please contact ODS to ensure that the students will receive the appropriate accommodations in your testing environment.
    2. How would you like to provide your exams to ODS?
      • You are NOT locked into this option throughout the semester. If you need to change the format during the semester, contact the ODS Test Proctoring Center.
    3. What are students allowed to use in the classroom?
      • Provide any special instructions in the "Additional Note or Comment" box.
      • If your exams require special software (SPSS, MATLAB, etc.) please mention this in the notes.
    4. How would you like the exams returned to you?
    5. How would you like to be contacted if the student has questions DURING the exam?
      1. In the classroom, they would come up to you directly; how would you like these handled while your student is testing?
    6. What is your anticipated exam schedule?
      • Giving us your tentative schedule helps Test Proctoring get an idea of the volume of tests for that day and to expect and confirm that the student is requesting an exam for the appropriate day.
    7. Do you acknowledge that student requests for changes in exam days/times are not allowed without your permission?
      • This policy is intended to protect the integrity of your exams.
    8. How much time is allowed for students testing in the classroom?
    9. At what phone number can Test Proctoring Staff (no students) contact you, in the event of a question?
    10. Your private contact information will never be shared with a student. Any questions from a student will be relayed through Test Proctoring staff.

Exam Requests

Once a student schedules an exam for one of your courses, you will receive an email notification. Remember to check that each exam request is scheduled for the right day/time.

Provide Your Exams to Test Proctoring

You may submit your exams in the following formats:

  • Upload a digital copy of your test to our secure AIM portal at any time once the request has been approved.
    • A link to upload the exam will be provided in each Exam Request email message.
  • Email a digital copy to ds_testproctor@wright.edu
  • Drop off a printed copy of the test to ODS Test Proctoring Center
  • Upload your exams to PILOT and indicate exams will be in Pilot on Testing Contract.
Tests Given Outside the Classroom: 

Please extend the time allotment for the student. If the class is allowed to take the tests at home, no further action is needed.

Exams in PILOT:

Whether tests in PILOT are given in class or at home, the instructor is the ONLY person who can extend the student's allotted time. If you need help extending the time window for your student, please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at 937.775.2885.

Should you have questions about AIM, please contact Angie Bonza at 937.775.5680 or angela.bonza@wright.edu.

Faculty AIM Tutorial

Faculty AIM Training Video:

This video tutorial reviews the faculty uses of the AIM accommodation management portal.

Faculty AIM Portal Training Slides (PDF)



Course Substitutions

From time to time, a student may request a course substitution as an accommodation. There is a process in place for making a request, providing documentation and determining eligibility for a substitution. The course substitution request process is outlined on the university policy page.  In these cases, ODS often consults with faculty or the college about the potential for substitutions and how the essential skills of a course of study may be fulfilled in accessible ways.

Technical Standards

Each college should be proactive in establishing a process for reviewing and creating technical standards for non-academic criteria for admission and continued participation in an educational program.

According to best practices outlined by the Association on Higher Education and Disability, "These standards should be specific and include abilities, behaviors and safety needed in a course of study. Standards should be anchored to the curriculum, supported in policy and practice and utilize objective performance criteria that can be reliably applied to all program applicants or participants. Finally, an individualized interactive process must be used to determine if reasonable accommodations would allow a student to meet the technical standards" (AHEAD Joint Comments).

How Are Accommodations Facilitated?

The implementation of academic accommodations is a shared responsibility between the student and the course instructor. ODS is available to advise faculty on making appropriate accommodations that maintain their course’s academic objectives.

Students registered with ODS are advised to contact their instructors regarding their approved accommodations, either before classes start for the semester, or as soon as the student becomes eligible for services. In some circumstances, it may be permissible for the professor to contact the student prior to the first class session or prior to the student personally broaching the topic of accommodations. Remember to conduct any conversation regarding accommodations in a private, confidential manner.

When communicating with the student, an agreement should be made outlining how the requested accommodations will be provided during the course, within the specific framework of your course. Faculty should contact ODS if they have any questions about providing any approved accommodations, or if students request accommodations that are not listed on their accommodation notification email from ODS.

Accommodation in the Classroom

Some disabilities require accommodations in the classroom. Accommodations that instructors may encounter in the classroom might include: audio recording lectures, using a laptop for notes, class materials in alternative format, admitting an ASL interpreter or C-Print captionist to class, professor wearing a microphone, peer note taker, reader/writer in class, lab assistance, and requests for adjustable tables and seating modifications.

If a student ever approaches you regarding an accommodation that you are not sure how to effectively implement in your course, please contact the student’s ODS case manager.

Accommodations Outside the Classroom

Alternative Format Conversion

Another reason that ODS might contact instructors is to arrange for the conversion of textbooks and other class materials to alternative formats. Often, instructors are able to make their digital content accessible to students without any additional work (most content in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF, etc. can be formatted to be accessible).

The conversion center obtains student books in the format closest to digital that they can find. A digital file from the publisher is ideal, but sometimes they have to start with a printed book physically scan it, and then convert it using a multi-step process to the student’s desired format. The majority of the documents prepared by the Alternative Format Conversion Center are formatted to be read by a screen reader or other text-to-speech program.

Faculty members are key partners in this conversion process because ODS wants streamline their conversion process as much as possible, converting content in the order of the syllabus/curriculum plan. If you have a student who uses ODS alternative format conversion in your course, ODS staff may contact you for information on your textbooks, Pilot content, course reserves, handouts, and other materials. We need the vital information on your syllabus and reading/assignment schedule to stay up to date on student needs. If you make any alterations to the syllabus after the beginning of the semester, please inform the students and ODS immediately.

Testing Accommodations

Some students qualify for accommodations during tests; this may include extended time, test environment with reduced distractions, scantron assistance, a proctor, breaks during tests, assistive technology or software (word processor for essays, dictation software, screen reader) , and more. As appropriate, the Test Proctoring Center (TPC) is available for faculty to use for the majority of tests and exams that can be scheduled during the ODS hours of operation.

Faculty members may choose to facilitate their students’ approved testing accommodations themselves. Instructors have the option to offer alternative testing opportunities within the classroom, a departmental office, or another acceptable campus location, unless the student's disability cannot be reasonably accommodated in that environment. Online exam sessions can be extended only by the faculty member. For assistance in extending Pilot exams, contact the Center for Teaching and Learning.

There are rare occasions when ODS cannot fulfill a testing accommodation request, due to space limitations or technological requirements (such as specialty software). When this occurs, the students and instructors should notify ODS immediately and an ODS staff member will work with all parties to ensure accommodations are provided in the most effective way possible.

Addressing Disability Accommodation(s) Grievances

If ODS denies a student’s requested accommodation(s), ODS will notify the student in writing, (within 5 business days of the College Accommodation Plan meeting) of the reasons for the denial, along with instructions outlining how the student may appeal the denial.

Students have the option of appealing to the ODS Director or to the University’s Section 504/ADA Coordinator, as outlined in the Section 504/ADA Grievance Procedures set forth in the student handbook. The current university 504/ADA Coordinator is:

Matt Boaz
436 Millett Hall
(937) 775-3207
matthew.boaz@wright.edu

ODS may refuse a requested adjustment/accommodation that imposes a fundamental alteration of a University program or activity, but ODS may do so only after ODS staff has engaged in a deliberative process for determining if academic requirements are “essential” or whether a requested modification would fundamentally alter a course, academic program, or University-sponsored performance-based experience.

With the support of the Director of the Office of Disability Services, a panel of academic and disability professionals will collaborate and determine the essential requirements of a course/program.  The panel will convene within 3 business days of a student’s request for an accommodation that requires more in depth consideration in terms of an essential requirement.  Commonly requested accommodations/adjustments (e.g. extended test time, reduced distraction environment, note taker, etc.) will not require this level of review.

Generally the panel will consist of membership of the following people:

  • The Program/Department chair and the faculty instructors who teach the course and bring knowledge of the subject’s content, methods, and essential requirements;
  • Disability Services case managers, who understand what accommodations are possible;
  • The student who has requested an adjustment/accommodation and who understands his/her own limitations and how his/her disability impacts his/her ability to learn in a classroom.

When determining if a requested adjustment/accommodation fundamentally alters the essential requirements for a course or program, the panel will endeavor to:
Identify the essential academic standards of the course (requirements that embody the very nature of the subject matter or that are of the utmost importance in achieving the course/program objective).

  • Articulate specific requirements that individual instructors believe are fundamental to teaching the course/program, taking academic freedom into consideration.
  • Identify the unique qualities of the course/program in relation to its overall objectives and any program in which the course is required.
  • Engage in "reasoned deliberation" as to whether modification of the course/program would change the fundamental academic standards.
  • Determine whether there are any options to fulfill the fundamental requirements of the course/program.
  • Determine if the requested accommodation will lower the academic standards of the course/program.
    • If the panel determines that the requested accommodation will lower academic standards, the panel will determine why the standard that the instructor believes will be lowered is important to the course/program.
  • Determine if the standard is the better way (or the only way) to achieve the desired academic objective.
  • Determine if this requested accommodation has ever been granted before for another student with or without a disability?
  • Determine if a different method or requirement that will not be altered by the accommodation will achieve the required academic or pedagogical result.
    • If the panel determines that a different method or requirement that will not be altered by the accommodation will not achieve the required academic or pedagogical result, they will determine why not.

This process ensures that such determinations are made by a group of people, including ODS and pertinent faculty or other relevant personnel, after a careful, thoughtful deliberation that includes a review of program/course requirements and available options and alternatives.  The decisions made during the deliberations and the reasons supporting them will be fully documented by ODS.

ODS will document in the student’s case file any of the outlined interactive process that takes place between the University and the student.  The documentation will include the dates of any academic adjustment/accommodation requests, the nature of each request, any supporting documentation, and any reason(s) for the denial of a request.

Addressing Disability Discrimination Grievances

It is the policy of Wright State University (WSU) to comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and other applicable federal and state regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. The Rehabilitation Act and the ADA require that no qualified person shall, solely by reason of disability, be denied access to, participation in, or the benefits of, any program or activity operated by the University. WSU has adopted an internal complaint procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of concerns alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 and/or the ADA on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. The law and regulations may be examined in the Office of Equity and Inclusion, (937) 775-3207, which has been designated to coordinate the efforts of WSU to comply with Section 504 and the ADA.

The following procedures apply to complaints by students who believe they have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability by WSU officers, employees, and/or third parties who, while not WSU employees, perform work on behalf of WSU:

Any person who believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of a disability, including any person who has requested an accommodation but whose request is not granted, may file a complaint informally or formally by communicating (orally or in writing) their concerns to the Section 504/ADA Coordinator within one hundred and eighty (180) days of the incident.

The Section 504/ADA Coordinator is:
Mr. Matthew L. Boaz, Director
504/Title II ADA Coordinator
Office of Equity and Inclusion
Wright State University
436 Millett Hall
3640 Colonel Glenn Highway Dayton, Ohio 45435
Phone: 937-775-3207
oei-ada@wright.edu

Thank you for your consideration of this resource and its best practices. We look forward to our continued partnership in providing services for individuals with disabilities on our campus. ODS is happy to also provide in-person training as requested by departments, colleges and any other interested groups at the University.