Suggested Syllabus Statement
Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities who seek reasonable accommodations in the classroom or other aspects of performing their coursework must first register with the UNF Disability Resource Center (DRC) located in Building 57, Room 1500. DRC staff members work with students to obtain required documentation of disability and to identify appropriate accommodations as required by applicable disability laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). After receiving all necessary documentation, the DRC staff determines whether a student qualifies for services with the DRC and if so, the accommodations the student requires will be provided. DRC staff then prepares a letter for the student to provide faculty advising them of approved accommodations. For further information, contact the DRC by phone (904) 620-2769, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit the DRC website (unf.edu/drc).
Military and veteran students who return from combat exposure may be utilizing the post 9/11 GI bill to continue postsecondary education goals and may need both physical and academic accommodations. Contact the Military and Veterans' Resource Center by phone (904) 620-5131 or email email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions by Faculty
What is the Disability Resource Center (DRC)?
The Disability Resource Center coordinates and ensures services and accommodations for registered students with disabilities as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. DRC also acts as a gateway for disability-related information and guidance. These services provide equal educational opportunities to students by minimizing the impact of functional limitations upon their academic and non-academic lives.
Who is responsible for determining reasonable accommodations?
The DRC is the only office on campus that determines appropriate accommodations. Decisions regarding accommodations are based on documentation provided by the student with a disability, as well as the student's functional limitations.
Are all students with disabilities registered with the DRC?
No. It is possible that a student with a disability has chosen not to register with the DRC, or he/she may not have met the eligibility criteria for services. In either instance, faculty members do not need to provide accommodations for those students.
How do I know if a student is registered with the DRC?
Students registered with the DRC will present you with a current letter of warranted accommodations. The student may elect which accommodation he/she would like to use in a given class after discussing the framework of the class with the professor.
If a student requests a note taker, what is my responsibility?
The student should give you a note taker recruitment statement form that he gotten from the DRC. The student will fill out the class and receipt of notes information. You may make an announcement that a student in class needs the services of a volunteer note taker. Due to confidentiality, please do not mention the student's name, the student's disability, or identify the student in any way during your announcement. The interested note taker may meet with the student who is making the request immediately after class or the student may want to be anonymous to the note taker. That info will be on the form. The note taker should report to the DRC office in Building 57, Room 1500 within 2 business days to process paperwork.
What is my responsibility if a student's accommodation is extra time on tests?
If a student has extended time as an accommodation, you must provide the designated extra time delineated on their accommodation letter. The Disability Resource Center can provide a testing environment for all registered students requiring extended time.
When is a student required to notify me of a need for accommodations?
The DRC encourages but does not require registered students to meet with you at the beginning of each semester to discuss his/her Letter of Accommodations. However, a student can register with the DRC or present their Letter of Accommodations to you at any time during the semester. Accommodations are not retroactive; they will begin as soon as the professor receives notification of accommodations.
Am I allowed to request disability documentation from the student for any reason?
No. Documentation stating and describing a student's disability is confidential information. Documentation for students registered with the DRC is kept at the DRC. However, please call the DRC if you have concerns about a student in your class.
I have a student in class who provided me a letter of accommodations but has never used them. What is my responsibility in this situation?
You are only responsible to provide accommodations when a DRC registered chooses to use their warranted accommodations.
I have a student in class who provided me with a letter of accommodations but has never used them. The student then comes to me at the end of the semester right before finals, and tells me he/she is failing and asks for the requested accommodations now. What do I do?
The student has ultimate responsibility to make use of the accommodations that have been identified as reasonable. You are not expected to retroactively make adjustments on academic work prior to student use of their accommodations. If they request to use their accommodations, you must provide them the opportunity to do so. You are to provide accommodations from that point on.
Do I have any recourse if I disagree with the requested accommodations?
Yes. You should contact the DRC to discuss your concerns with one of the DRC Directors.
If a student informs me that he has a disability and would like an accommodation such as extra time for an exam but does not have a letter from the DRC stating his/her accommodations, am I required to provide accommodations?
No. You are not required to provide any requested accommodations unless you have been presented with a current Letter of Accommodations. A student must be registered with the DRC before accommodations will be provided.
Am I required to lower the standards of a required assignment because the student has a disability?
No. The standards should be the same for all students. However, students with disabilities may exhibit their knowledge, production or course expectations differently than their peers. Accommodations are designed to address those differences, but the quality of the end result should be the same. Modifications of policies and practices are not required when they would fundamentally alter the nature of the course, service or activity.
I have a student who is having difficulty in my class. I think this student may have a disability. What should I do to help the student?
Talk privately with the student to discuss your observations. Do not assume that the student's difficulties are a result of a disability. After a thorough discussion with the student, you may want to refer the student to one of more campus resources. Offer options to the student such as the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE), the Personal Counseling Center, as well as the DRC. If the student discloses that he or she does have a disability or believes he/she has a disability, you might suggest that the student contact the DRC to explore options for accommodations.
I have a student with a disability who is getting behind in his schoolwork. The student is missing a number of classes and has not handed in several assignments. Although he has taken a midterm and used accommodations, his grade is about a D. At this point he is not passing the class. Do I have a right to fail a student with a disability?
The student with a disability has the same right to fail as anyone else. Work produced by the student should be equivalent to his peers. Provision of accommodations is no guarantee of academic success.
Universal Design Information
The Center for Teaching and Learning is an excellent resource for assistance in creating a classroom environment that meets the needs of diverse learners.
Colorado State University offers a Universal Design for Learning Module with useful tutorials.
University of Washington's DO-IT Faculty Resources help you to create a classroom environment that maximizes the learning of all students, regardless of disability.
DO-IT Video Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction