Disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the right of individuals to participate in or contribute to society. The Office of Disability Resources (ODR), leads the campus community in its commitments to recognize disability as a valued aspect of diversity, to embrace access as a matter of social justice, and to design more welcoming and inclusive environments.
Roles and responsibilities
Faculty and staff have an important role to play in making sure students feel welcome. There’s a lot we can do proactively to remove barriers and create an accessible environment. We can do this by focusing on ACCESS:
- Acknowledging disability as an aspect of human diversity
- Cultivating awareness of the environment’s disabling barriers
- Collaborating on and proactively facilitating accessible environments and experiences
- Educating faculty and staff to create and maintain access in their spheres of influence
- Shifting to an inclusive-minded philosophy
- Supplementing with reasonable accommodations as a last resort measure to ensure access
We determine disability eligibility based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Subpart E, interpreted from guidance from the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD). ODR does not follow the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers the K–12 environment.
When a student releases information, ODR is a conduit of information and can facilitate dialogue between the student and faculty, if necessary.
Ensuring equal access to college courses, programs and events is a shared responsibility. At a minimum, faculty and staff need to be responsive to reasonable accommodation requests.
Provide accessible course content.
Faculty should avoid asking for medical documentation, rather refer students to the ODR.
Meet standards of academic performance (outcomes and objectives) established for each course in which the student is enrolled, with our without accommodations.
Release accommodation every semester, if planning on using them.
Let the instructor know if they plan to use an accommodation (i.e. test outside the classroom, record lecture, etc.)
Manage self in accordance to the student code of conduct.
Classroom access personnel
At times, it may be necessary for additional personnel to be present in the classroom or lab environment in order to ensure equal access for a student to participate. All personnel, whether hired by ODR or not, have clarity of roles and Delta College expectations. At no time will the personnel complete work or speak on behalf of students.
Personnel includes ASL interpreters, note takers, or in-class aides. The college does not provide personnel to manage personal care or student behavior.
The student may contract with an outside agency to provide a personal aid. In this case, the personal aid is a trained professional, not a relation or friend, and would be indicated on a NTI (Notification to Instructor).
The use of audio recording devices and/or technology for note-taking as a form of access and as a reasonable accommodation in the classroom, must be used with great care in the best interest of the academic community (the students and the course instructor).
Recording Lecture Agreement (RLA) forms are available at ODR upon instructor request.
Tips and best practices
- Include a statement in your syllabus that directs students who need accommodation to ODR.
- Check your email for a NTI message from ODR. NTIs are not released until a student requests and signs for the release of information. They may come throughout the semester and on a semester-to-semester basis.
- Implement the accommodation upon receipt of NTI.
- Students may expect provision similar to what they experienced in the K-12 environment. If a student requests modifications to the academic environment, refer them to ODR for clarification in a post-secondary setting. Accommodation and modification are starkly different.
- Contact ODR if there is a concern about fundamental modifications to the class content. A meeting will quickly take place to resolve any issue.
Talking to your ODR student
Students are advised, but not required, to reach out to an instructor during office hours to answer any specific questions about facilitating accommodations in the classroom. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and often leaves the instructor puzzled about next steps, especially regarding assessments.
If a student with a testing accommodation does not contact you, it is best practice to send an email asking if they are planning to do so.