Western Faculty are important members of the DRS team when academic accommodations directly involve the classroom and classroom activities. We aim to partner with faculty at WWU in order to ensure student success. Western is the educational home to over 800 undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities across all academic programs.
The only time a faculty member is notified of a classroom accommodation is when the student has requested disability accommodation for the specific course and the student meets the eligibility criteria required to be approved by DRS for accommodation and the accommodation requires faculty involvement.
How am I notified that a student needs accommodation?
Accommodation Letter: The Accommodation Letter is requested from DRS by eligible students through our online accommodation request portal. Once the request is reviewed by a DRS counselor, the accommodation letters are then emailed to faculty. The letter is in a standard format individualized to identify the course, quarter, date of production, instructor and student information along with accommodation(s) listed that will require faculty assistance. Many of the accommodations are linked to content on the DRS website which provides greater detail about the particular accommodation. If a student in your course is eligible for exam accommodations, the accommodation letter will include a secure link to a testing contract. Once you fill out a testing contract for a specific section, that testing contract will automatically duplicate for all other students enrolled in that section who qualify for and request exam accommodations. Some accommodations require conversations and agreements between the DRS student and their faculty. We advise students to initiate this contact with you. This first contact is an opportunity for you and the student to discuss the details of the course, expectations, methods of communication for the term, address concerns and create solutions. If you ever encounter questions or concerns about an accommodation letter, please contact us as soon as possible.
- DRS Exam Accommodations
- Flexibility with Attendance
- Flexibility with Assignment Deadlines
- Audio-Recorder Accommodation
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
- Memory Aid Accommodation
- Accommodations in Online Courses
Special Accommodation E-Mail: Sometimes the nature of the accommodation, urgency, or sensitivity regarding the condition or student situation requires an individualized e-mail that specifically addresses what accommodation(s) will be needed. Special accommodation e-mails are sent directly from a DRS staff person to you under a confidential subject line.
Faculty will sometimes be asked to work with a student to determine reasonable parameters for an accommodation, such as flexibility with deadlines or flexibility with attendance. DRS uses the following guidelines to determine reasonability of accommodation parameters. Faculty are encouraged to contact DRS if they have any questions or concerns about particular accommodations.
Reasonable Accommodation means a modification or adjustment that enables a qualified student with a disability to enjoy equal access to WWU’s academic programs, services, or activities without altering fundamental requirements of that academic program, service, or activity, and without creating an undue hardship for the university.
Undue Hardship means an excessively costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive modification, or one that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the institution.
What should I do if I am uncertain about an accommodation?
If you are uncertain about an accommodation, we recommend that you first contact the DRS student’s accommodation counselor. Accommodation counselors are identified in the accommodation notification sent by DRS. If a resolution is not reached, please contact the following administrators in the order listed until the inquiry or concern is resolved:
- Anna Blick, Assistant Director
- David Brunnemer, Director/Registrar
- Dr. Sue Guenter-Schlessinger, Vice Provost for Equal Opportunity & Employment Diversity, ADA Coordinator, & Title IX Coordinator
We highly recommend that accommodations granted in the student's accommodation letter remain in place, even if a question or concern arises. Accommodation changes are subject to the resolution of a faculty concern. If you have questions about facilitating an interim accommodation, please contact the student's DRS counselor.
In response to faculty constituent concerns, disAbility Resources for Students, the Office of Student Life, and the Counseling Center are partnering to offer informational dialogue sessions on managing disruptive or concerning students. These sessions are offered intermittently throughout the academic year. This online resource published by the Office of Student Life offers information to faculty who are concerned about a student. If you need assistance regarding a student of concern, please contact the Office of Student Life at (360) 650-3706.
Syllabi provide faculty with an opportunity to establish clear expectations for a course, assignment and exam schedules, absence policies, and much more. The Center for Instructional Innovation & Assessment published Course Syllabus Guidelines, including boilerplate language for a reasonable accommodation statement.
The Center for Instructional Innovation & Assessment also provides a comprehensive resource list of accessible instruction methods. The DO-IT program at University of Washington also provides tutorials for implementing accessible and inclusive instructional practices.