Faculty FAQs

Q1: I’ve received an email from my student requesting information about their performance in class, including their grade. They want me to include others in my reply. I’m concerned that this violates FERPA. What should I do?

Periodically, you will receive an email from your student, asking that you share that information with them, their Navigation Assistant, and the ASN manager or director. Please rest assured that you may share this information with your student, your student’s Navigation Assistant, and the ASN program manager or director. FERPA allows for college staff with a “need-to-know” to have access to this type of information.

You should answer this email request just like any other student inquiry. Your student is seeking your support in order to do their best in your class, and needs information from you. 

You may think that your student should “already know” this information. In reality, this is precisely the type of information that many autistic students have difficulty tracking, and your response is a tremendous support in your student’s success. 

Students should not be expected to make an appointment in order to receive this information from you, unless you have specific problems you feel would be best addressed in a face-to-face meeting. If this is the case, please “reply all” to the email to request a meeting.

ASN is a voluntary student access support program, so you can be assured that your student has requested this type of support. They are able to opt-out of the email, or use an alternative method if they desire.

Q2: Doesn’t it violate FERPA to send the reply via email?

FERPA law requires that as an institution we take steps to protect the privacy of student information. Therefore, it is important that we use only the student’s BC email address when sending information to the student. Often students will contact our offices requesting information, or requesting that we do something for them, and they do this using a personal email address rather than the college email address. We should not respond to students using an email that has not been assigned by the college, and it is also appropriate for a faculty or employee to request that a student send the original request using the BC assigned email address.

Also, we need to be careful about who is copied on the email request from the student. The only people that should receive the progress report or grade information are the ones that are directly responsible for the student’s success. If you are unsure, you can hover over or click on the email address to see directory information about the person who is copied in the email.

One other item regarding the student request. If the student copies another person on the email that we do not know, and who does not have a BC email address, we should remove that person from the response. The student can, on their own, forward the response to another party.

And, of course, faculty and staff should also be using their BC email address for this type of communication as well. 

 ASN is a voluntary student access support program, so you can be assured that your student has requested this type of support. They are able to opt-out of the email, or use an alternative method if they desire.

Q3: I think a student in my class is autistic (or they’ve told me they are autistic) but I don’t have a Letter of Accommodation for them. What should I, or what can I, do?

If your student has revealed a disability to you, you may refer them to the Disability Resource Center, or to Autism Spectrum Navigators to learn more about their options. Sometimes, it’s best to walk them over so that they feel comfortable getting connected. Note that students in the ASN program are not required to register with the DRC.

If the student has not revealed a disability, but you suspect they may have one, you may not ask them if they do. However, if you notice that they are struggling in a particular area, you may ask them if they’ve received help in that area before, perhaps in high school: “I’ve noticed that you seem to be having a hard time with the reading – have you ever received help with reading before, maybe in high school?” If they say “yes” then you can refer them to several on-campus resources: Academic Success Center, Disability Resource Center, and perhaps Multicultural Services. 

If YOU are experiencing difficulty communicating with the student, and would like some tips, please feel free to contact ASN directly at extension 2764 or asn@bellevuecollege.edu. See also other sections of Faculty Resources for tips on working with autistic students and disabled students in the classroom. 

Q4: What is the best way to communicate with an autistic student?

Your student is the best person to answer that question, as each person is unique. In general, direct, written communication is preferable. 

Q5: I’m overwhelmed with the accommodations that my student has, and don’t understand what my role is. Help!

No problem! The Disability Resource Center is there to help! Give them a call at extension 2498, or send them an email at drc@bellevuecollege.edu as soon as you get your student’s Letter of Accommodation, and they will connect you to your student’s Disability Specialist, who will contact you and explain the accommodations and your role in administering them.

Again, should you have questions about working with autistic students, classroom management with autistic or suspected autistic students, or any other questions, you are welcome to also contact ASN program director Sara Gardner at x2172 or sara.gardner@bellevuecollege.edu and we will work with you to find solutions! 


Last Updated February 18, 2018