The Disability Resource Center (DRC) works with faculty and staff to ensure that all of our programs, services and facilities are accessible and usable by students with disabilities. The DRC takes a collaborative approach with faculty in assisting students. Helping faculty facilitate access to and success of accommodations for students is central to the DRC’s mission. Many accommodations are curriculum-based, therefore the DRC must work in concert with faculty to ensure successful service delivery. If there is ever a question or need for clarification on any matter related to DRC students or services, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We deeply appreciate your continued support!
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The Accommodations Process
- Student submits an Initial Access Form to the DRC.
- Student meets with an Access Specialist to determine accommodations. General accommodations are determined individually based on the barriers each student encounters due to their disability and which accommodation(s) will work for that student. The DRC discusses with students how some accommodations may vary, or not be able to be implemented at all, based on the pedagogic needs for individual classes. The DRC refers to these accommodations as ‘gray area’ accommodations because they may apply to one class but not to another, or they may apply to one assignment but not to another assignment in the same class. Students who have yet to submit documentation may be approved for provisional accommodations while DRC works with them to obtain documentation.
- Student submits documentation of disability to DRC to finalize registration.
- Student requests accommodations each term via MyDRC (this is required by law: students are not able to automatically have accommodations sent each term from registration on). Students do not need to meet with their Access Specialist each term.
- DRC emails Letter of Accommodation (LoA) to instructors for students who have submitted requests. LoAs include: the student’s name, the student’s Access Specialist in the DRC along with their contact information, the list of the student’s accommodations with links to more detailed information including any instructor responsibilities. The image below is of a sample LoA. Instructors are encouraged to connect with the DRC if there are any questions about the accommodations, either at time of receipt or at any time during the quarter! The DRC consults with faculty often throughout the quarter on some of those ‘gray area’ accommodations mentioned earlier.
Please note: There are two situations that may result in faculty receiving an LoA at a time other than the start of the quarter. By law, students are allowed to register with a disability office at any time during a term, as well as being allowed to request accommodations at any time during a term. Therefore in both of these situations, faculty may receive an LoA later in the quarter. However, accommodations are not retroactive and the DRC understands faculty need a reasonable amount of time to start implementing accommodations upon receipt of an LoA. For example, if an LoA includes an accommodation of “double time for testing,” it’s reasonable for an instructor to have the student test with the DRC if the next test is two (2) to three (3) days away, but it is not reasonable if an LoA includes an accommodation of “memory cue for testing” to expect a memory cue be approved the same day.
There are some general responsibilities for all faculty, regardless of whether you have a student registered with the DRC.
- Include the DRC’s statement in your syllabus and cover this information when you discuss your syllabus on the first day of class.
- Refer students who disclose having, or think they have, a disability to the DRC. A student may come right out and state they have a disability, they may indicate they had a 504 or IDEA Plan in primary school, or they may indicate they’ve always struggled with a particular subject and aren’t sure why. These are all good times to refer a student to the DRC. Some tips for referring students to the DRC:
- Review our Potential Signs of Disabilities to learn symptoms that may indicate disability so you can be aware when to potentially refer a student.
- The more explicit a student is about having a disability, 504 or IDEA Plan the more explicitly you can refer to the DRC; letting them know the DRC is the office that handles the college version of those plans is great!
- If a student talks more generally about struggling, or they come from a culture with lots of stigma around having a disability, referral to the DRC may be best when listing it as one of a few programs that could offer support – the Academic Success Center and Multicultural Services are great programs to list alongside the DRC.
- Pay extra attention to your tone, facial expressions and body language when responding as many students can be sensitive or anxious to how people view them upon learning they have a disability.
- Offering to accompany students to the DRC office (in B132) can be a great way to show them you are not judging them and support them connecting with us. Students in general can experience anxiety when coming into any new office and asking for support and depending on the student’ s disability, they may experience more than most.
- Read emails from the DRC as they may be an LoA notifying you of a student with accommodations.
- Proactively make your course as accessible as possible! Accessibility and universal design techniques help all students but particularly reduce barriers for disabled students. Bonus – there will be less work if you do get a student needing a number of accommodations as you will already have them built into your course. BC and the nearby UW’s Do-It program have a variety of options to help you with accessibility and universal design including:
- The DRC’s Creating Accessible Materials
- The DRC’s Choosing Your Course Texts
- eLearning’s Accessibility Resources
- eLearning’s Workshops
- eLearning’s Instructional Designers, providing faculty guidance to enhance online content
- SBCTC’s Mini Canvas Courses on Creating Accessible Materials and Classrooms
- USC Update’s Accessibility Assessment Toolkit
- UW DO-IT’s Universal Design for Instruction
- UW DO-IT’s AccessSTEM
- UW DO-IT’s Faculty Room Online Discussion
There are additional responsibilities for faculty upon being notified from the DRC they have a student with accommodations.
- Read through the LoA and click the link(s) for any accommodation(s) that are new to you.
- Contact the Access Specialist listed in the LoA, or contact the DRC, if you have any questions about the accommodations. You are also welcome to contact if questions or situations with the student(s) comes up during the term. If you have a student with an accommodation you think may fundamentally alter your course, or with a ‘gray area’ accommodation (e.g. Flexibility in Deadlines, Flexibility in Attendance, Memory Cue, Alternatives to Group Work, Alternatives to Presentations, etc.), this is a great time to reach out so we can partner on ensuring access without fundamentally altering the course – and ensuring the DRC, instructor, and student are all on the same page about accommodations for that particular course.
- Implement accommodations requiring instructor action.
- Review our Alternative Testing Procedures if you have a student with testing accommodations
- Review our Captioning and Transcripts Frequently Asked Questions if you have a student with captioning accommodations
MyDRC Faculty Portal
The MyDRC Faculty Module is a one-stop shop for faculty offering a variety of services including the ability to:
- view ALL students in ALL of your courses with links for each student’s list of accommodations;
- fill out any Testing Agreements if you have students with testing-related accommodations (review our step-by-step guide for Completing the MyDRC Test Proctoring Form);
- submit tests for all students as a group or different tests per students (review our step-by-step guide for Uploading an Exam or Adding Test Instructions to MyDRCor Quick Reference – Steps to Upload an Exam and/or Add Test Instructions to MyDRC);
- view students’ Test Appointments, including if they are finished;
- view any Notetakers if you have students with this accommodation, as well as view their notes.