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Guidelines for Faculty

Below are general guidelines to assist faculty in supporting students with disabilities. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for expanding the information found on this page, as our goal is to make this relevant and helpful to faculty.

(Specifics about accommodations can be found by clicking the “Accommodations” link in the sidebar.)

Syllabus Statement

Faculty play a key role in ensuring that students are aware of the college’s commitment to equal access to our programs, activities, and services. You can support the college's efforts to create an inclusive educational community by inviting students with disabilities to request accommodations for your courses. We encourage you to include one the following statements on your syllabi—or a statement of your own:

  • Colorado College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any disability-related barriers to learning in this course, please discuss your concerns and approved accommodation with me. I would like us to discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. Additionally, if you have not already done so, please connect with Accessibility Resources (Armstrong 211, 719-227-8285), the office responsible for coordinating accommodations and services for students with disabilities.

  • If you experience a disability and anticipate barriers related to the format or requirements of this course, please meet with me. I would like us to discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course, as well as talk about how best to coordinate your accommodations. Additionally, if you have not already done so, please connect with Accessibility Resources (Armstrong 211, 719-227-8285), the office responsible for coordinating accommodations and services for students with disabilities.

  • If you experience a disability and are requesting accommodations for this course, please speak with me privately as soon as possible so we can discuss how best to put accommodations in place. If you have not already done so, please connect with Accessibility Resources (Armstrong 211, 719-227-8285), the office responsible for coordinating accommodations and services for students with disabilities.

Academic Accommodations

When to provide accommodations: Faculty should provide accommodations to students who provide timely notification of the need for accommodation for a course via the AR Online Services faculty notification process. Typically, you will receive a "faculty notification letter" via an email generated by AR Online Services, but students can also provide you with a PDF or hard copy of this letter.

Although faculty are not obligated to provide accommodations until receiving a faculty notification letter, please consider providing the accommodation while waiting for official notification from Accessibility Resources if the disability is apparent and the accommodation appears to be reasonable. Best practice, though, is to refer to the accommodation as an "arrangement" rather than an "accommodation" as Accessibility Resources is the designated office for approving accommodations.

If a student offers to provide you with a copy of disability-related documentation, such as medical records or a psychoeducational evaluation, please refer the student to Accessibility Resources, the office designated by the College to manage such records.

Providing accommodations: Please provide classroom accommodations as indicated in the faculty notification letter. Accessibility Resources staff are available to support faculty and students with the implementation of accommodations. However, due to limited staff and space, as well as logistical issues inherent to the Block Plan, our office relies on faculty to provide classroom accommodations such as extended time for exams and the provision of a distraction-reduced exam setting. Your support in providing these accommodations is very much appreciated.

Meeting with students regarding their accommodations: It is important for faculty to meet with students who choose to identify themselves as having a disability in order to discuss the accommodations they might need for a course, including how best to implement the accommodations. During this meeting, students may or may not choose to disclose the nature of their disability. Due to the very personal and private nature of some disabilities, it is important that meetings take place in a location that protects the student’s right to privacy. 

If You Think a Student Might Have a Disability

If a student is having difficulty in class and you think it might be due to an unidentified disability, you may want to talk privately with the student about your concerns regarding the student’s performance. If so, please keep the following tips in mind:

  • Emphasize positive aspects of the student’s performance while noting specific areas in which the student may be struggling (e.g., unable to complete exams within time limits, significant spelling errors, poor reading comprehension).

  • Please don’t suggest that the student may have a disability. Instead, ask if the student has had difficulty with the academic concern(s) in the past.

  • If the student describes a history of difficulty and/or expresses current concern, you can suggest that the student make an appointment to talk with an Accessibility Resources staff member so we can help to assess next steps that may be helpful.

Academic Standards

Please keep in mind that every effort will be made to implement reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students when necessary. However, requests that lower the academic standards of the college or fundamentally alter the college’s courses, programs, or degree requirements will be denied. If you have concerns about a particular accommodation, please contact Accessibility Resources.

Confidentiality

Colorado College respects the privacy of its students. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs all student record information. All information concerning student disabilities and accommodation is kept separately from student academic files. This information is confidential and will not be released to third parties without the written permission of the student, except in circumstances involving matters of health, safety, and law.

Generally, a faculty member has a right to know that a student requesting accommodations in a course has a documented disability and which accommodations have been approved by the Accessibility Resources staff. However, specific information regarding a student’s disability is provided to faculty and staff on a need-to-know basis only. (Note: Please keep all information related to students’ disabilities in a secure location.)

Rights and Responsibilities

Colorado College is committed to ensuring an equitable academic experience for students with disabilities. Please refer to the Rights and Responsibilities page for information on how Accessibility Resources, students, and faculty all contribute to meeting this goal. Please contact Accessibility Resources if you need additional information or assistance. We are here to support both students and faculty.

Off-Campus Study

Colorado College supports students with disabilities participating in domestic and international off-campus experiences, including providing accommodations to the extent possible. The key to an accessible and inclusive experience lies in careful planning.

Faculty can be helpful by providing a clear description of essential course requirements and providing information on what students can expect in terms of travel, lodging, physical activity, etc. We recommend that faculty encourage students to contact them to discuss access and accommodation needs and, in collaboration with Accessibility Resources, to work together to develop an accommodation plan. Accessibility Resources is not always aware of when students with disabilities are enrolled in courses that are taught off-campus or that have field study components. Therefore, we ask students to inform faculty of accommodation and other support needs as early as possible.

Faculty who have concerns about implementing accommodations or question the reasonableness of accommodations should contact Accessibility Resources so we can work together to ensure that appropriate support is in place for students.

For information provided to students with disabilities regarding off-campus study, including management of medication and other health care needs, please check out the Accessibility Resources Off-Campus Study webpage.

Our goal, in collaboration with the Center for Global Education & Field Study, is to support both students with disabilities and faculty in managing off-campus experiences. Please let us know how we can help!