Faculty & Staff Resources
Recommended Syllabus Statement
Syllabus Statement Purpose
Faculty should include a statement within their syllabus to inform students of our resources. Please read through the statement with your students, offer to meet with them in a private setting to ensure confidentiality, and welcome what may be a difficult conversation for them to initiate.
We would like to normalize the need for such assistance and learning differences. A syllabus statement and understanding faculty will support those efforts. Remember, it can be helpful and reassuring to revisit the statement throughout the term as a reminder to our students.
Accommodations, service provision, and support for our students require collaboration and team effort. We are happy to sit down with you and your students together to discuss students’ needs, our processes, and your concerns. We appreciate all that you do to support our students and our department!
Sample Syllabus Statement
The University has a continuing commitment to disability inclusion (e.g., learning disabilities, mental health diagnoses, and chronic or temporary medical conditions). Disability Services (DS) helps to facilitate reasonable accommodations, provides referrals to students interested in exploring a potential diagnosis, and assists students and faculty to minimize barriers for an accessible educational experience. If you need accommodations or guidance, please contact Disability Services (DS) at DisabilityServices@otterbein.edu as soon as possible or visit www.otterbein.edu/ods for more information. While we strive to meet your needs within the parameters of our course requirements and learning objectives, accommodations are not typically retroactive and late requests may not be guaranteed. Please let us know how we can best support you. I am happy to discuss this privately with you as well.
Attendance & Assignment Modifications
Attendance/Assignment Requirements & Modification Considerations
Should a student need attendance or course modifications, you will receive communication and/or an accommodation letter from the Disability Services Coordinator.
The role of Disability Services in such cases is to support the students and the faculty/staff by facilitating the accommodation process and ensuring thoughtful consideration is given to the individual student’s needs, on a case-by-case basis, while assessing the course/assignment objectives and goals. Such accommodations are not meant to diminish the integrity of a course, rather they should account for the student’s disability, remove barriers to access, and provide the opportunity for the student to meet those goals and expectations to the same standard as their classmates.
The process of determining what is appropriate often requires further conversation between the professor, Disability Services, and the student. The following considerations may help guide that determination:
- Accommodations = modifications to policies/practice
- Determined on a case-by-case basis
- The ADA is not concerned about fairness to the other students
- Consider the situation and individual needs
- Not cut & dry – discuss with DS if unsure &/or before you rule out flexibility
- Rarely would a couple of days of flexibility for an extension become an issue
- Questions to consider:
- What are the policy and the essential requirements based on the nature of this course?
- Why are those requirements essential?
- Would any flexibility alter the fundamental requirements for the course?
- Do modifications of the assignment still allow the student to meet the objectives?
- Would any flexibility significantly alter/interrupt the flow of the course?
- Can the student still participate in the course with flexibility?
- Is the student’s contribution to the course (attendance, participation, interaction) necessary?
- Is it a large class during which no one speaks or a smaller class with much discussion, interaction, questions, etc.?
Test Scheduling Forms
Disability Services relies heavily on the Test Scheduling Form as a contract between our office, the student, and the professor. The form provides the details necessary so that we are able to efficiently and accurately proctor quizzes and exams according to the guidelines set forth by the professor for the course.
We understand that the test dates and the progression of a course may change throughout the semester. As this occurs, it is helpful for our office to have advanced notice of at least 3-5 business days to properly schedule and coordinate accommodations for a test. We still encourage students to complete a Test Scheduling Form with the professors at the beginning of the term so we have notice that they plan to make arrangements for their assessments with our office, even when the dates are not yet solidified.
We also encourage students to discuss their need (if applicable) for extended time and review their class schedule with you to determine if flexibility is necessary regarding the start time for their exam. We also encourage students to return the form to our office themselves so that they may connect with our staff to determine if the testing scheduling is appropriate and accurate.
There is a separate Test Scheduling Form specific to the Nursing department. Otherwise, all other courses will use our general Test Scheduling Form. Both can be found below.
Best Practices for Working with Students with Testing Accommodations
- Pre-determine the course timeline/syllabus – we understand the flexibility needed as classes progress at different paces, but this helps students with planning and time management and it assists our office in setting up appropriate space and staffing.
- Allow flexibility due to extended time accommodations and schedule conflicts
- Send quizzes/tests to our office at least 24 business hours prior to the student’s scheduled start time with our office
- Complete Test Scheduling Forms in their entirety and encourage students to submit them at the start of the semester but at least 3-5 business days prior to the next quiz/test
- Indicate tentative dates and communicate changes as needed with advanced notice
- Include a copy of the syllabus to save time when multiple quiz/test dates are scheduled
Accessible Course Materials
Accessible Course Materials
Disability Services helps to facilitate and produce accessible course materials for students with print, visual, and mobility impairments. These materials can include textbooks, handouts, and lecture notes that are converted to electronic files such as PDFs, RTF, TXT, and Mp3s or Braille and print enlargements. Proper captioning, written descriptions, and audio descriptions for visual resources such as videos or films may also need to be provided.
If a student in your course has a need for accessible materials, we will contact you for the details regarding any print and/or visual materials required or suggested for your course. Providing our office with the title, author, edition, and ISBN numbers of any texts will help move the process forward.
For films or videos, the title, production company, and any appropriate links are helpful. It is very important that we begin working on the materials and converting them to accessible formats well in advance of the term.
If you happen to have your syllabus already prepared (or an old copy that is likely to remain pretty similar), that can be very helpful for our department to move forward. Any info you can share in advance is helpful and much appreciated.
Best Practices for Ensuring Accessible Course Materials
- Ensure accessibility from the start of the term
- Simplify text
- Describe graphics and images
- Select textbook options that have accessible, electronic files already available
- Select films and videos that have audio descriptions and captions already available
- Ensure that content uploaded to a course management system is accessible
- Ensure that any computer programs are accessible for a student who uses a screen-reader
Note-taking assistance is an accommodation provided to students to supplement their own notes.
Note taking assistance is not a substitute for attending class. When students miss class for a non-disability related reason, they should make alternative arrangements for obtaining notes.
Some students may need to audio record lectures
- DS or the student will ask the instructor for permission.
- Students are encouraged to place the recorder (and themselves) at the front of the classroom, close to the instructor.
If an in-class note-taker is requested by a student registered with Disability Services (as an approved accommodation), Disability Services will help facilitate the process.
Students are encouraged to contact us via email at email@example.com, phone at (614) 823-1684, or in person in room #229 on the 2nd floor of the library during the first week of the semester, if not earlier.
- Disability Services will send an email announcement to the class roster, without identifying the student, to recruit a volunteer to serve as the note taker. If there is difficulty in identifying a volunteer, Disability Services will contact the professor to ask for a recommendation and/or assistance.
- Details for procedures and expectations are discussed with the note-taker.
- The note-taker will then make copies of their notes at least twice a week in the Copy Center in the basement of Towers Hall.
- The notes will be left in a bin with the name of the class and the professor’s name on them. Students should retrieve their notes as often as possible.
- The student and note-taker may agree to exchange notes electronically rather than via hard copy.
- The note-taker is paid by Disability Services.
- We do not identify the student to the note-taker without permission.
- If there are any concerns or if problems with the quality and consistency of the notes, students should contact Disability Services as soon as possible.
- If students do not pick up their notes after 2 weeks, Disability Services will contact them. Students may need to meet with Disability Services to continue to receive copies of notes.
Consultations & Class Visits
Disability Services is happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have surrounding a student’s accommodations or needs, registered or not, or the services provided by our office. We also welcome the opportunity to speak with your class or department about the support and accommodations provided by Disability Services, the services offered through the Academic Support Center, and disability awareness.
Please contact Disability Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (614) 823-1684 for more information or to schedule a class visit.
The ADA defines a service animal as “a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.” These dogs do not need to wear a vest or have an ID.
The handler is responsible for maintaining control of the animal and for caring for and supervising the service animal, which includes toileting, feeding, and grooming and veterinary care. Covered entities are not obligated to supervise or otherwise care for a service animal.
Service animals are not required to be certified or registered, however university vaccination requirements are enforced for service dogs in the residence halls. Students are to contact Tracy Benner, the Residence Life director, at TBenner@otterbein.edu or (614) 823-1250.
Students may choose to voluntarily register their service animal with Disability Services to assist with advocacy and emergency evacuation. Students and faculty/staff may contact Disability Services, for more information at email@example.com or (614) 823-1684.
If there are concerns or conflicting needs surrounding faculty/staff or other students in the classroom and a service dog, please contact Disability Services as soon as possible to determine how to best move forward.
For additional information, please visit the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section website for Frequently Asked Questions about Services Animals and the ADA.
Confirmation & Removal
We are not permitted to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.
We may only ask 2 questions when it is not obvious that the animal is a service dog.
- Is this a service animal required because of a disability?
- What task is the animal trained to perform?
Ask to remove the service dog only when:
- The dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or
- The dog is not housebroken.
Upon removal of the animal, continue to serve the individual.
Students with service dogs are not to be isolated from others.
Services provision is a team effort. Faculty/staff support is critical and much appreciated!
Academic Support Center and Disability Services Location and Hours
Location: Courtright Memorial Library, Second Floor in the Back
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Academic Support Center and Disability Services Staff