Frequently Asked Faculty Questions

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Answers to common questions faculty may have.
If you have any other questions, please contact us at any time.

For more information on providing exam accommodations, please see: Arranging Accommodations for Exams.

  • What are the ADA and “504” and how do these laws impact higher education?

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states, "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States ... shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..." The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as Amended (ADAAA) extends some of these stated provisions, and governs equal access and protection against discrimination for applicants and students with disabilities.

    In higher education, a student with a disability is “otherwise qualified” when, with or without reasonable accommodations, they meet the same eligibility (and then graduation) requirements for admission (and then graduation) expected of all applicants and students. Students requesting accommodations must self-disclose their disability to Accessibility Services, who will work with the student to determine which, if any, reasonable accommodations are appropriate.

    While students with disabilities cannot be denied or excluded from a program or service solely on the basis of having a disability, students (whether they access reasonable accommodations or not) must meet the same course standards and institutional policies regarding behavior and performance demanded of anyone else.
  • What are reasonable accommodations?

    Accommodations that are considered reasonable are those that do not fundamentally alter the nature of an academic course or the institution’s policies, and do not place an undue hardship on the institution. Reasonable accommodations are distinguished from services of a personal nature, which Wesleyan University does not provide but the student may choose to employ. Such services of a personal nature may include individual assistants or coaches.

    Please visit the Reasonable Accommodations page for a description of the most common accommodations approved for students with disabilities at Wesleyan.
  • How will I know which students in my course are approved for accommodations?
    Students are expected to notify their faculty members of approved accommodations by providing them with an Accommodation Letter prepared with the student by Accessibility Services. Students are responsible for approaching faculty in a timely manner to provide a copy of their Accommodation Letter. However, some may wait until a few days before an exam to do so; others may discover a disability, or may not get documentation to support accommodation requests until sometime after the course has begun. Faculty are responsible for providing the approved reasonable accommodations unless it is impossible or impractical to do so.
  • What is “timely notice” of accommodations?

    Students do have the right to disclose their accommodations at any point of the semester, however accommodations are not retroactive, and while faculty cannot set a limited timeframe for accepting Accommodation Letters, they are not required to provide accommodations until receiving the letter.

    If the student has presented a last-minute accommodation request and there is not ample time to make the necessary arrangements, then please let the student know and feel free to contact the office. We may be able to assist in the process.
  • Can I require that students provide me with their letters at the beginning of the semester?

    No. However, in order to encourage students to present letters early, Wesleyan requests that each faculty member include information regarding accommodations on all course syllabi, web pages, and Moodle pages. The syllabus statement can be found here. Faculty are also encouraged to point this out on the first day of class when reviewing course requirements.

    Students do have the right to disclose their accommodations at any point of the semester, however accommodations are not retroactive, and while faculty cannot set a limited timeframe for accepting Accommodation Letters, they are not required to provide accommodations until receiving the letter. The best way to ensure accommodation arrangements are planned for ahead of time is to provide accurate exam dates and times in the syllabus, and discuss arrangements with student when receiving Accommodation Letters.

  • A student requested to meet with me to provide a letter, or has given me a letter, what do I do now?

    Accessibility Services encourages students to meet with faculty in their office to provide their Accommodation Letter, as this provides a confidential environment for a discussion. Faculty are responsible for discussing with students the appropriate options regarding providing accommodations. Ideally, this is done when the student provides the Accommodation Letter to you (in your office), but can also be done by email or follow up meeting before each exam. Faculty are then responsible for making arrangements for the accommodations identified in the Accommodation Letter.

    Once received, Accommodation Letters should be kept in a confidential location for reference throughout the semester. Additionally, discussions and arrangement options are to be made in a confidential manner so as not to disclose the names of the students to each other or others in the course. While it is expected that a student will advocate for their individual needs directly with you, Accessibility Services may assist in the process if requested.
  • I do not understand how to provide one of the listed accommodations in my course.

    Accessibility Services is always happy to answer any questions, and assist you with providing the accommodations to students; please contact us at any time. Please visit the Reasonable Accommodations page for a description of the most common accommodations approved for students with disabilities at Wesleyan.

  • What if a student asks for an accommodation without providing a letter, or requests an accommodation not included in the letter they provided?
    Faculty are only responsible to provide the accommodations indicated in the Accessibility Services Accommodation Letter. If a student does not provide you with a letter, or requests an accommodation that is not included in their letter, refer the student to Accessibility Services. The accommodation may or may not be appropriate for the individual student, and we are happy to meet and discuss this with them in order to determine appropriate reasonable accommodations for the course. In the event there are further applicable accommodations, which were not indicated in the Accommodation Letter, you will be notified by Accessibility Services.
  • What if I don’t approve or agree with an accommodation listed on a letter?

    If you are concerned about the appropriateness of an accommodation that is identified in the letter, please contact us, and we will facilitate a conversation involving you and the student to determine the best way to address the barrier to access that has been identified.

  • How do I arrange extended time and/or distraction reduced environment exam accommodations?

    Faculty and/or the department’s Administrative Assistant are asked to reserve a room nearby to the classroom for students with these accommodations. In most cases, students with similar accommodations can be in the same room together (if a private exam location is recommended, the Accommodation Letter will specify a “separate testing environment”).

    Extended time is based on what ALL students are allowed for time (for example, if all students have the option to arrive early, a student with 50% extended time would be permitted 50% more than the TOTAL time allowed), and location arrangements should be reserved accordingly.

  • How do I arrange for a student to use a laptop accommodation for a written exam?

    So as not to, by default, disclose that a student using a laptop has a disability, it is strongly encouraged that faculty who do not permit use of laptops include a statement in their syllabus that exceptions to this rule will be made on a case-by-case basis. Students with a laptop accommodation for typing a written exam can be permitted to sit in the back of the class, or the faculty member and/or the department’s Administrative Assistant can reserve a room nearby to the classroom for students to type their responses without distracting others in the class.

    When a student presents their Accommodation Letter with a laptop for written exams accommodation, faculty should discuss location options with the student, as well as whether they will be permitted to use their own laptop during exams, or borrow a laptop without internet access from Accessibility Services for use during exams. If it is determined that a laptop without internet access is to be used, then the student is responsible for contacting Accessibility Services to make arrangements for borrowing a laptop prior to each exam.
  • I have a large class with multiple students in my course with accommodations, how do I arrange for all of them to use accommodations?

    Faculty and/or the department’s Administrative Assistant are asked to reserve a room nearby to the classroom for students with accommodations, such as extended time or distraction reduced environment. In most cases, students with similar accommodations can be in the same room together (if a private exam location is recommended, the Accommodation Letter will specify a “separate testing environment”).

    Faculty can also arrange for a CA or TA (or other student worker from the department) to proctor in the second room if needed. Accessibility Services can help you to find a suitable location, or assist with identifying a proctor for the space you have reserved. Please contact us for assistance at any time.
  • What if I suspect a student is struggling due to a disability, but they have not provided me with a letter?

    Accessibility Services is part of the Student Academic Resources office. While it is inappropriate to ask a student if they have a disability, it would be appropriate for a faculty member to refer a student to Student Academic Resources to see what supports are available to them (including tutoring or Peer Advisors). Faculty can also contact the office, before or after referring a student, to share concerns regarding a student.

  • Who can I contact with other questions?