Faculty and Disability Services at Olin
Faculty members are some of our most important allies in ensuring that all students with disabilities are given the opportunity to request accommodations and experience equal access to all aspects of the educational experience. DSO strongly encourages collaboration with faculty to think about how to create an accessible learning environment that work well with the unique classroom experience at Olin.
Providing accommodations is an interactive process. The faculty bring their knowledge of the course content, methods, and essential requirements to the conversation.
Faculty are sent Letters of Accommodation for any student registered with DSO. These letters outline the reasonable accommodations that the student needs to have equal access to their education. Here are some guiding questions that help me determine what constitutes a reasonable accommodation.
- When determining reasonable accommodations, we need to consider each student on a case-by-case basis. Some example of questions I may ask to determine reasonable accommodations are:
- What is the barrier to access?
- What is the impact on essential course requirements?
- Reasonable accommodations should not reduce or make any fundamental alterations to the course content and learning objectives. The purpose for a reasonable accommodation is to remove barriers and to provide students with disabilities the same access to their education that is afforded to all students.
- What is 'reasonable'?
- Does the accommodation create an undue burden to the college?
- Does the accommodation create a direct threat to the safety of the student or others?
- Does the accommodation fundamentally alter the nature of the program?
- Accommodations are not retroactive. The student needs to inform you and/or DSO of the need to use specific accommodations prior to the course event and with a reasonable amount of time for adequate faciliation.
Confidentiality and Student Interactions around Disability
Any disability diagnosis is strictly confidential and is not shared with faculty. Also, faculty are legally not permitted to ask students about their disability. Students can, however, disclose to their faculty and peers should they so choose. Faculty instructors and advisors will receive, with the student's consent, any information about reasonable accommodations in the form of a Letter of Accessibility. It is the student's responsibility to let their faculty know when they may need to use their accommodations.
Accessibility in the Classroom
I encourage all faculty to take time to review information about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This approach to designing an educational experience attempts to account for the diverse learning needs of all of our students.