Faculty are responsible for collaborating with students with disabilities and the Office of Disability Services to create an accessible classroom and learning experience. Provide the approved accommodations, outllined on the student's Accommodation Letter, in a fair and timely manner.
Use a Syllabus Statement
It is important to provide a clearly welcoming environment so that students understand they can come forward with accommodation requests. Using an accessibility statement on your syllabus encourages students to identify their needs early and creates a collaborative process between you, the student, and the Office of Disability Services. Students who qualify for accommodations will send you their Accommodation Letter via the DS Portal, and that letter outlines their specific, documented needs.
- Encourage students with disabilities to approach you as soon as possible by placing a statement on your syllabus such as the one below
- Be available for accommodation conversations with students during office hours or scheduled appointments, which will allow you to provide privacy in accordance with FERPA.
Sample Syllabus Statement:
UNC Charlotte is committed to accessibility and inclusion in education. If you have a disability and need academic accommodations, send me your Accommodation Letter through the DS Portal as early as possible. I encourage you to meet with me to discuss the accommodations outlined in your letter. For more information about accommodations, contact the Office of Disability Services at 704-687-0040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students with disabilities have the right to privacy and are not required to disclose the nature of their disability to faculty. For this reason, a student's diagnosis is not included in the Accommodation Letter. Additionally, the information contained in the student's Accommodation Letter is confidential and should not be shared without the student’s prior written permission. However, faculty are responsible for sharing this information with TAs whose responsibilities include providing oversight or implementation of the student's accommodations.
The knowledge of a disability should be treated in a confidential manner by the instructor not disclosed to others. Identifying a student to peers or making comments about a student’s disability in class violates the student’s right to privacy. Focus your conversation and questions on how to best provide the accommodations within the context of your course. Follow the individual student’s lead in discussing his or her disability(ies). Some students may be very open about the nature of their disabilities, while others may be more private.
Disability Services staff can communicate with University officials on a need-to-know basis concerning relevant information, accommodations, and services. Students who request accommodations through the DS Portal have an assigned DS counselor. That counselor will be listed on the student's Accommodation Letter.
Accommodation Letters via the DS Portal
Disability Services staff determine appropriate accommodations based on the student's documentation. These pre-approved accommodations are outlined in the student's Accommodation Letter. Students who are registered with Disability Services will send their accommodation letters electronically and faculty will be notified via email from the DS Portal system. Faculty are able to view and acknowledge students' accommodations via the DS Faculty Portal. Note that instructors are still responsible for providing the outlined accommodations even if they do not acknowledge receipt of the letter.
- Accommodations may be requested at any point in the semester.
- Accommodations are not retroactive.
- Grade the performance of a student with disabilities as you would all other students.
Disability Services staff act as a resource for faculty and staff, too. We encourage you to contact us with your disability-related questions.