Faculty and Staff Resources
As an instructor or faculty member at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh you play an important role in ensuring access for students with disabilities. After registering with Disability Services, students receive an Accommodation Recommendation Card. Students with disabilities are encouraged to work with their instructors to obtain reasonable accommodations that provide equal access and equal challenge in the classroom. Accommodations should not be misinterpreted as making things easier for the student. Instead are a means to level the playing field for individuals who meet all of the requirements to attend the university, but have a disability that hinders full enjoyment and access. Our philosophy and approach rest with providing equal access and equal challenge in the classroom, but we never guarantee success. Accommodations should not result in a fundamental alteration of the academic program or the course requirements and expectations.
The university serves over 700 students with disabilities annually. Disabilities include visual or hearing impairments, learning disabilities, physical limitations, chronic health conditions, psychological or psychiatric impairments, and other disabilities. We also assist students who suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or concussions as a result of combat, sports injuries, auto accidents, or other mishaps. Services for students with disabilities are provided by the Dean of Students office and Project Success, who provides services and accommodations specifically for students with print-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia. While the programs are technically separate, Project Success and the Dean of Students office collaborate to provide the best possible support for students and faculty. The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has enjoyed an excellent reputation in the state and the region for our disability services programs and national recognition for our Project Success program.
The information on this website is intended to assist staff and faculty in developing a greater understanding of how best to work with students with disabilities and assure equal access. There is information on what to do if you suspect that a student may have an undiagnosed disability or might be in need of additional support or assistance. The Dean of Students office is available for consultation and short presentations on disability related topics.
Instructor Roles, Rights and Responsibilities
Each member of the university has particular roles and responsibilities related to disability services. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides guidance on procedures used to determine and arrange accommodations. Disability Services and Project Success are designated at the university and charged with reviewing documentation and determining reasonable accommodations.
- Make reasonable accommodations as outlined on the Accommondation Recommendation Card
- Provide access to classroom and materials
- Maintain confidentiality
Students present their Accommodation Recommendation Card (ARC) to the instructor in order to request accommodations. Once the ARC is shared and reviewed with the instructor, the instructor is then responsible to make accommodations as outlined.
Faculty and staff should not make determinations about disability or accommodation needs. When a student presents their Accommodation Recommendation Card, the student and instructor should discuss how to best meet the accommodation. If a student discloses to you that they have a disability and need accommodations but does not present an Accommodation Recommendation Card, please refer the student to Disability Services in the Dean of Students office.
In some cases, accommodations may require modifications to standard classroom approaches. Some examples include the following:
- Exam modifications such as taking a copy of the exam to Testing Services or Project Success so that a student may utilize extended time or have access to a less distracting environment or, in rare cases, an individual proctor or scribe.
- Allowing the use of adaptive technology such as a notebook computer or similar device to aid in taking notes or assisting in recruiting students in the classroom to work as note takers.
- Providing some materials to students in an accessible electronic format.
- Consider alternative ways of evaluating content mastery that measures academic ability rather than a disability. For example, modifying an exam from multiple-choice to an essay format or allowing an oral exam option.
If there is a question about how to make an accommodation work or a concern that an accommodation alters the fundamental nature of the course, please consult with Disability Services.
- To maintain academic standards for courses they teach.
- Determine course content and delivery methods.
- Confirm a student’s request for accommodations and seek clarification.
- Deny a requested accommodation if it has not been authorized on the ARC.
- Award grades based upon the student’s level of mastery of course material.
- Award a failing grade to any student who does not perform to academic standards regardless of disability.
Faculty members do not have the right to*:
Refuse to provide an approved accommodation for a documented disability.
Challenge the legitimacy of a disability.
Request separate documentation concerning a disability or review a student’s disability file.
*These types of incidents could place the University, and the faculty member, at risk for an OCR complaint.
Faculty members are responsible to:
- Understand laws, University, and UW System policies and guidelines related to students with disabilities.
- Refer students to Disability Services when necessary.
- Provide requested accommodations and adjustments in a timely manner.
- Provide handouts, videos, and other course materials in an accessible format upon request.
- Evaluate students based upon their ability rather than a disability.
- Maintain confidentiality of information.