Academic Accommodations Process

Academic Accommodations Process

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME’S PROCESS FOR UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES REQUESTING REASONABLE ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Requesting Academic Accommodations
  2. Implementing Accommodations
    1. Testing Accommodations
    2. Non-Testing Accommodations – Auxiliary Aids & Services
    3. Non-Testing Accommodations – Academic Adjustments
  3. Grievance Process

 

This process concerning the requesting and implementation of reasonable academic accommodations applies to all students including undergraduate, graduate and professional students, with the exception of those enrolled in the Law School. The Law School utilizes a different process for requesting accommodations, and students with disabilities in the Law School may request academic accommodations in accordance with that process.

Academic accommodations may be provided in all academic arenas that contribute to students’ academic progress at the University including, but not limited to, classrooms and labs.  The University recognizes that Graduate Students serve in a variety of roles within the University, including as Students, Teaching Assistants, Instructors, Research Assistants, etc., and the University aims to assist and help students in each of these different capacities. 

 

I. REQUESTING ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS

The University of Notre Dame is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities.  Accordingly, the University complies with federal and state laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (the “ADA”), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the administration of its education-related programs and activities.

The University is required to provide reasonable accommodations for only the known limitations of otherwise qualified students with disabilities.  Thus, students with disabilities must register with the Sara Bea Student Accessibility Services Office (“Accessibility Services”) to qualify for reasonable academic accommodations.  Upon receipt of a request for an academic accommodation, Accessibility Services will communicate as needed with the affected student, and not with family members or other third parties, about the request.  Students with questions about this process should consult with the Sara Bea Accessibility Services staff.

Sara Bea Student Accessibility Services

Phone: 574-631-7157

Fax: 574-631-2133

Sarabea.nd.edu

  1. Self-identification.  Prior to any consideration of accommodations, a student must first register with Accessibility Services and provide appropriate documentation of the disability.
  2. Determination of Disability.  Sara Bea Accessibility Services staff (the “Sara Bea Staff”) reviews the documentation to determine if the student is a “qualified individual with a disability” under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Within ten (10) class days after providing appropriate and complete documentation of the disability, the student shall be notified in writing of the Sara Bea Staff’s determination, which is final.  As used throughout this process, “class days” refers to all class days (Monday-Friday) from the first class day to the last class day, as reflected on the Registrar’s calendar, and does not include reading days or final examination days.
  3. Initiation of Interactive Process / Intake Appointment.  If the Sara Bea Staff determines that a student is a qualified individual with a disability, the student must meet with a staff member to discuss and request the reasonable accommodation(s) that the student may need.  Because approved accommodations apply only to a student’s current courses or academic assignment, qualified students must request accommodations with Accessibility Services each semester.  The University will not grant accommodations to students retroactively (i.e., for any academic work prior to this intake appointment). 

Students may not request accommodations directly from individuals other than

the Sara Bea staff (such as an instructor, advisor, or Dean), and the University is not required to honor any accommodations that a student pursues without the approval of Accessibility Services if the Sara Bea staff later determines that the unauthorized accommodation would be unreasonable or inappropriate.

  1. Revising Accommodations.  A qualified student who finds that approved

accommodations do not adequately address all of the impacts of the student’s disability, or who encounters new or unanticipated challenges not addressed by the originally approved accommodations, should make an appointment with the Accessibility Services to explore whether additional or different accommodations may be needed.

  1. Confidentiality.  Accessibility Services will not share information about a student’s identity or disability with an instructor, advisor, Dean, or Director of Graduate Studies unless the student provides written consent.  Although students may not request accommodations directly from instructors, a student may voluntarily elect to discuss with the instructor the nature of the student’s disability, the particular limitations posed by the disability, supplemental accommodations or learning aids, or other related issues. 

 

 

  1. IMPLEMENTING ACCOMMODATIONS

The determination as to whether requested or necessary academic accommodations are reasonable generally results from an interactive process involving the student, Accessibility Services, the instructor, the academic advisor, the affected Dean(s) or program director, officials from Student Affairs and the Provost’s designee.  These officials are responsible for determining whether the requested accommodations are reasonable within the context of the student’s academic program.  Faculty shall not provide additional accommodations beyond those authorized by Accessibility Services.

 

A. Testing Accommodations

Testing accommodations are changes made in the administration of a test so as to remove barriers in the test-taking process that would otherwise prevent equal access to the evaluation process for a student with a disability.  Testing accommodations may include, but are not limited to, extended time or taking an exam in an alternate location, outside of the classroom.

 

1. Request Testing Accommodations in AccessND. Students approved for testing

    accommodations by Accessibility Services must follow a two step process to request

    and receive testing accommodations each semester. 

 

    Step 1) Students must select the courses for which they want to request testing

    accommodations by using the Semester Request form in AccessND.  Students are

    only able to select accommodations that have been approved by Accessibility

    Services.  The Semester Request form must be submitted ten (10) class days before

any quiz, test, or exam for which accommodations are being requested.  Once the Semester request has been submitted a Testing Accommodation Letter will be automatically sent to the instructor(s) and will include information related to the accommodations, but not the student's disability. Instructors will respond to the notification in AccessND by either signing the Testing Accommodation Letter or contacting Accessibility Services to discuss concerns regarding the requested accommodation.

 

    Step 2) If the instructor signs the Testing Accommodation Letter in AccessND,

    indicating their agreement that the testing accommodation is reasonable for the 

    course, the student will be notified. The student must then communicate with the

    instructor to determine if the accommodations will be provided by the professor or at

    the Sara Bea Testing Center.  If the student will be taking their tests at the Sara Bea

    Testing Center they must schedule the test in AccessND at least five (5) class days

    prior to the test. Exceptions to this deadline may be granted only by Accessibility  

    Services staff, and only under exceptional circumstances.

 

    2. Instructor’s Objection to Requested Testing Accommodations. If the instructor

    believes that one or more of the requested testing accommodations will fundamentally 

    alter the nature of the course, the instructor should discuss those concerns with the

    Sara Bea Staff. If the situation remains unresolved and the instructor wishes to deny

    the accommodation, the instructor must provide reasons for denying the request, in

    writing, to the instructor’s Dean (or Dean’s designee) within five (5) class days of the

    instructor’s receipt of the Testing Accommodation Letter notification in AccessND.

    Consistent with Paragraph II.A.1, so long as the student requests the Testing 

Accommodation in AccessND at least ten (10) class days prior to the date of the quiz, test, or exam for which the accommodation is being requested, then the student will receive the reasonable accommodations identified by the Sara Bea Staff prior to the determination by the Dean (or Dean’s designee).

 

                3. Dean’s Review of Requested Testing Accommodations. After reviewing the

     accommodation request and the instructor’s written reasons for denying the request, 

     the Dean (or Dean’s designee) must consult with the Sara Bea Staff and may also 

     consult with the instructor. If the Dean (or Dean’s designee) concludes that the

     student’s request is reasonable and will not fundamentally alter the nature of the

     course or program, the instructor must sign the Testing Accommodation Letter in

     AccessND. If the Dean agrees with the instructor, then the student and Accessibility

     Services office will be informed in writing that the request is being denied and of the

     reasons for the denial.

 

 

B.  Non-testing Accommodations - Auxiliary Aids & Services

“Auxiliary aids and services” may include, but are not limited to, note-takers, sign language interpreters, and the provision of assistive software (e.g., text-to-speech software), Braille or large print materials.  While the University regularly provides a wide variety of auxiliary aids and services to its qualified students with disabilities, it is not required to provide devices or services of a personal nature, such as personal attendants or readers for personal use.

  1. Determination of Necessary Aids and Services.  After meeting with qualified students and taking into account their needs and limitations, the Sara Bea Staff will determine each semester necessary auxiliary aids and services for qualified students on a case-by-case basis.  A final or interim decision concerning whether to grant the requested auxiliary aids or services will be rendered within ten (10) class days of the office’s receipt of the request for accommodation.
  2. Involvement of Instructor.  There may be occasions where the Sara Bea staff must consult a student’s instructor or academic advisor to determine whether certain requested auxiliary aids and services are reasonable in the context of the essential standards of a course, academic program or related activity.  In such cases, within ten (10) class days after the office’s receipt of the request for accommodation, staff will consult the student’s instructor concerning any auxiliary aids or services requested by the student. If the instructor wishes to deny the requested auxiliary aids or services, the instructor must provide the reasons for denying the request, in writing, to the instructor’s Dean (or Dean’s designee) within five (5) class days of the instructor’s receipt of notice of the need for accommodations.
  3. Final Determination Authority.  After reviewing the request for auxiliary aids and services and the instructor’s written reasons for denying the requests, the Dean (or Dean’s designee) must consult with the Sara Bea Staff and may also consult with the instructor. If the Dean (or Dean’s designee) concludes that the request is reasonable and will not fundamentally alter the nature of the course, then the Dean (or Dean’s designee) shall inform the student and Sara Bea Staff that the request is being approved.  If the Dean agrees with the instructor, then the student and Sara Bea Staff will be informed in writing that the request is being denied and of the reasons for the denial.

C.  Non-testing Accommodations - Academic Adjustments

“Academic Adjustments” are modifications to how students participate in courses or other academic endeavors. These modifications do not change academic standards; rather, they allow students to meet course or program requirements by giving qualified students equal access to the educational opportunities of the University.  Academic adjustments may include (but are not limited to) course substitutions or alternative means of completing assignments (e.g., oral presentation versus a written paper, or extending a deadline).  Academic adjustments for graduate students may include (but are not limited to) adjustments in research or lab requirements or alterations to roles as Teacher’s Assistants.  These adjustments to courses, programs, or educational requirements shall be provided as necessary and appropriate to enable a qualified student with a disability to enjoy equal opportunity and access. However, adjustments will not be granted where they fundamentally alter the essential nature of a course or academic program, or result in an undue financial or administrative burden.

  1. Requesting Academic Adjustments.  Reasonable or appropriate academic adjustments will be implemented only with the approval of the appropriate academic officials, including but not limited to, the student’s instructor or advisor and, in appropriate circumstances, the affected Dean(s) (or designee(s)); the student’s program director; and/or the Director of the Center for Student Support and Care.  Accordingly, after meeting with a qualified student and taking into account the student’s needs and limitations, Sara Bea Staff will consult within five (5) class days with the appropriate official(s) concerning any academic adjustments requested by the student. 
  2. Initial Evaluation of Requested Academic Adjustments.  If Sara Bea Staff and other appropriate officials each agree that a requested academic adjustment is reasonable in the context of the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the student will be informed that the requested adjustment is granted.  If Sara Bea staff or any of the other appropriate officials have concerns about whether the requested academic adjustment would fundamentally alter the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the student’s request for an adjustment shall be evaluated by a committee consisting of the Sara Bea Staff, the instructor, the affected Dean(s) (or designee(s)) and/or the student’s program director, and the Director of the Center for Student Support and Care.
  3. Final Evaluation of Requested Academic Adjustments.  The Sara Bea Staff shall convene this committee within ten (10) class days of the appropriate official’s receipt of the request from Accessibility Services for academic adjustment.  If a temporary resolution is needed prior to the committee’s evaluation of the request, the Provost’s designee will make an interim decision.  In any event, a final or interim decision must be rendered within ten (10) class days of the appropriate official’s receipt of the request for academic adjustment.  If the committee agrees that the requested academic adjustment is reasonable in the context of the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, the committee will inform the student that the requested adjustment is granted.  If a committee determines that the requested academic adjustment would fundamentally alter the essential standards of the student’s course, academic program or related activity, or would otherwise be inappropriate, the committee members shall then inform the student and Sara Bea Accessibility Services in writing of their final decision denying the request, and of the reasons for the denial.

III.       Grievance Process

  1. Right to Grieve.  A student who disagrees with Accessibility Services’ eligibility determination, the University’s final accommodation decision, or any other disability-related issues may file a grievance regarding those issues as outlined in the “Student Grievance Procedures Relating to Complaints Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973” found in du Lac.