Faculty Responsibilities for Providing Accommodations

Faculty members have responsibilities for providing accommodations in each of their different roles.

As instructors, faculty share responsibility for providing students with disabilities equal access to educational opportunities. Faculty who receive requests directly from students for accommodations for disabilities should refer the student to the Student Disability Center (SDC). Faculty should avoid asking the student directly for medical documentation. The SDC reviews students’ medical documentation of functional limitations and issues letters of accommodation to the instructor and the student detailing the specific accommodations to be provided. Contact the Student Disability Center for more information.

As employers, faculty who hire staff or students must ensure the hiring process is non-discriminatory and that they provide reasonable accommodations to those they hire and/or supervise. Contact Disability Management Services for more information.

As providers of public services and programs, such as organizing conferences, lecture series, performances, or other events, faculty are responsible for providing reasonable accommodation to any participant with a disability, including visitors and community members.  Events open to the public must be held in accessible locations, and publicity must include notice about how to request accommodations for disabilities, such as sign language interpreters.  See Making Your Event Accessible for more information.

As web developers, faculty must ensure their sites make web content accessible. See the University of California Resources for Designing Accessible Websites for more information.

Working with Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities may need academic accommodations to access course content or materials. Students who need accommodations must first register with the Student Disability Center (SDC) and provide medical certification regarding their functional limitations and need for accommodation. The SDC serves students with a wide variety of disabilities, including many disabilities that are “hidden” (e.g., not outwardly apparent), such as learning, psychological, or hearing disabilities.  To learn more about disabilities and the accommodations process, please see the SDC web page.

If a student has registered with the SDC and requested accommodation for a particular course, the SDC will provide the student with a Letter of Accommodation to present to instructors. This letter will be emailed to the student and to the faculty member of record for the course. The letter will identify the specific accommodation(s) to be provided. Common accommodations include sign language interpreters, extra time on exams, note takers and the provision of course materials in different formats, such as larger fonts or audio recordings.  Students who request accommodation directly from instructors without providing SDC verification should be referred to the SDC.  Instructors should not provide accommodations before receiving a Letter of Accommodation from the SDC.

Students with disabilities should be held to the same performance standards as other students.  If the instructor believes that the accommodations approved by the SDC will fundamentally alter the objectives of the course or program in which the student is enrolled, he or she should consult with either the SDC Disability Specialist who authored the accommodation letter or the SDC Director.  If the consultation does not resolve the concerns, There is a process wherein the instructor may file an appeal. While the instructor's appeal is in progress, any accommodation that has been approved by the SDC must be provided.

Important points to remember:

  • The student’s disability and affiliation with the SDC is confidential: please protect the student’s privacy and avoid making announcements in class that would identify individual students with disabilities (e.g., “those needing extra time on exams meet with me after class at the front of the room”).
  • Instructors have responsibility for making their courses accessible and providing accommodations approved by the SDC.  If the instructor has questions about or needs assistance with accessibility/accommodations, the instructor should contact the SDC.
  • It is recommended the following statement be included in your course syllabus, and that you make this announcement at the first class:

"Any student who feels he or she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss his or her specific needs.  In addition, the student should contact the Student Disability Center (SDC) at (530) 752-3184, sdc@ucdavis.edu as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations can be implemented in a timely fashion.  All accommodations must have prior approval from the SDC on the basis of medical or other appropriate documentation.”

  • Clearly communicate any accommodation needs and procedures to T.A.’s who are teaching sections for your class.
  • The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE) assists faculty by providing information about teaching and learning skills and about universal design for learning standards.