Academic Support Information for Faculty
The Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) was created to coordinate academic support services for Liberty University students who have documented disabilities. ODAS works to ensure that students with disabilities receive equal access to curricular opportunities in the academic community, in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Additionally, pursuant to this Act, Liberty University is committed to ensuring, Liberty University is committed to ensuring that all qualified students with disabilities have the opportunity to pursue a postsecondary education without barriers to instruction. The university has given ODAS authority to interpret disability documentation, determine the existence of a disability, and determine appropriate accommodations in this university setting. Academic accommodations, as determined by ODAS, serve to provide equal access and “level the playing field” between students with disabilities and students who do not have a documented disability.
If a faculty member disagrees with a specific accommodation or believes the accommodation will fundamentally alter the essential components of the course, the faculty member should contact ODAS to discuss the nature of the accommodation’s impact on the course.
A faculty member will only know if a student is registered with ODAS is the student requests academic accommodations each semester. Not all students registered with ODAS will use academic accommodations. Faculty members will not be informed by ODAS of a student’s specific disability.
Accommodations should only be provided after receiving an official accommodation memo from ODAS. We discourage providing accommodations in the absence of an official accommodation memo. If a student does not have an accommodation letter, please refer the student to ODAS.
A student should only provide disability documentation to ODAS and to no other office or faculty member due to confidentiality laws. Liberty University has given authority to ODAS to interpret disability documentation, determine the existence of a disability, and determine appropriate accommodations in this university setting.
ODAS will send a new accommodation memo each semester based on current disability documentation and the student’s current accommodation needs.
Confidentiality of a student’s specific disability diagnosis and the details of the disability are very important. The student cannot be required to provide these details, although a student may feel comfortable discussing his or her disability as related to the classroom accommodations. The university grants authority to ODAS to receive and interpret disability documentation, determine the existence of a disability, and determine appropriate accommodations.
The university has granted ODAS the authority to interpret disability documentation and determine appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities.
When a student identifies himself or herself as having a disability, the faculty member should refer the student directly to ODAS to make an appointment to discuss the academic accommodation process. Due to confidentiality laws, the faculty member should not accept or read the student’s documentation, even if offered.
A student can notify a faculty member of the need for accommodations by having ODAS send a memo at any time during the semester. Accommodations should then be provided from that point forward in the semester. Accommodations are not expected to be applied retroactively. Reasonable notice should be provided to the professor by the student for accommodations such as test accommodations.
Faculty’s responsibility is to provide the accommodations beginning when they are requested by the student. It is the student’s choice as to which accommodations to use in each of his or her classes. The student has been advised by ODAS that accommodations do not have to be provided retroactively. So, if a student chooses to take a test without extended time and does poorly on the test, the professor does not have to allow the student to retake that test using extended time. The student should notify the professor in advance that he or she will be using extended time on the next test.
For all disability testing accommodation requests (i.e. quieter environment, extended time, oral testing) the Testing Center is the officially designated place for all tests administered outside of the regular classroom. A professor has the right to administer the test at another location, but has an obligation to ensure that the testing accommodations are upheld.
Determining How Many Absences
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provided the following guidelines to be used in considering whether attendance is an essential element of a course:
- Is there classroom interaction between instructor and student and among students?
- Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process?
- Does the fundamental nature of the course rely o the student participation as an essential method for learning?
- To what degree does a student’s failure to attend constitute a significant loss to the educational experience of other students in the class?
- What do the course description and syllabus say?
- Which method is used to calculate the final grade?
- What are the classroom practices and policies regarding attendance?
The accommodations should be provided unless the accommodation threatens the integrity of the course offered. It tis important that the student and the course instructor discuss the issue so that the student can then make an informed decision regarding alternatives
Classrooms, Assignments, and Grading
The same assignment deadlines, grading criteria, or any deadline extensions should be applied to all students within your class. Academic accommodations, such as determined by the ODAS are put in place to remove the barriers to learning and demonstrating knowledge between students with disabilities and students without disabilities. However, on a case-by-case basis, a situation may arise where ODAS grants a student the accommodation of extended deadlines on assignments. If that accommodation is listed on the official ODAS accommodation memo and you have any questions or concerns, please contact ODAS to discuss these concerns.
If a student discloses a disability after failing an exam or assignment the faculty member should refer the student directly to ODAS to make an appointment to discuss the academic accommodation process.
The student with a disability should be held to the same conduct standards as any other student within your class. If you feel the disruption is a direct result of the specific disability or have questions, please contact ODAS to discuss your concerns.