This page is to provide information to faculty regarding working with students with disabilities. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out using the methods listed to the right. Also, make sure to check out the DASS Faculty Handbook, linked to the left.
It is important that faculty include in each syllabus a statement asking students to inform them of any special needs to ensure that those needs are met in a timely manner. A further recommendation is that the statement be read aloud by the faculty member during the first week of class. This approach demonstrates to students that you are someone who is sensitive to and concerned about meeting the needs of ALL students you teach. Furthermore, it affords students the opportunity to make their accommodation needs known to you early in the semester. The following the approved statement that can be included in your syllabus:
The University of Michigan–Flint strives to make learning experiences as accessible as possible and complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act. The university provides individuals with disabilities reasonable accommodations to participate in educational programs, activities, and services. Students with disabilities requiring accommodations to participate in class activities or meet course requirements must self-identify with Disability and Accessibility Support Services as early as possible at (810) 762-3456 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is located in 264 University Center, inside the CAPS Office. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined you will be issued an Accommodation Letter. Please present this letter to each faculty member in each class at the beginning of the term, or at least two weeks prior to the need for the accommodation (test, project, etc.).
Electronic Document Accessibility
Accessibility means making your site available to the widest possible audience. It is helpful to think of accessibility in terms of inclusive design. The British Standards Institute (2005) defines inclusive design as: “The design of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible … without the need for special adaptation or specialized design.”
Both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 prohibit colleges and universities from discriminating against students, faculty, and staff with disabilities. Case law is putting the spotlight on our University’s websites and videos. More importantly, web accessibility is the right thing to do: people with disabilities are attempting to read your content. They have a right to participate fully in our online community.
To comply with accessibility, all electronic documents, including (but not limited to) web pages, PDF files, and Microsoft Office files, should be designed using the World Wide Web Consortium’s W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, level AA. Guidance on how to comply with this standard, commonly known as WCAG 2.0, can be found at the University of Michigan Web Accessibility website.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) provides a concise definition of Universal Design (UD):
‘‘(24) UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING.—The term ‘universal design for learning’ means a scientifically valid framework for guiding educational practice that—
‘‘(A) provides flexibility in the ways information is presented, in the ways students respond or demonstrate knowledge and skills, and in the ways students are engaged; and
‘‘(B) reduces barriers in instruction, provides appropriate accommodations, supports, and challenges, and maintains high achievement expectations for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are limited English proficient.’’.
HIGHER EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY ACT
122 STAT. 3088 PUBLIC LAW 110–315—AUG. 14, 2008
DASS supports and promotes the use of UD in all programs, buildings, services, and activities. When principles of UD are incorporated, the need to provide accommodations to students is reduced. For more information on how to apply UD in higher education, please see this article