Faculty FAQs on Academic and Non-Academic Topics

Accessibility and Disability Resources (ADR) determines and coordinates accommodations for students, staff, faculty and guests with the goal of providing equal access to academics, campus programs and resources.  In academics, ADR staff work closely with faculty to provide the information and resources to allow students with documented disabilities to be integrated into the classroom and to demonstrate what they have learned.  The following selected items will provide faculty with some of the resources and suggestions beneficial in assisting students with disabilities to fully take advantage of all the campus has to offer.

How will faculty know about students with documented health, mental health and disability accommodation needs in the classroom?

ADR staff will notify faculty by email regarding students who have documented health, mental health, disability documentation on file if they have been individually assessed and approved for accommodations and have requested that letters go to faculty.Usually these letters do not include the specific disability but do include a verification the documentation is on file and what accommodations are needed and how they will be provided. Faculty should feel free to ask students who approach them for accommodations whether or not they have made a request through ADR.The ADR staff are located on the 3rd floor of the Clapp library in the PLTC area and can be reached at 781-283-1300 and accessibility@Wellesley.edu.

How are testing accommodations provided?

Faculty are expected to provide extended time testing accommodations that have been approved by ADR during the semester. You would be told how much extended time is reasonable and be expected to find a location for the student to take the exam outside of the classroom and usually a departmental conference room or office. Faculty also may look on 25 Live to schedule a room if one is not available. ADR staff will assist in more complicated semester exams such as those that need adaptive technology unavailable to the faculty member or a live reader or scribe. During finals, ADR staff run a separate testing site for those with self scheduled finals. Faculty are expected to provide accommodations for scheduled finals.

How are notetaking accommodations provided?

ADR staff will ask faculty for recommendations and to make announcements when a notetaker is needed for a student. It is, of course, important to keep the student who needs an accommodation confidential. You would ask a student that was interested in a notetaker to contact ADR staff as indicated in the accommodation letter. If you are interested in exploring universal teaching design, please ask ADR staff how the notetaker may be able to share the notes with the entire class.

What do faculty need to do if a student is approved for recording a class using a computer, smart pen, or other device?

Some students who are unable to take notes or have difficulty doing so may have as an accommodation the ability to record lectures. Students and faculty need to sign an agreement that the recordings will be used for academic purposes only and not shared for other purposes. The faculty member will be asked to make an announcement in class before any recording has started asking that the other students notify the faculty member if there are any concerns that need to be addressed. In Massachusetts, it is illegal to record someone without their knowledge and consent. Any unresolved concerns should be reported to ADR staff.

How do faculty approach ADR notifications regarding excused absences and extended time to complete assignments?

Students who are approved for this type of accommodation usually have some sort of potential for a physical or mental health flareup that may or may not be predictable. Letters that come from ADR staff will indicate/verify that this has been documented. ADR staff in the end need to determine what is reasonable but we would encourage you to have an initial discussion with the student and go over any standard policy contained hopefully within your syllabus and if not we would encourage you to develop statements. The student may be requesting an accommodation to the policy which ADR staff are available to explore with you and do an individualized assessment of what may be reasonable especially if there is a disconnect between the student's expectations and yours in terms of essential aspects of the class.

Should faculty members expect to be notified if a service animal is needed in the class? What is the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal (ESA)?

When a service animal is known to be attending a class with the student, ADR staff will recommend that the student share this with the faculty member or have ADR staff do so so that there are no surprises. There are very few documented service animals, which by definition are dogs that provide a particular service to an individual with a disability, on campus. Emotional support animals on campus are more numerous and are restricted to the residence halls and outdoor areas and can be a variety of animals and reptiles. For these to be in your classroom, the student would need an accommodation to the policy and you would need to be notified. This is rare.

What do faculty do about video and film captioning?

The best approach is to choose a film that is captioned. It is better to plan ahead that someone who is deaf, hard of hearing, or may have a learning disability may be in your class and need captioned films. The college has also used services like rev.com to caption video. There are also several widely-available tools that enable you to caption short, previously recorded video. Please consult with ADR staff if you need help.

What should faculty have on a Syllabus?

Understanding and communicating the accommodation request process is vital to providing appropriate auxiliary aids and services to students with disabilities.  ADR is the place where students should bring their documentation of disability, submit requests for accommodations, have those discussed and reviewed, and have a determination of what is a reasonable accommodation.  ADR, at the student's request, would then notify faculty. In the cases where the accommodations and classroom environment are not clear, ADR staff will consult with faculty to discuss the essential elements of the course and explore what accommodations are possible.  The essential content and elements of the course are not required to be changed.

So that students know this process, ADR recommends that all faculty include a statement in their syllabus such as the one that follows:

Students needing disability accommodations should go online to either start registration with Accessibility and Disability Resources or to proceed with already approved accommodations https://shasta.accessiblelearning.com/wellesley/. If you prefer having a conversation first, contact accessibility@Wellesley.edu, call 781-283-1300, or stop by the 3rd floor the Clapp Library in front of the PLTC. ADR staff will notify me of what accommodations are appropriate.  You may still talk with me about your needs but accommodation requests need to start in ADR.

Feel free to modify this statement as you see fit.

What is the Event Notice Policy?

Faculty may be involved in sponsoring guest lecturers or events on or off campus.  Student Government created a poster policy for students that includes a requirement for a statement about where to request disability accommodations.  Many academic and nonacademic departments have adopted this policy as well. Below is a sample though students have abbreviated this in many ways.It may be preferable to have your own contact as the initial contact for accommodation and other questions but feel welcome to still use this will be aware we are advocating for being a secondary source of information available to the event provider.

For disability accommodations contact ADR, 781-283-1300, accessibility@Wellesley.edu.

What is the Electronic Posting Policy?

In addition to the event notice policy, Student Government created an electronic posting policy for email advertising of events.  Many academic and nonacademic departments have also adopted this policy . If you plan on using an image such as a jpg, tiff, or some other picture file, also have the same information in text below the file so that someone who is blind or has certain learning disabilities and is using a screen reader can access the information as well.


What if Faculty need accommodations?

Faculty with health or disability needs may also be eligible for ADR assistance.  These may be temporary or permanent disabilities. Some commonly requested faculty accommodations include access/disability parking, classroom space and equipment modifications, and adaptive software.  All inquiries are welcome and confidential.