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SAS Faculty Handbook
Table of Contents:
Section 1: Disability-Related Legislation and Faculty Impact
Section 2: Student, SAS and Faculty Responsibilities
Section 3: The Five Main Services Areas
Section 4: SAS Exam Policies
Section 5: FAQ’s
The mission of the Student Accessibility Services (SAS) office is to ensure access to a post-secondary education to qualified students with disabilities at Kent State University (KSU). Furthermore, the office provides assistance to students with varying degrees and types of disabilities in order to maximize educational opportunity and academic potential. The office seeks to ensure that students with disabilities receive support services and accommodations in order to give them equal access to KSU programs and events. Students seeking services must provide documentation of his or her specific disability. Although a student may be eligible for services, specific accommodations are not extended by SAS unless requested.
With the passage of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, more and more people with disabilities have the opportunity to reach their educational and career goals. These federal laws require that institutions, such as Kent State University, not discriminate against persons with disabilities in their services or programs, or through employment. Non-discrimination mandates in employment also exist for state and local government entities (ADA Title II) and private businesses (ADA Title III). These protections under federal law provide a clear incentive for persons with disabilities to pursue a college education. It is important to remember that accommodations are provided for the purpose of equalizing opportunity, and not to give the student with a disability an advantage over other students.
Many faculty at KSU have had students with disabilities in their classrooms. We want to emphasize that KSU has a very good track record in providing reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities, and you, as faculty members, are to be commended. We hope that this handbook will give you some general guidelines for working with any student who learns differently or requires some kind of accommodation in order to achieve his or her potential.
Section 1: Disability-Related Legislation
The following are federal and state laws, which require that institutions, like Kent State University, not discriminate against persons with disabilities in either the delivery of services or programs, or in employment. These laws are designed to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to succeed—not an advantage over students without disabilities.
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides that, “No qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity.” This is federal civil rights legislation. The major impact on faculty and staff is that if accommodations determined appropriate to prevent discrimination based on disability are not implemented, students have recourse through federal agencies as well as the court system.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides that “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706 (20) of this title, shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits or, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Again this is federal civil rights legislation. The Rehabilitation Act impacts recipients of federal funds. In addition to the impact described above for the ADA, institutions risk loss of federal funds.
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provides for “…the privacy of student education records…Generally, schools must have written permission from the…eligible student in order to release any information from a student's education record.” Faculty need to be aware that unless there is a demonstrated need to know disability information they should not share information about the disability with others. In seeking advice from a department chair or others within the academic department on implementation of accommodations, it may be necessary to disclose information specific to a student with a disability. In general it is best to seek advice from within the academic department without sharing names.
Section 2: Student, SAS and Faculty Responsibilities
The Team: Student, SAS, and Faculty
It is best to approach the issues of accommodating students with disabilities as a team. You, the students, and SAS all have the same goal—to enable students to participate and compete equally in the classroom. Each of us has areas of expertise to contribute. We want to assist and support you and our students who have disabilities.
If you have experienced success in working with students who have disabilities, please consider acting as a mentor for other faculty in your department. We will assist you in this in any way we can. The more people we have to help disseminate techniques, approaches, and success stories, the better for all students with disabilities. If you have an interest in sharing your experience with others by giving a short presentation in our faculty training sessions, please contact SAS.
Students with disabilities are not required by law to identify themselves to Kent State University and SAS, or to provide documentation of a disability. However, if a student desires accommodations (particularly such things as extended time on exams), the student is obligated to complete the necessary registration process through SAS. It is reasonable for you to expect the student who states he or she has a disability either to have already gone to SAS, or to go to SAS at your suggestion, before accommodations are provided. The exception is when a disability and the need for a specific accommodation are very obvious based on your observations.
The student is responsible for notifying you of his or her accommodation needs. Since course requirements, lecture styles, and exams will vary, the student will likely be engaged in finding out what your course requires, what activities are planned, and any other information that may be relevant. This is not necessarily resolved in the first class, or in one conversation. A student's needs may vary over time, the student may be learning what his or her needs are through a process of trial and error, or the nature of the assignments/exams may require that adjustments be made throughout the semester. We encourage students to continue communicating with their professors throughout the semester to give and receive feedback.
Student Accessibility Services staff gladly serve as resources to you as faculty, as well as to students. If you have any concerns that cannot be resolved through discussion with the student please contact us. We are available for consultation, or to meet with you and the student, to come up with satisfactory options. Sometimes finding solutions involves talking through the difficulties and possibly generating some creative solutions not yet tried. SAS assists students in facilitating accommodations if they do not feel they have been successful themselves. Sometimes, if a student is new and unsure of how to express his or her needs, we will make an initial appointment with you and the student to discuss accommodations. If you would like more information about disability issues, we can either provide it or guide you to some resources.
In regard to some specific services and/or accommodations we provide, SAS hires and schedules interpreters and transcribers for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. We are also responsible for providing textbooks and other course materials in alternate formats, for example, Braille or digital format for students who have impaired vision or learning disabilities. SAS also can provide individuals to assist students, particularly those with mobility impairments, in labs and classes. We are also available to assist students with issues relative to course registration, counseling, and other support services. We periodically conduct campus-wide faculty and staff training. If you have any special requests or an immediate need for training or consultation in your department, don't hesitate to call us to discuss arrangements.
As an advisor to students in your department, you may have had questions or concerns about whether accommodating students in class might make them less competitive in the job market. The Americans with Disabilities Act does provide for reasonable accommodations in private and public employment. Often, however, the kinds of accommodations required in the academic environment, such as testing modifications, are not necessary in employment since testing is not a common aspect of most jobs. Assume that your students with disabilities are here to prepare for a career.
Please contact the office of Student Accessibility Services if you want to discuss specific issues, or if you want to set up a meeting to discuss students' career options. We may want to invite a career planning specialist and/or rehabilitation professional to meet with you, the student, and SAS staff.
Faculty, as members of the university, are required by federal law to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities. "Reasonable" may seem like a fairly vague term, and if you are unsure whether something a student is requesting is reasonable, please contact SAS for consultation. Anything that is requested through an SAS accommodation letter/e-mail indicates that we have reviewed the student's documentation and consider these accommodations reasonable.
SAS strongly recommends that all faculty members place the approved disability accommodation statement on each syllabus.
University policy 3342-3-01.3 requires that students with disabilities be provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through Student Accessibility Services (contact 330-672-3391 or visit www.kent.edu/sas for more information on registration procedures).
It will also help if you make a brief announcement or read this statement out loud the first day of class. This will show students who may be apprehensive about needing classroom accommodations that you are approachable and aware of the various student needs in your classroom.
While it is typically both policy and practice for students to receive accommodations through the registration and approval process at SAS, some students may approach you directly and request certain accommodations. They may give you copies of their documentation, or just ask you for accommodations and not provide you with any documentation. We would strongly suggest that you send those students to SAS. It helps the institution in meeting its legal obligations if our approach is consistent; and when one instructor provides an accommodation that another instructor does not, it often sets the student up for unattainable expectations.
This exception to this, however, is when you can clearly see that a student needs an accommodation even in the absence of a SAS letter or a request from the student. For example, if a student clearly takes longer to write because of a visible physical disability, it might be helpful to approach the student before the day of the exam and ask if he or she will need extra time, and then make those exam arrangements if necessary. If a student is clearly blind but doesn’t ask for exams in a format other than print, consider asking the student ahead of time whether he or she needs a Braille copy of the exam and a way to record the answers, or if an oral exam might be appropriate. Again, we ask you to refer these students to SAS, but when the disability and need for a specific accommodation is very obvious, don’t withhold the accommodation in the meantime.
Section 3: Five Main Service Areas
1. Exam Accommodations
The SAS office works with students and instructors to provide an alternative testing environment that ensures the integrity of the classroom testing environment as closely as possible. All students who wish to take his or her exams at the SAS office are instructed to notify their instructor. For further information regarding exam policies, please see Section 4: SAS Exam Policies.
Exam may accommodations include, but are not limited to:
- Extended time; generally, 50% more time for multiple choice exams/quizzes and 100% more time for exams involving math or essay
- Distraction reduced testing environment
- A reader or scribe assistance
- Use of a CCTV to enlarge text
- Computer with spell check capabilities
- Enlarged print
2. Alternative Media
SAS converts textbooks, exams and other print material into a more accessible format for those students who are eligible for alternative media. Faculty are responsible for identifying the text book and other print materials that will be used throughout the course and contacting the SAS office to allow for those materials to be converted into more accessible formats. This process is labor intensive and can take up to four weeks to obtain copy rights from publishers, so it is critical that textbook identification is done as soon as possible.
Alternative media formats include:
- Electronic text
- Enlarged print
- Tactile images
3. Sign Language Interpreting
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing may require the use of an American Sign Language interpreter. SAS employs certified interpreters for student’s academic needs (i.e. classes and related functions). In order to ensure access to all of your course materials, audio/visual media including but not limited to all DVD/VHS, narrated Power Points and YouTube.com clips, used in the classroom or provided through web-based courses, should be accompanied with Closed Captions. If you have any questions, concerns or need further assistance with closed captioned media please email Mollie Miller, Assistive Technology Coordinator with Student Accessibility Services, at email@example.com.
4. Transcribing/Captioning Services
Another service available to students who are deaf or hard of hearing in transcription services in which a class lecture, etc. is typed by a transcriptionist and that transcribed text is electronically sent to the student's notebook computer in real-time. The student is then able to read the transcript from the notebook computer allowing for immediate communication access. Two of the more common systems that are used for this service are TypeWell and CART (Communication Access Real-time Translation). Each has its own method of transcription through either a notebook computer or a stenotype. Please repeat any questions or comments made by students in your class so that the transcriber can also capture class discussion. It is helpful to the transcribing provider for you to face your students, as much as possible, when speaking. In order to ensure access to all of your course materials, audio/visual media including but not limited to all DVD/VHS, narrated Power Points and YouTube.com clips, used in the classroom or provided through web-based courses, should be accompanied with Closed Captions. If you have any questions, concerns or need further assistance with closed captioned media please email Mollie Miller, Assistive Technology Coordinator with Student Accessibility Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note-taking services may be available for students with significant physical, sensory, or processing deficits. Students are expected to contact SAS regarding his or her need for note-taking assistance. SAS will then notify you through your KSU email requesting your assistance in recruiting a note taker from your class.
Section 4: SAS Exam/Quiz Policies
Exam Accommodation Arrangements for Faculty:
A student may choose to take his or her exam in the classroom with accommodations (i.e. extended time, reduced distraction environment, etc), and if you are able we ask that you make the necessary arrangements in order to accommodate the students. For example, you may need to find a reduced distraction environment (i.e. your office, an empty classroom, etc.) for a student or you may need to make scheduling arrangements in order to provide extended test time. In some cases, you may need to discuss taking the exam at a more convenient time in which you, as the professor, are available to answer any questions the student may have during the exam. If you are not able to provide the testing accommodations the student is eligible for, you may refer the student to our office for those accommodations, or you may consult with our office in regarding other possible solutions. The office of Student Accessibility Services is available to help with more difficult accommodations, i.e. Brailed materials, adaptive technology, etc.
Exam Accommodation Arrangements for Students:
Students who choose to take his or her exam in the SAS office are required to schedule their exams a minimum of 4 days in advance. This allows the SAS staff to prepare any necessary accommodations (i.e. Brailed material, room placement, etc). Students are also advised to notify you know in advance if they wish to take their exam at the SAS Office. If a student chooses to take his or her exam in the SAS office you are responsible for sending a copy of the exam, including all instructions, to our office.
This can be done one of three ways:
1. Electronic Format – email your exam to SAS’s secure email address at email@example.com. Electronic format is the preferred method of delivery due to the clarity of text and ease of providing necessary accommodations (i.e. enlarged exams, Brailed materials, etc.)
2. Fax – send exam through departmental fax to 330-672-3763
3. Deliver Exam – deliver exam directly to the SAS office located on the lower level of the DeWeese Center, room 23
* NOTE: The SAS office assumes responsibility for the security of the exam once it is received. To ensure the security of exams, the SAS office advises that the tests NOT be sent through campus mail.
Essential Information to Include when Sending Exams to SAS:
• Your name
• Student’s name
• Course name
• Academic Department
• Any special instructions for the student (i.e., use of a calculator, open book/notes, etc.).
• Date and time the class will take the exam
• Whether you prefer the exam delivered back to your department, or if you will pick the exam up at the SAS office
Cheating and Plagiarism:
• Any incidents of improper test taking, as defined by the University’s Policy on Student Cheating and Plagiarism, will be handled as if they occurred in the classroom.
• If cheating is evident, the SAS proctor will stop the exam immediately, and the exam will be returned to you with a written explanation of what occurred.
• It is expected that you hold the student accountable for his or her inappropriate action as you would for any other student.
Section 5: FAQ's
Am I obligated to comply with a student’s request for accommodations?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, its amendments (2008), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, you are required to provide requested reasonable accommodations if the student has a documented disability. Most students with a disability are registered with the office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS). However, there will be students who will ask for accommodations who are not registered with the office of SAS. If their disability is clearly visible and the accommodation request is reasonable, providing the accommodation is appropriate. We ask that you encourage students to register with our office so that we can provide a more consistent institutional response to student requests, and so the student can take advantage of other campus services.
When do I refer a student to the office of Student Accessibility Services (SAS)?
In general, if a student discusses a disability and its impact academically, and if the student has not already registered with SAS, refer him or her to us. If, for example, a student requests accommodations but does not provide you with a letter from our office and the disability is not clearly visible, you should refer him or her to our office to apply for services. You might let the student know that it is important for our office to have supporting documentation of the disability so that we can determine and provide appropriate services. Another example might be a student that tells you that he or she thinks he or she has a learning disability but is not asking you to do anything. Let the student know about our office and explain that our office can refer students for appropriate diagnostic testing.
Is it fair to other students to provide accommodations to those students with disabilities?
It would be unfair and discriminatory not to provide the accommodations, as the individual with the disability learns or performs in a different manner than the student without a disability. It is our goal as an institution to level the playing field for students with disabilities.
What is meant by “extended time on exams/quizzes”?
Generally, extended time on exams/quizzes is either time and a half for multiple-choice exams/quizzes or double time for math, short answer or essay exams/quizzes. For example, if a student is taking a multiple-choice exam (time and a half) and the class period is 50 minutes, the extended time would be an hour and 15 minutes. If a student is taking a math exam (double time) and the class period is 50 minutes, the extended time would be an hour and 40 minutes.
How can I be sure that students who tape-record my lectures are using them strictly for academic purposes?
Students are made aware, via SAS' Student Handbook, that tape-recorded lectures are strictly used for their (students') academic purposes. If, however, you would like to further ensure that they abide by these expectations, you are welcome to use the SAS Tape Recording Agreement. For further information on the SAS Tape Recording Agreement, please contact an Accessibility Specialist in SAS.