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Guide to Working With Students

Faculty/Staff/Instructor Responsibilities

The University strongly encourages the use of syllabus statements, similar to the sample below. This will help make sure that students requesting accommodations for a disability do so early, go through the designated disability advisors, and prevent confusion for both the student and faculty instructors. If you have a syllabus statement, students will be aware of the requirement at the beginning of the semester.

A sample syllabus statement follows:

"Disability Support Services: If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please  follow the procedures listed on the University of Richmond Disability Services website [link] to begin the accommodations process as soon as possible. If you already have a University of Richmond Disability Accommodation Notice (DAN), please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, so that I am aware of your accommodations. No student will receive accommodations of any kind without a DAN."

Student Privacy

Faculty are requested to protect the privacy of students with disabilities. They should not disclose to other students that a particular student has a disability, or draw attention to that student for being "different." The student must provide the faculty/instructor with the University of Richmond Disability Accommodation Notice form (DAN form) before the faculty/instructor is required to meet their accommodation needs. The student is advised to schedule a meeting with the faculty/instruction on how to implement the accommodations.

Also, students are not required to disclose the specific nature of their disability to staff and faculty, and faculty and instructors should not ask. Faculty should not accept confidential medical or psychological reports. Students requesting accommodations will have already disclosed their conditions to the disability advisor, and do not need to further disclose to professors or instructors.

Faculty Concerns About Granted Accommodations

In the event that you do not believe that an accommodation approved by the disability advisor is not appropriate for your course, please use the following resolution process:

  • Contact the Disability Advisor to discuss your concerns regarding the accommodation. Please be prepared to provide specific examples (i.e. the accommodation lowers academic standards, adversely affects an essential element of the course or program, provides an unfair advantage, or causes other problems, etc.).
  • While the Disability Advisor assesses your reported concerns, you must still implement previously approved accommodations. or accommodations that have already been approved by the disability advisor, as long as it is actually possible to do so, put the recommended accommodation in place while you work with the disability advisor. This will avoid unnecessary delays in providing the accommodation if further review determines that it should be in place. 
  • Faculty members are strongly discouraged from volunteering accommodations to students who have not been approved through Disability Services. The University has a thorough process in place to vet students' requests for accommodations, including a grievance and appeals process that a student may initiate if their requested accommodations have been denied.
  • Although you are required to provide accommodations to students with a DAN, the student must still allow you adequate time to make arrangements for them.
  • If a student believes that he or she has been discriminated against, you should advise the student to seek an appeal through the University's grievance and appeal process.
Accessible Instructional Materials

The University seeks to ensure that postsecondary instructional materials are available in accessible alternative formats.

University of Richmond disability services is also working with Boatwright Library and the Campus Bookstore on providing alternative text book formats from faculty course listings. Please select your course readings early to allow time for students with disabilities to obtain accessible instructional materials. 

When to Contact the Disability Advisor

Faculty are encouraged to contact a Disability Advisor when you have questions regarding ways to implement particular accommodations. The disability advisors can help you figure out logistics of obtaining accommodations. Sometimes you as a faculty member may have a better idea for meeting a student’s need than implementing an accommodation in the usual way (for instance, professors who have their notes on a laptop may want to provide these electronically to students with disabilities rather than soliciting peer note-takers). The disability advisors encourage professors and instructors to call and suggest alternate ideas for meeting accommodation needs, as this is a way that good solutions can become available to all students with disabilities.

Determining Whether an Accommodation Is Reasonable

If you are concerned that an accommodation will place too much of a burden on you or other students, or if you are worried that it is somehow interfering with core course requirements, call the Disability Advisor who signed the DAN disability accommodation notice. The Disability Advisor will be able to work with you to identify an appropriate solution.

Federal law mandates that the University accommodate students with disabilities. Even if you think a student will not dispute your decision, you may not deny a student's request for any accommodation that is listed on their DAN, without the prior express approval of the Disability Advisor.

Referring a Student for Evaluation

If a student (non-disabled or disabled) asks you for help identifying the source of their problem being successful in your class, the Disability Advisor is often a logical place to start. Professors and instructors should be careful not to make judgments or offer advice that makes assumptions about whether a student has a particular diagnosis or disability.

For instance, if a student is concerned because they cannot finish tests within their time limits no matter how hard they study — do NOT tell the student to go to the Disability Advisor because they "might have a learning disorder." Instead, suggest in a neutral way that the University offers resources, including the Disability Advisor and other services at CAPS,  that can help students understand and address academic demands and struggles.

Distracted Reduced Environment for Testing

The student should take the initiative and approach you well in advance to make alternate exam arrangements. You will need to help the student figure out which of the threee available options is the most appropriate given the student's needs, and the format of your exam.

  1. You may schedule a room for testing somewhere close to the classroom or your office, and personally supervise the student.  
  2. If an alternate site is best, several small rooms are available for testing on the second floor of Boatwright Library. However, these rooms are not supervised by a proctor and must be reserved at least two weeks in advance. To reserve a room for that testing purpose contact Cassandra Taylor-Anderson.
  3. If neither of the above is suitable, minimal proctoring support can be provided through the office of the Vice President for Student Development. That testing location would be room 338 C, Tyler Haynes Commons, and use is limited to availability. Contact Julia Kelly, 289-8615, at least two weeks in advance of needed usage.
Resources and Services

The University of Richmond offers a variety of academic support resources for all students enrolled at the university. The academic support system for a student with a disability is the same as for all students on campus. Students with documented disabilities are especially encouraged to meet with the designated Disability Advisor to discuss how to access the array of services available.

Academic Support Services