It is the beginning of the semester, and one of my students has handed me “The Letter.” What is this?
A “Letter” or “Accommodation Memo” is an official document used to facilitate communication between Accessibility Resource Center (ARC), students, and faculty. Specifically, a student enrolled with ARC will hand each of his/her professors a Letter or Memo that officially indicates that a student is registered with ARC and delineates the legally required classroom accommodations in detail. The Letter/Memo is intended to initiate conversation between the professor and student; therefore, ARC encourages each student to self-advocate via open communication with their professors. The accommodations will not begin until the student has a discussion with their professors about their letters, and acknowledgement of that conversation is received by ARC.
Given the current health and safety restrictions related to COVID19, a signed memo may not be easy or reasonable to get to ARC. An email from the professor confirming that the memo has been discussed and the logistics are settled, can be sent to email@example.com, attaching the memo, with a CC to student. Any alternative that clearly connects the professor’s and student’s agreement to the contents of the memo and that logistics have been discussed is acceptable.
As a faculty member, we suggest that you use the Letter/Memo as an informative outline for necessary accommodations in order to allow the student equal access in the academic environment. The Letter/Memo is intended to promote an open dialogue between you and the student. If you have any questions regarding the accommodations outlined in the Letter, please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are glad to be a resource for you and your student to facilitate a resolution to questions and concerns.
A student is requesting an accommodation that I believe is not feasible in the course I am instructing. Am I allowed to refuse such a request?
If ARC has determined that a student is entitled to specific accommodations according to the evidence of documentation of the disability (or disabilities), the law holds you responsible as a faculty member to adhere to those modifications.
Instead of directly denying the accommodation, we suggest that faculty members contact ARC at email@example.com so that a solution may be mediated and resolved between the student, faculty member, and ARC coordinator.
If you feel that the requested accommodation is either: unreasonable, ineffective, fundamentally alters the course curriculum, or causes an undue hardship on the faculty/classmates, please confer with the ARC coordinator.
How do I provide testing accommodations that do not fit into the usual testing environment?
Students may receive a variety of accommodations for testing, such as extra time or a reduced distraction environment. Sometimes it is not possible for the student to take the exam with the rest of the class and still have their accommodations provided. Some alternatives to consider:
- Allow the student to begin the test earlier than the rest of the class, or stay later to complete it.
- Arrange for the student to take the test in your departmental office. A member of the office staff can serve as a proctor.
- Permit the student to take the exam in the instructor’s office, if time and space are available.
To maintain academic integrity, ARC does not advocate that any student take a test “alone” or “in a private room”. There should always be someone else present throughout the testing process to serve as a proctor.
During the current COVID19 restrictions, ARC will be offering limited proctoring via ZOOM. Please contact ARC at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this option.
Can ARC staff proctor the exam for me?
During this time of COVID19 restrictions, ARC is offering limited proctoring via ZOOM; please contact us at email@example.com to explore this option.
Under more normal circumstances, ARC is happy to assist with proctoring exams, with the understanding that we have limited staff, office hours and space available. Please keep the following in mind for tests that you would like us to proctor:
- Exams can be proctored during the semester from 9 am to 4 pm. During finals, proctoring is offered from 8:30 am to 4 pm.
- Exam times must be circumscribed. If an instructor wishes to give a student an “untimed” test, we cannot proctor it, as that is impossible to schedule.
- We may have to shift the exam to a day or time other than when it is administered to the remainder of the class, especially during busy times, such as midterms and finals.
- ARC can only provide proctoring for reasons directly related to the student’s disability. If the student wants to move an exam to go on vacation, an interview, family reunion, social event, etc., ARC will not be able to proctor that exam.
- To request proctoring through ARC, please let us know at least a week in advance. This allows us to set aside staff time. Provide this completed form at least three business days before the exam is to be given to the student, and provide the exam itself to us at least one business day before it is scheduled to be administered.
- Final exams are a very busy time for us, due to the large number of students taking exams on limited days and the length of the exams themselves. We need additional lead time to locate and reserve appropriate space to administer finals. Please let us know by the deadline indicated on the student’s accommodation memo (usually a month before the first day of finals) if you would like us to proctor a final exam for any of your students.
I have a student in my class who I believe would benefit from support services; however, they are not enrolled in your office. What is the best manner to refer this student?
It is encouraged that the faculty member speak to the student in private to discuss a referral to ARC. Registering (affiliating) with ARC is voluntary on the part of the student.
Before a student is able to be considered for accommodation services at The College, he/she must provide the necessary documentation that he/she has a disability. You may refer to the student to the ARC website, as well as encourage them to contact the ARC office for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Does the ARC at TCNJ offer any training services to better prepare me in providing an inclusive classroom for all of my students?
Faculty is encouraged to browse the ARC website for more in-depth disability classroom support information. In particular, please review the discussion of Universal Design in the Teaching All Students in a Fall Flex Design here on the ARC website. Any specific details relevant to your course can be discussed with the ARC specialists. Departmental trainings are available upon request.
If a student discloses a disability to you:
Ask to see an accommodation letter from ARC. This will describe the accommodations to be provided. Discuss with your student what you can do to facilitate learning. If they haven’t connected with ARC, suggest that they consider an affiliation.
If you have a question about the appropriateness of an accommodation:
Questions about the appropriateness of certain accommodations should be directed to the ARC specialists. We are glad to be a resource to you and your student to address any questions or concerns about accommodatations.
If a student thinks they have a disability?
Refer the student to ARC at email@example.com. Once we are all back on campus, we are located at Roscoe West, Suite 121a, 609-771-3199.
If a student requests an accommodations assessment?
Refer student to the Accommodation Process link on our web page.
If a student who is receiving accommodations is not doing well in class?
Treat the student as you would any other student.
If a student wants to file a grievance?
Refer student to the TCNJ faculty/student/staff handbook and the ADA policies and procedures.
Or visit TCNJ’s Affirmative Action page to learn more.