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.
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 or forwarding 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.
Each semester, accommodation memos will be sent to students at the beginning of the semester and the student is to bring them to you to discuss how they are to be implemented. You are expected to acknowledge that you and the student have had this discussion and you then return a copy of the memo (paper or electronic) with your acknowledgement.
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. However,
However, 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 accommodations specialist who drafted your student’s accommodation memo. We are here to be a resource for you, too, as well as the student, and we are glad to work with you both to find a way to meet the student’s legitimate accommodations needs.
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.
ARC will consider a remote proctoring (ZOOM, Google Meet, etc.) request. Please contact ARC at email@example.com to discuss this option.
Can ARC staff proctor the exam for me?
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;30 pm.
- Exam times must be finite. If an instructor wishes to give a student an “untimed” test, we cannot proctor it, as that is impossible to schedule.
- Exams may need to be scheduled for another day or time other than when it is administered to the remainder of the class, especially during busy times, such as midterms and finals, as a result of ARC proctoring hours, your student’s availability or other factors. Please meet with your student and negotiate the date and time (keeping in mind the ARC proctoring schedule).
- 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 go to arc.tcnj.edu/proctoring for specific information and processes for scheduling your exam.
- 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 (usually a month before the first day of finals — see arc.tcnj.edu/proctoring for specifics) 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 with ARC is voluntary on the part of the student. Please refer to the student to the ARC website, specifically arc.tcnj.edu/accommodation-process, as well as encouraging them to contact the ARC office for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-771-3199). We are glad to be a resource for them and you throughout the semester.
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 if they have connected with ARC. If not, please share with them the information above on referring a student, and assure them that this is the most appropriate and comprehensive way to secure accommodations. If they have already registered with ARC, invite them to share their accommodation memo from ARC with you. This will describe the accommodations to be provided. Discuss with your student what you can do to facilitate learning.
If you have a question about the appropriateness of an accommodation:
If you have concerns about the accommodations, or how to implement them, please contact the staff person who drafted the Accommodation Memo. We are here to be a resource for you too, and will work with you and the student to find a way to implement accommodations that will address the academic scope and intentions of the course.
If a student thinks they have a disability?
Refer the student to ARC at email@example.com or to visit us at Roscoe West, Suite 202, or to call us at 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 apart from their accommodations. We do welcome and encourage you to contact the student’s accommodations specialist (the signer of their accommodation memo) to discuss your concerns and brainstorm other ways to support the student. We appreciate your partnership.
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.