Faculty/Staff Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a handbook or guide for faculty who work with students with disabilities?
We have created a handbook for working with students with disabilities (pdf).
What does the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) do?
The Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) is GC’s designated office to verify students’ eligibility for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The SDRC assists eligible students on an individual basis to develop and coordinate plans for the implementation of reasonable accommodations that are specific to their disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are offered in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What disabilities are covered?
The SDRC assists students who have permanent disabilities which may include, but are not limited to: ADHD, learning disabilities in reading, writing and/or math, psychological disorders which may include anxiety and depression, mobility impairments (e.g. Cerebral Palsy, paralysis), hearing impairments, visual impairments. This list does not include every disability. If a student states to you that they have another type of disability and they are not sure if it is covered, please refer them to the SDRC office, Russell Library Room 109 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do students request accommodations?
Students request accommodations for their disabilities by completing a Request for Services and submitting documentation from a licensed physician or psychiatrist/psychologist.
Information on accessing accommodations through our office is provided on our website.
When should students register with the Student Disability Resource Center?
Students have the right to request accommodations at any point in the semester, however, accommodations are not retroactive. The SDRC recommends that students register before the beginning of the semester in order to have their accommodations in place the first day of class. Also, instructors should not grant accommodations until an accommodation letter is received from the SDRC.
How should I recommend a student seek assistance from the Student Disability Resource Center?
Recommendations to seek assistance should be done in private to maintain confidentiality. An instructor who is aware that a student has low grades, has poor class attendance, fails to turn in assignments on time, has trouble paying attention, etc. should meet with the student in a closed setting to let them know that the SDRC is an option which can help them succeed. Contact information for the SDRC and an ADA statement should be included in every class syllabus which should be given to students on the first day of classes. Please see below for the full ADA statement.
How will I be notified if a student with accommodations is registered for one of my courses?
The SDRC will e-mail accommodation letters and any other pertinent forms to each professor via their Bobcats e-mail address during the second week of classes. We recommend that the student visit their instructors during office hours to maintain confidentiality and to have the opportunity for meaningful discussion about their accommodations. Generally, these letters will be e-mailed at the beginning of each semester unless a student registers with us after classes have begun or has a specific accommodation added. Students may register with the SDRC at any time during a semester.
What do I do when I receive an accommodation letter?
- Read the letter carefully. It is a formal notice, signifying that the student has furnished the University with documentation of a disability.
- Discuss the letter with the student. If you have questions about the accommodations listed in the letter, please check here first. If you still have questions or concerns, please contact the SDRC.
The accommodation letter I received has one (1) or more accommodations that, in my opinion, are not relevant due to the format of my course. What should I do?
Depending upon the course delivery mode, each specific accommodation may or may not be appropriate for your class. Please discuss with the student how accommodations will be implemented and if you have concerns, please contact the SDRC.
Do accommodations give students with disabilities an unfair advantage?
No. Accommodations are intended to provide an equal opportunity for students with disabilities. As such, they are designed to "level the playing field" for students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are expected to meet the same standard as all other students. In particular, like all other students, students with disabilities must meet all University academic criteria and course technical standards.
Does the Student Disability Resource Center excuse absences?
The SDRC does not excuse absences. Class attendance is expected of all GC students. Instructors and their departments set attendance policies. Since this accommodation concerns attendance, it is important that the student and instructor discuss responsibilities and limitations of this accommodation in the event that this student is absent from class for disability-related reasons. This accommodation does not cover frequent absences or being absent for long periods of time (even if these are disability-related).
The discussion between the instructor and student should include:
- What the instructor considers to be a reasonable amount of absences in this class,
- The instructor's preferred method of being contacted and what he/she considers timely notification of the student's absence, and
- The time table to make up missed assignments and exams/quizzes, if applicable
The Student Disability Resource Center recommends that the details of this discussion be documented via email and shared with our office.
Does the Student Disability Resource Center allow students to record lectures?
The Student Disability Resource Center may provide permission to record in the classroom to students who have a documented disability, have an audio recorder/SmartPen accommodation, and are registered with the Student Disability Resource Center. An instructor may not forbid a student's use of an aid if that prohibition limits the student's participation in the class. The Section 504 regulation states: “A recipient may not impose upon handicapped students other rules, such as the prohibition of tape recorders in classrooms or of dog guides in campus buildings, that have the effect of limiting the participation of handicapped students in the recipient's education program or activity.”
- The Pen/recorder are only to be used when the student is taking notes as part of their note-taking services with the Student Disability Resource Center. Inappropriate use can mean disallowing the accommodation in the future.
- The student has agreed that they will not share or transfer these recordings by any method currently available or any method that may become available in the future. This means they will not give the recordings to others, upload them to file-sharing sites, post them to the Internet, provide them to journalists, or share them in any other way. Violation of this agreement could harm their grade or bring other sanctions, depending on the violation.
Does the Student Disability Resource Center allow students to use a laptop in class?
The Student Disability Resource Center may provide permission to use a laptop in class to a student who has a documented disability, has a laptop accommodation, and is registered with the Student Disability Resource Center. ADA Section 504 specifically states “a recipient . . . shall take such steps as are necessary to ensure that no handicapped student is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under the education program or activity operated by the recipient because of the absence of educational auxiliary aids for students with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills.”
- The laptop is only for the student’s personal use in study and preparation related to the class.
- The student may not share the laptop with any other person, whether or not that person is in his/her class.
- The student has acknowledged that the laptop is a source, the use of which in any academic work is governed by rules of academic conduct.
- The student agreed that data should not be uploaded inappropriately, posted or made public unless it is part of a class requirement.
What is the ADA syllabus statement?
The ADA syllabus statement is a statement approved by the University that should be included in every syllabus and the wording should not be changed.
Please find the current statement below:
Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability
If you have a disability as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, you may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and physical accessibility. The Student Disability Resource Center, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs, can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan and in providing support in developing appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access to all GCSU programs and facilities. Course requirements will not be waived, but accommodations may assist you in meeting the requirements. For documentation requirements and for additional information, we recommend that you contact the Office of Disability Services.
How does alternative testing work?
If a student qualifies for extended time, distraction-reduced testing environment, or adaptive technology, and faculty cannot provide the accommodation themselves, the Center for Testing is available to proctor tests, quizzes, in-class writing, exams, etc. The student is responsible for scheduling all testing appointments with the Center for Testing. A form for scheduling tests and midterms is available on the Center for Testing website. The student should visit the Center for Testing or call their office to schedule final exam appointments. The Center for Testing requires notice from the student of at least seven business days during the semester and at least two weeks for final exams.
Students taking exams in the Center for Testing are expected to adhere to the University’s academic honesty policy. Testing rooms have video recording/surveillance.
How does volunteer note taking work?
Notetaking support is provided for students whose documentation indicates an inability to effectively take their own notes in class. Notetaking support is considered a supplement to a student’s own notes and is not considered a substitute for a student’s full participation/attendance.
If a student brings a faculty member a separate statement for the faculty to read to the class, notifying the class that the SDRC is looking for a notetaker, the SDRC requests assistance in the following ways:
- Feel free to approach a specific student if you feel s/he would be good (generally good grades, attendance, etc.).
- If you do not know the students in the class, please take a minute of class time to read the provided statement. (Please see below.)
- Do not identify the student needing the notetaker to the class when making the announcement.
- The notetaker will provide the SDRC with a copy of his/her notes for the remainder of the semester. The notetaker may scan the notes in the library, take a picture of their notes, or type their notes and e-mail them to the SDRC. All notes should be emailed to email@example.com .
- Notetakers providing notes for blind students (and occasionally other situations) may be asked to type their notes and send them as a Word document.
“The Student Disability Resource Center is looking for a volunteer note-taker for this class. Please consider helping your fellow students by volunteering for this program. Five minutes after each class can earn you 30-45 service hours per class in one semester. This is a great addition to your resume and makes you a good candidate when applying for scholarships or grants without spending any extra time away from your normal obligations. If you are interested in being a note-taker, please go to the Student Disability Resource Center, Russell Library 109, for more information.”
How can I make my materials accessible?
All information disseminated to students must be accessible. If you have any questions on how to make your materials accessible, please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning, Russell Library Room 375, 478-445-1248. You can also refer to information on Universal Design for Learning here.
AUDIO & VIDEO RECORDINGS: Please make sure that all audio or video recordings used in courses include closed captioning (sub-titles) or have a transcript for your students.
PDFs: Documents saved as .pdf are great for accessibility as it allows for students to enlarge text and use text to speech software. Electronic photocopies are, by contrast, the least accessible form of information.
Where is the Student Disability Resource Center located?
The SDRC is located in Russell Library, Room 109. You should enter the building via the front entrance, take the stairs or elevator to the first floor and follow the corridor to the left of Books & Brew.
What are the operating hours for the Student Disability Resource Center?
The SDRC is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The office is closed on University holidays. To access this schedule, please go to the Holiday Schedule outlined here.