Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for Faculty
What is a disability?
As defined by law, a disability is a substantial limitation in one or more major life activities. Since this legal definition is quite subjective, the DRC focuses on what accommodations are reasonable in each individual's situation.
A student in my class is having difficulty, and I suspect it may be disability-related. What should I do?
Talk with the student privately about your observations of his performance in class. Refrain from speculating about disability. Instead, offer referrals to a range of campus resources, including tutoring assistance, Disability Resource Center, counseling, etc.
What are reasonable accommodations?
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, job, facility, or activity that enables a qualified person with a disability to have an equal opportunity. Institutions are obligated to make reasonable accommodations only to known limitations of an otherwise qualified individual.
Reasonable accommodations should not alter a course's essential components or in any way "water down" the curriculum or the standards of the institution. . For more detailed suggestions on how you may be helpful to a student with disabilities, see Faculty Resources.
A student handed me a letter from the Disability Resource Center requesting accommodations. What should I do if I have questions?
Call the Disability Specialist specified in the letter you received. The Specialist will be happy to talk with you.
What are roles and responsibilities in the accommodation process?
Determining appropriate accommodations is a collaborative effort. The student must register with the Disability Resource Center and provide documentation of his or her disability. The student also brings an understanding of his or her own needs. The Disability Specialist determines reasonable accommodations for the student, based on the student's documentation. The faculty member or instructor provides knowledge of a course's content, methods, and essential components. For more detailed suggestions on how you may be helpful to a student with disabilities, see Faculty Resources.
Who can I call if I have a general question?
Contact the Disability Resource Center at (202) 274-6417. Your call will be directed to the appropriate person.
(c) 2006 University of Minnesota, Adapted with permission.