Tompkins Cortland Community College

Baker Center for Learning

Instructor Resources

Students with Disabilities and Your Classroom

What is the college's obligation to students with disabilities?

By law and by policy, the college is committed to provide equal access for all qualified individuals to its programs and educational opportunities. The need for physical access (elevators, ramps, etc.) is obvious to most of us, but access needs also include the curriculum itself and measures of evaluation. Academic adjustments may include special seating, testing modifications, use of assistive technology, or presentation of course materials in alternate formats. The college has designated Carolyn Boone, Coordinator of Access and Equity Services, to identify appropriate academic adjustments and Marilyn Webb, Coordinator of Tutoring and Accommodation Services, to coordinate the provision of these services. Khaki Wunderlich, Dean of Organizational Success and Learning, acts as the ADA/504 Compliance Officer.

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What is my obligation as an instructor?

You are an agent of the college and as such share the college's obligations to provide access within all aspects of your course. Your course outline should include the following disability statements:

This material is available in alternative formats upon request.

It is the college's policy to provide, on an individual basis, academic adjustments to students with disabilities, which may affect their ability to fully participate in program or course activities or to meet course requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Carolyn Boone, Coordinator of Access and Equity Services, on the first floor of the Baker Commons at 607.844.8222, Ext. 4283 or by E-mail to discuss their particular need for academic adjustments.

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What should I do if a student identifies him/herself to me as a person with a disability?

Ask the student if he or she has been in contact with Carolyn Boone, Coordinator of Access and Equity Services, and/or the Baker Center for Learning. If not, refer the student. You should not personally collect and/or maintain any disability documentation nor should you make a determination as to the existence of a disability or the reasonableness of a request without consultation. Unless you are willing to provide a requested modification to all students, you should not provide it to any student without having first received an access plan memo from the Baker Center.

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What is the procedure for receiving academic adjustments?

The student must provide the Baker Center with appropriate documentation describing the disability and the limitations related to learning. An access plan is then developed between the student and BCL staff. Appropriate classroom, testing and other academic adjustments are identified on a written Access Plan Memorandum, which the student delivers to each faculty member from whom he or she is requesting academic adjustments.

You are entitled to reasonable notice of any requested academic adjustments. We encourage you and the student to meet and discuss the particulars of the request.

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What if the requested academic adjustments conflict with my course structure and/or policies?

You may have to make a modification in your structure or policies. Not making an adjustment may discriminate against the student because of the disability; however, while the need for modifications and/or auxiliary aids and services in a particular case is not negotiable, there are often alternate ways to provide the academic adjustments. Academic adjustments must be sensitive to the fundamental structure and objectives of your course. If you believe that a requested modification or auxiliary aid or service will so alter your course, immediately consult with one of the Baker Center coordinators. What constitutes an appropriate modification or auxiliary aid or service in one course, or even section of a course, may not be appropriate in another.

Feel free in all cases to discuss methods of academic adjustments with the student and with one of the Baker Center coordinators.

The college has hired you for your expertise in your field and in the classroom. We do not expect you to have expertise in the field of disability and postsecondary education. Let us help you create the best possible learning environment for both you and your students.

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