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Faculty FAQ

Is there a specific time line students must follow for requesting accommodations?

  • No. While we strongly encourage students to set up accommodations at the beginning of the semester, a student might choose to try the class without accommodations. Also, some students find out mid to late semester that they have a disability or that services are available.
  • Accommodations begin when you and the student have discussed the accommodations and each of you have received the accommodation letters. Accommodations are not retroactive.
  • We require you and the student sit down and review the accommodation letter together. This allows the student and faculty to discuss the particulars of how each accommodation will be implemented.

Doesn’t accommodations give students with disabilities an unfair advantage over other students?

  • Accommodations help remove barriers to education and give students with disabilities equitable access to the classroom. Accommodations allow students with disabilities to demonstrate their level of mastery in the subject. Accommodations help professors clearly determine whether the student has reached the learning outcomes for the class.
  • For example, a student who has a learning disability and processes written material more slowly may have extra time on tests. The extra time allows the student to read and re-read the test questions, process the content of the question, and develop an answer to the question. A student with limited mobility might have extra time on exams plus use of a computer for essay tests. This gives the student time type out or use dictation software to generate the answer and be graded on the content of the answer, not how quickly the answer was produced.

One of the student’s accommodations is the ability to record lectures. I don’t allow tape recorders in the classroom.

  • Students with disabilities might need to use auxiliary aids to access material in the classroom. One such type of auxiliary aid specified in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a tape recorder. A student who processes information slowly might have a recorder as an accommodation. Recording the class allows the student to focus on listening during class and not divide her/his concentration trying to take notes. After class, the student can re-listen to the lecture as many times as necessary and take notes from the recording. If you are covering sensitive material, reviewing a recently given test, or other situation where you do not wish students to record (either on tape or in writing), you may request all students to put down pencils and turn off recording devices. However, if you allow students without accommodations to take notes, you must allow a student whose accommodation includes recording lectures to do so.

I have a student in my class whose first language is not English. The student needs extra time on tests, should I send the student to the EAC for an accommodation letter?

  • While English as a second language might be a disadvantage for a student taking your class, it is not a disability. Unless a student has a documented disability, the EAC has no authority to authorize adjustments. Professors are encouraged to allow extra time and proctor the tests if they feel it is appropriate.
  • The English Language Support Programs Coordinator, Gail Shuck ( or (208)426-1189), can consult with faculty about additional language support strategies. See also and click on “For Faculty and Staff”.

A student in my class has a temporary disability. What do I do?

  • Typically in such cases, the phrase “temporary disability” more accurately means a “temporary impairment” such as the inability to take notes, write out test answers, or participate in a field trip requiring walking because of a broken arm, hand surgery, or a sprained ankle. Unless the impairment has a substantial impact on a major life function, the EAC does not provide official accommodations for such situations. However, the EAC can discuss with the professor possible solutions to the student’s dilemma including what assistive technology is available on campus for student use.
  • In the Amendments Act, Congress clarified that an individual is not “regarded as” an individual with a disability if the impairment is transitory and minor.  A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.(

How can I best support and deaf or hard of hearing student in my class?

  • A student with a hearing loss may have a sign language interpreter or a transcriber in the classroom. The role of the interpreter or transcriber is to facilitate communication.
  • Please click on our tip sheet for strategies that will improve communication between you and your deaf or hard of hearing student, Working with deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

What do I do if a student requests accommodations and I have not received an accommodation letter?

  • Do refer the student to the Educational Access Center (EAC). The EAC is the campus authority that determines and organizes academic and housing accommodations for students. We have the “big picture” including the student’s documentation, a structured intake process to gather vital details about the student’s needs, access to legal guidance, and the professional background to be able to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations.
  • Do not work out any accommodations with the student. Once a student receives accommodations for a class—whether informally set up by the professor or formally through the EAC—the university is on record as providing accommodations. Informal accommodations often set unrealistic expectations for students and create difficulties in following semesters when other faculty are not comfortable providing the same leeway as previous professors. This can put the university in legal jeopardy.

I don’t think that a particular accommodation is appropriate for my class; or I think other accommodations not in the letter would work better for the student.

  • Do contact the Educational Access Coordinator who sent the accommodation letter to discuss your concerns. If it is determined that altering the accommodations for your class is appropriate, the Educational Access Coordinator will discuss the situation with the student and explain the reason for modifying the accommodations. An updated accommodation letter will be sent to the faculty and student.
  • Do not change or deny accommodations without discussing your concerns with the EAC. Doing so could result in a complaint by the student.

How do I refer the student to the EAC?
A simple way is to tell refer the student to our website and Getting Started page. Feel free to cut and paste the following in an e-mail or include the information in your conversation with the student:

“I just wanted to let you know that, if you choose to request accommodations in any of your classes, the EAC is the place to go. If you do think that accommodations are necessary in your classes, please go to the Getting Started page on our website. There, you will find the Request for Services form and an overview of the accommodation process.”

I’m confused by the new accommodation letter. How do I know the student has been notified of their accommodations? We used to sign the letter, now we don’t.

  • All accommodation letters are now electronically delivered to both the professor and student. Students should meet with you to discuss the best way to implement accommodations in your class. The following statement is at the end of the accommodation letter e-mail:

    “The instructor and student will need to discuss the implementation of these accommodations. Please reply via email to verify that both instructor and student have agreed to the terms of these accommodations.”

    Thank you to those of you who have responded to the e-mail letting us know that you and the student have talked about the accommodations.

What happened to the testing contract I used to fill out?

  • If you use Blackboard exams, the student will coordinate testing with the Online Testing Center, just as all other students do. The OTC is fully accessible and able to proctor all online exam accommodations.
  • If you give paper/pencil exams and would like the EAC to proctor the exams, please click on the link to our the online Alternative Testing Contract. This is located in the red box in the accommodation e-mail and reads:

    “Please submit this Alternative Testing Contract ONLY if the student will be taking exams at the EAC, For assistance or questions regarding this contract, please contact (208) 426-1606 or”

  • Do not tell the student that you will not provide the accommodations on the letter or add any accommodations. Denying or altering accommodations can put the university in a legally sticky situation.