Faculty Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of Accommodations
This section includes commonly asked questions that faculty have regarding understanding and implementing accommodations from a student’s letter and confidentiality. If you have questions about how to implement student accommodations, please contact SAS or call the Academic Services main phone line at 781-736-3470 to request to speak with a SAS staff member.
A reasonable accommodation can be an added support, the removal of a barrier, an adjustment to a policy, or other modification of materials, practices, and spaces. Accommodations are designed to support equal access for people with disabilities/medical conditions. Requests for accommodations that would fundamentally alter the nature of a course, assignment, experience, etc., or would result in an "undue hardship" as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act may not be considered reasonable and may not be approved.
If a student is approved for accommodations through SAS, they will send a formal letter to you that provides information on their approved accommodations. If you still have questions, please contact SAS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Academic Services main phone line at 781-736-3470 to request to speak with a SAS staff member.
Yes. The accommodations in the accommodation letter have already been approved by SAS. It is not appropriate to ask a student if they need the accommodations, or to disclose their conditions/disabilities. If you are concerned about the appropriateness of an accommodation that is mentioned in the letter or have questions about how to implement the accommodations, you can contact SAS (email@example.com) or call the Academic Services main phone line at 781-736-3470 to request to speak with a SAS staff member.
SAS is always happy to talk with faculty who have accommodation questions. If you have questions, you can contact SAS (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the Academic Services main phone line at 781-736-3470 to request to speak with a SAS staff member.
A student must deliver their accommodation letter to you, before you are obligated to provide them with their approved accommodation/-s for your course. If a student requests an accommodation for your class without first providing you with a letter, you can remind the student that they must give you a copy of their accommodation letter from SAS.
The current accommodations in a student’s letter are approved according to each individual student’s request and documentation. If a student asks for a specific accommodation that is not in their letter, you are welcome to provide it if you are able to, but you are not required to. Then, please direct the student to contact SAS to discuss updating their accommodations so that it is formalized in their letter.
If you ever feel unsure about your obligations as a faculty member, please do not hesitate to reach out to SAS by either calling the Academic Services main phone line at 781-736-3470 or emailing us directly at email@example.com.
If you suspect that a student may need accommodations, but has not provided you with an official letter, a good first step would be to speak to the student in private to ask about the difficulties that they are specifically encountering in your course (i.e. clarification on course content, challenges with the format of the course, etc.)
While it would be inappropriate to ask the student outright if they have a disability, it would be beneficial to connect the student to meet with SAS. Additionally, you can encourage the student to utilize other resources offered through Academic Services including academic advising and BUGS peer tutors. If you have any questions on how to have this conversation with a student, please reach out to SAS by either calling the Academic Services main phone line at 781-736-3470 or emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faculty are required to keep a student’s accommodation letter confidential except when talking to SAS staff. For faculty with TAs supporting their course/s, please check with the student first before sharing their accommodation letter. TAs are often peers of students, so it is good to get the student's permission first before sharing their letter.
Please refrain from any inappropriate disclosure of a student’s disability information in front of others, including faculty, staff, or students. For many students with disabilities, disclosure is a highly personal and sensitive matter. You should not reference a student's accommodations in front of other students. If you have any questions, issues, or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to SAS (email@example.com).
This section includes guidance on how to implement accommodations related to the classroom environment. Please reach out to us if you have any further questions regarding classroom accommodations at firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Accessibility Support (SAS), in consultation with the Center for Teaching and Learning and the 504 Coordinator, has created a new syllabus statement which is more welcoming to a student with a disability in your class.
A student with a laptop for class notetaking accommodation may need to use various technologies (i.e. laptop, tablet) during class to be able to process and learn course content in the classroom. This accommodation will be clearly mentioned in their accommodation letter.
If a laptop is an approved accommodation for a student, it is reasonable to provide that accommodation for a student registered with SAS. An honor system can be worked out with the student requesting the accommodation, to use the device strictly for academic use.
In order to maintain confidentiality of the student’s disability, the instructors are encouraged to make an exception to the “no-device” policy in their syllabus with the following language: "Exceptions for the use of a laptop may be granted for compelling reasons at the discretion of the instructor."
This section includes guidance on administering common exam accommodations. If you have any further questions on how to implement exam accommodations, we encourage you to reach out to us at SASExams@brandeis.edu.
If a student presents you with an official accommodation letter from Student Accessibility Support (SAS) that includes exam accommodations, then you are required to provide the student with their accommodations. If you need any support in providing exam accommodations, please reach out to SASExams@brandeis.edu.
Final exams are administered through the Office of the University Registrar. Accommodations like extended test time that follows the scheduled three hour exam block, early start of exams, and low distraction exams are proctored by the Registrar’s Office in the Kutz classrooms.
Students and instructors should discuss extended time accommodations in advance of any scheduled exams, especially if an extended time accommodation for an exam presents a conflict with another class. A mutually agreed upon alternate time should be provided to ensure students can use their approved extended time accommodations. For help with scheduling, space, and proctoring when these situations arise, please contact SASExams@brandeis.edu.
Students are instructed to provide you with their accommodation letter in advance of their scheduled exam. If the student sends their letter on the day of the exam or last minute, and the faculty member cannot provide it that day, then the exam should be rescheduled with the accommodation at another time. For help with scheduling, space, and proctoring when these situations arise, please contact SASExams@brandeis.edu.
No, accommodations are not retroactive. Therefore, a student should not wait until they receive their grade to provide you with their accommodation letter, or ask to retake the exam with their accommodations.
Exam laptops are wifi disabled devices which are provided by Student Accessibility Support for students who need them as an accommodation on their exams. We ensure strict exam security on these laptops. The students approved for an exam laptop are allowed to pick up these laptops from our office only 20 minutes before their exam. The instructors can provide the exam as a paper copy or digitally via a flash drive (in case of students who are blind). The students are asked to return the laptops immediately to our office after the exam. We will email the exam to the faculty member as we receive them.
At times, when the exam lasts beyond our office hours (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm), we will arrange with the faculty member or TA of the class to hold the laptop for us which we will pick up the following day. We thank you in advance for your support in ensuring exam security for your courses.
SAS Faculty Resources
This section includes faculty guidance and development opportunities regarding working with students with disabilities.
We encourage you to check out our Accessibility Resources webpage where you can find helpful information from the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), taking a self-paced Making Digital Materials Accessible online LATTE course, among other resources.
SAS also provides workshops on a wide range of topics in a variety of formats to fit your needs. If you would like to schedule a workshop with SAS on how to create accessible course materials, please contact email@example.com.