Key Campus Partners

Student Accessibility Support

Library Research and Instructional Services

Office of Communications

Media Technology Services

Guidance for Faculty in Supporting Students with Disabilities

Brandeis is dedicated to welcoming and including all students — including those with disabilities — into the full academic and social life of the campus.

As technology has evolved in recent years, the disabilities field has moved from a model of individualized accommodation (seeking to reduce a specific barrier for a particular student) to global accessibility (proactively designing an environment that eliminates barriers for the entire community).

This new model requires shifting the responsibility for disability compliance from a centralized accessibility office to the campus writ large, including — and perhaps most notably — the faculty. These areas of responsibility include:

Accessible course materials

Course materials are considered accessible when all students are able to access the presented information. The Brandeis community comprises a diverse audience and our students use a variety of technologies to navigate our content.

Ensure all course materials (e.g., Latte, texts, videos, handouts, exams, and technology) are accessible. Campus partners can provide guidance, but faculty members hold responsibility to ensure their materials are accessible before posting/assigning materials to their students.

Jump to resources for making course materials accessible

Implementing Accommodations

Implement accommodations as indicated and intended by the accommodation letter and its accompanying guidance prepared by Student Accessibility Support (SAS) and shared by the student. Students who request accommodations without an official letter should be referred to SAS. Faculty can consult with SAS regarding any concern regarding accommodations.

Maintaining Privacy

The reality of implementing accommodations makes some accommodations visible to other students; exercise discretion and respect for the confidentiality of disability information. Faculty may not comment, make judgments, or ask students about their specific disability. However, discussing approved accommodations with individual students can help them feel welcome and supported.

Syllabus Statement

Include the February 2019 updated syllabus statement.

Creating a Welcoming Classroom Climate

Faculty are responsible for creating an inclusive and accessible course climate, welcoming and respecting the dignity of all students in language and practice. It is recommended that faculty hold occasional one-on-one meetings with students with disabilities to seek their input and feedback. When you signal your interest and willingness to learn from their experiences and needs, students can be important partners in creating an inclusive and accessible classroom.

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Creating Accessible Course Materials

All content you put online, from LATTE pages to files you upload, link, or email (PowerPoint, Word doc, PDF, video, etc.) can be made more accessible, once you learn a few best practices. The following resources can help you create course materials that are more accessible to all students:

  • Faculty toolkit—Find best practices for creating accessible documents, presentations, LATTE pages and more
  • Sample accessible syllabus—Download a Word document to use as a model for your own accessible syllabus
  • Make your existing syllabus accessible by learning best practices for Word docs and PDFs
  • Scanning readings—Brandeis will be rolling out software to select scanners on campus to improve the accessibility of the PDFs they create. This page will follow the progress of the project, list locations of scanners that can produce editable, searchable text that has been tagged for accessibility, as well as give directions for using this new software.
  • Brandeis faculty spotlights—Read about faculty and departments across Brandeis who have made a great deal of progress towards ensuring their classrooms are more inclusive and accessible.
Workshops

As we transition to a proactive model for an accessible environment, campus partners are developing workshops and other solutions to help you learn the skills you need to make your materials accessible. More details will be available in the coming months on the web accessibility website.