Faculty/Staff FAQs

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Frequently Asked Instructor Questions

What if a student claims to have a disability and requests classroom and/or testing accommodations, but does not have an Letter of Accommodation from the Office of Disability Services?
Refer the student to the Office of Accessibility (and this site), or located in University Center 211. The professor can also email cmathis1@sienaheights.edu and make OA aware of the student disclosure or need. The best practice is to CC the student. The OA will respond with 48 hours in most cases (including letting you know follow-up was taken).

What if a student is receiving accommodations and is not doing well in class?
Treat the student as you would any other student. Enter into interactive processes with the student to try to identify the problem and appropriate supports and services they may need, and/or any referrals. If you feel that more needs to be done, please refer the student to the CARE team here, submit an early alert, and/or email cmathis1@sienaheights.edu if there are questions about appropriate accommodations.

What if a student feels he or she has been discriminated against because of their disability?
Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. Try to resolve the complaint at the lowest level by meeting with the key people involved. You may contact the Director of Accessibility for if further assistance is warranted. If the complaint is against the Office of Accessibility, please refer the student to the Dean for Students, Michael Orlando, morlando@sienaheights.edu. In addition, you can reference the Student Code of Conduct Grievance procedure.

How does a faculty member give students information about accommodations?
Teachers will include a disability statement on their syllabi (see below) with information about how to receive classroom accommodations for a disability.

Suggested Faculty Syllabus Statement

Approved by the Siena Heights University, each class syllabus should include the following statement (may be personalized, but must still include all information):

Siena Heights University values diversity and inclusion; we are committed to a climate of mutual respect and full participation. Our goal is to create learning environments that are usable, equitable and inclusive. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or accurate assessment, please notify the instructor as soon as possible. Students with disabilities should contact the Office of Accessibility (517) 264-7683, or cmathis1@sienaheights.edu, to discuss a range of options for removing barriers in the course, including accommodations. This process is initiated and driven by the student. It is to your advantage to begin the process in a timely manner, since accommodations are not retroactive. Grades earned before verification of a disability by the Office of Accessibility will not be changed.

What are the rights and responsibilities of an instructor when working with students with disabilities?
An instructor has the right to confirm a student’s request for accommodations and to ask for clarification about a specific accommodation with the OA. Instructors do not have the right to refuse to provide an accommodation (without engaging in an interactive process with OA), or to review a student’s documentation including diagnostic data, disability specifics, etc.. Instructors have a responsibility to work with the OA in providing reasonable accommodations, keep all records and communications with students confidential (LOAs are not to be shared even among colleagues), and to refer a student to the OA who requests accommodations but is not currently registered. Instructors do not have to provide accommodations for students not registered with the OA. If you choose to offer academic adjustments outside of accommodations, these cannot be based on disability status, and need to be offered equally to all students or none at all (e.g. Extra Credit when a student misses a day for illness–offered to any student missing a day of class, or not at all).

If an instructor feels that a particular student may have a substantially limiting disability, where should he or she refer the student?
If an instructor feels that a particular student may have a substantially limiting disability, he or she should contact the Office of Accessibility at cmathis1@sienaheights.edu. Students with disabilities have as much a right to fail as to succeed. ADA does not guarantee success, but is designed to provide access. Do not patronize students with disabilities, rather, use the accommodations and provide the same opportunities and they decide the rest.

What if a student with a disability is disruptive in class?
A student with a disability who is disruptive in class should be treated by the instructor as they would treat any student who is disruptive in class. If an instructor feels that there is a disability-related reason for the student’s behavior, the instructor can discuss this with the OA to determine if there is a solution to the problem or strategies for addressing the behavior, but should still follow the Code of Conduct process/es, and make appropriate referrals.

What if a student with a disability is failing?
It is important for instructors to remember that providing reasonable accommodations to a student with a disability does not guarantee success in the course. Students with disabilities may not master the course material, just like any other student and the instructor can file a retention alert. Students with disabilities have the same right as other students to fail as part of their educational experience.  If you feel it is a life-altering situation, or that there is a need for further intervention, please refer to the CARE team (here).