Student Accessibility Services (SAS) supports faculty by providing information that will aid in the delivery of academic accommodations that are designed to provide equal access to students with learning differences and/or physical or medical disabilities as per the guidelines established by ADA/Section 504.
Faculty may contact the SAS office (email@example.com or 401-254-3841) with general questions about disability support and the delivery of academic accommodations. The SAS office can verify disability-related information with a faculty member with a student’s written consent in order to facilitate the accommodation process. Additionally, the following statement is provided to the faculty each semester for inclusion on course syllabuses:
Students who wish to receive academic accommodations for this course must first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) in order to begin the accommodation process. The SAS office will provide registered students with the specific information they will need to share with each instructor. To begin this process, SCS students should first contact the SCS Coordinator of Student Support and Experience.
SCS students must obtain an Exam Cover Sheets from the SCS Coordinator of Student Support and Experience and coordinate with faculty to arrange for EACH exam. Student and faculty must each fill out their portion of the SCS Exam Cover Sheet. The student should return the Exam Cover Sheet to the SCS Coordinator of Student Support and Experience at least 72 hours before the requested time for testing to ensure that proctoring will be available at that time. Extended time testing for SCS students takes place at the Providence campus, in room 201.
We invite faculty to review key SAS policies and procedures.
Students with documented disabilities who are registered with Student Accessibility Services make up nearly 10% of the Roger Williams University student population. This fact sheet is designed to help faculty understand the rights and responsibilities of students with disabilities as well as the policies and procedures that have been established for this group at the University.
What is Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at Roger Williams University?
Roger Williams University is mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal access to facilities, educational and co-curricular programs, campus activities, and employment opportunities to qualified individuals with disabilities. To provide said access, the Student Accessibility Services office was created more than a decade ago.
How does Student Accessibility Services provide equal access?
Student Accessibility Services ensures that students with disabilities have physical and academic access to the educational experience here at RWU by providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations. SAS believes that the most successful students are self-advocates who identify their own needs, take personal initiative in problem-solving and decision-making, and effectively use all available resources to fully participate in the educational experience.
How do students qualify to use the services of SAS?
Services are available to all students with documented disabilities that substantially limit a major life activity such as: learning, hearing, seeing, reading, walking, and speaking. It is the student’s responsibility to provide current documentation from an appropriate professional (physician, psychologist, etc.). Students must request academic accommodations each semester.
How does Student Accessibility Services learn of students with disabilities?
SAS learns of students with disabilities in a variety of ways. Most students send documentation of the disability as the student begins his/her academic career at RWU. Other students come to SAS without having been diagnosed. SAS provides these students with resources for obtaining diagnostic evaluations that may warrant the provision of accommodations. Members of the campus community (Counseling, Health Services, faculty members) also refer students to SAS based on their interactions.
Are SAS students “flagged” for the RWU population?
The students who are registered with SAS are NOT flagged anywhere in the RWU community (i.e. class rosters, Datatel, etc.). Disability related information is confidential and is not shared outside the SAS office without a student’s permission.
How will SCS students with disabilities tell their professors that they are eligible to receive academic accommodations?
After contacting the SCS Coordinator of Student Support and Experience regarding accommodations for the current semester’s courses, students may electronically request an Academic Accommodation Authorization. This authorization will be sent to the student's RWU email. Faculty should expect to receive a copy of the Authorization form by hand delivery or email from the student. It is the student’s responsibility to deliver the Authorization form to the faculty member in a timely manner and to make arrangements for accommodations. Instructors are not expected to provide accommodations “on demand” or “after the fact.”
How should a faculty member approach the topic of students with disabilities at the start of a course?
Students’ disability information is confidential and should never be discussed or referred to in front of classmates or other individuals. To preserve students’ rights to privacy and to indicate a willingness to provide accommodations, instructors may want to consider the following:
Include a statement on each course syllabus such as:
“If you are a student with a disability for which you wish to receive academic accommodations, you must first register with Student Accessibility Services. SCS students may contact the SCS Coordinator of Student Support and Experience, to be referred to Student Accessibility Services. After receiving an Academic Accommodation Authorization form, an instructor may invite the student to an office hour to discuss any special circumstances related to a disability.
What are common academic accommodations?
The most commonly requested accommodations are: extended time for test taking, testing in a less distracting environment, note-taking assistance, and classroom relocation. Accommodations are not intended to guarantee success. They are intended to “level the playing field” so students have equal access and are assessed on their learning and not on the impact of their disability in the educational environment.
What is extended time for testing? What is the faculty role in the extended time process?
Extended time for testing is an accommodation that grants the student the right to spend additional processing time on an exam. Time-and-a-half is a common guideline or starting point, but each student’s allotted time is determined on a case-by-case basis. Extended time does not mean unlimited time. After receiving the Academic Accommodation Authorization form from a student who wishes to use the SCS Testing Center, the Exam Cover Sheet is completely collaboratively by the student/faculty to establish an agreed upon date and time with the student will take the exam in the SCS Testing Center. Extended time testing needs to be requested at least 72 hours before the exam date and cleared with the SCS Coordinator of Student Support and Experience. The test must be accompanied by a completed Exam Cover Sheet which supplies the Coordinator of Student Support and Experience with such information as: materials students can/cannot use while testing, special instructions, latest date test can be taken, where to deliver test, etc. The SCS Testing Center is open Monday-Thursday from 12noon-8pm and Friday from 9am-5pm, and is located in Room 201 at 150 Washington Street, Providence.
What is note-taking assistance? What is the faculty role in the note-taking assistance process?
Note-taking assistance is a common accommodation provided for students who have auditory processing or fine motor skills deficits, attention issues, seizure disorders, or similar disabilities. Students with disabilities are expected to attend class and take their own notes. The note-taker’s notes are intended to supplement the notes already taken by the student with a disability. A student enrolled in the course who has demonstrated a strong ability to take clear and thorough notes provides the note-taking service. Whenever possible, a note taker is selected by SAS from an existing pool of qualified students who have provided this service in the past.
Faculty members may also be asked to identify strong students in the course and/or make a general announcement. A Note-taking Assistance Request form provided by the student will contain all information to recruit a note taker. Once a note-taker has been secured, the requesting student and the note-taker then meet and arrange for the transfer of notes.
Can I review a student’s documentation/file before agreeing to accommodations such as extended time for a test?
Only the SAS staff has access to the files containing students’ documentation. From time to time, SAS will confer with faculty who are concerned about a student. SAS can supply only general information to the faculty member along with strategies to meet the learning needs of the student in the classroom and explanations of the accommodations to be provided.
What types of disabilities do RWU students disclose to Student Accessibility Services?
RWU students disclose a variety of disabilities including, but not limited to: physical disabilities (e.g. Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy); learning disabilities (e.g. dyslexia, language disorders, dyscalculia); psychiatric disabilities (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder); chronic health disabilities (e.g. asthma, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome); Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); Blindness/Visually Impaired; Deafness or Hard of Hearing