Student Accessibility Services (SAS) welcomes the opportunity to work with faculty in your effort to be inclusive of all of your students, including those with disabilities. We want to support you by discussing any concerns or questions that you may have.
In particular we support equal opportunity for your students with disabilities. Equal opportunity specifically refers to equal access to the course and materials, and equal responsibility on the part of the student in the course.
Supporting Students with Disabilities or Significant Medical Conditions
A student with a disability should have equal access to your course and course materials (with or without accommodations approved by SAS); and the student is equally responsible to perform to the standards of your course, using resources (with or without accommodations through SAS) that are available to all students.
Please contact the SAS office (firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-254-3841) with general questions about disability support and academic accommodations. The SAS staff may be able to share specific disability-related information with a faculty member with a student’s written consent in order to facilitate the accommodation process.
Accommodated Exams on the Bridges Platform
The Office of Instructional Design has prepared a set of video instructions for faculty who have exam takers that need extended time for exams taken on the Bridges platform. The instructions address how to create an "exemption" for students who need a different amount of time or a different situation than the rest of the class. Please view this video from Panopto. For further support, please contact Shawn or Kevin in the Office of Instructional Design at 401-254-3001 or 401-254-3637.
As you prepare your course syllabi and information for upcoming classes, please replace the current statement on your syllabus pertaining to SAS access to accommodations with the statement below. Some of our processes/procedures have changed due to the implementation of the ClockWork database and COVID-19 restrictions. The sooner students reach out to SAS with their questions or concerns, the easier it will be to assure their access and let you know if there are any special considerations for you to keep in mind.
SAS Statement for Class Syllabus:
The University has a continuing commitment to providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. The need for accommodations and the process for arranging them may be altered by the impact of COVID-19 and the safety protocols currently in place that we all must follow. We also recognize that we may have students with medical conditions who weren’t previously registered with SAS, who should be encouraged to register to receive appropriate accommodations. Students with disabilities who need accommodations in order to fully participate in this class are urged to contact Student Accessibility Services, as soon as possible, to explore the arrangements needed to be made to assure access. During the fall 2020 semester, the Student Accessibility Services office can be reached at email@example.com and 401-254-3841. SAS is open Monday through Friday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM. More information about SAS is available here.
Beginning Fall 2020, the SAS office will be using the RWU-SAS Clockwork management system which will automate the accommodation interactions with faculty, students and staff. When a student requests accommodations for their courses, faculty will receive an email from SAS directing them to the faculty portal to view and acknowledge receipt of the accommodation needs for their students. For more information, we invite faculty to review key SAS General Procedures.
More information is available below...
Students with documented disabilities who are registered with Student Accessibility Services make up nearly 10% of the Roger Williams University student population.
What is Student Accessibility Services (SAS) at Roger Williams University?
SAS is a specialized sub-unit of the Center for Student Academic Success, which also oversees the units of Advising & Peer Mentorship and the Tutoring Center.
SAS works with eligible students with current disabilities or those with current significant medical conditions. These students present current medical or pscyho-educational documentation to substantiate both the condition/disability and the accommodations being requested.
SAS staff are trained to read and understand the documentation presented. We also have an understanding of how the particular condition(s) may interact with the academic or residential/co-curricular environments. We work carefully and collaboratively with the student, faculty, and administrators to recommend reasonable accommodations that help ensure equal opportunity for the student.
We also know that these accommodations should never alter the central functions of the course, or reduce the standards of course requirements. Students with disabilities, like all students, are accountable to standards of course performance and academic integrity.
Likewise, in residential/co-curricular areas, accommodations support equal opportunity or equal enjoyment of student life, but all students are accountable to the behavioral standards set by the university.
How do students qualify to use the services of SAS ?
Students who are eligible for accommodations and who may experience significant or substantial barriers in the academic or physical environments of the University, have presented documentation of a current disability or a current medical condition. SAS carefully reviews this documentation, and makes case-by-case recommendations about accommodations that are designed to reduce or eliminate these environmental barriers.
Examples of environmental barriers may include but are not limited to:
- strict time limits on exams or tests: when the student has a physical/mobility condition, or a learning disability.
- stairs or no elevators in buildings: where students have physical/mobility conditions or certain medical conditions.
- power-point presentations without alternate format: when students may have vision conditions or medical conditions.
SAS works very specifically and very carefully to recommend accommodations that support equal opportunity for the student, AND that uphold integrity of the course or program.
How do students with disabilities or significant medical conditions find SAS?
Most students and their families send documentation of the disability as the student begins their academic career at RWU. Other students may be referred to SAS without having current documentation, and SAS recommends resources for obtaining evaluations to help substantiate accommodations. Also, members of the campus community (Counseling, Health Services, Faculty) refer students to SAS based on their interactions. Sometimes students refer themselves to us.
Please let students know that resources such as SAS exist as a support for Roger Williams students! But please also be sensitive about student privacy when you have such conversations with your students.
What about privacy or confidentiality for SAS students?
Disability or medical information is confidential and is not shared outside the SAS office. On rare occasions, with student permission, we may share aspects of a students situation for the purpose facilitating reasonable accommodations.
You will know that your student is supported by SAS, if the student specifically tells you, or if you received a letter of accommodation form from SAS.
Academic records, course rosters, or the Colleague student records system do not publicly identify students receiving support from SAS.
Although faculty or administrators should never specifically ask a student about their disability or medical condition, you may have meaningful conversations about student performance and student behavior.
Asking a student what they may need for increased success is appropriate. Referrals to resources in the Center for Student Academic Success are welcome.
How will students with disabilities tell their professors that they are eligible to receive academic accommodations?
Students who need accommodations in your courses may feel more welcome and more confident about approaching you, IF you have made a welcoming announcement in class and have a welcoming syllabus invitation to speak about their particular needs in your class.
Having met with a member of the Student Accessibility Services staff to discuss accommodations for the current semester’s courses, eligible students may electronically request a Letter of Accommodation. This letter will be sent to the student's RWU email. Faculty should expect to receive a copy of the Letter of Accommodation by hand-delivery or email. It is the student’s responsibility to deliver the Letter to the faculty member in a timely manner (e.g. one week in advance of the needed accommodation) and to make arrangements for accommodations (this might include reminding a professor about the accommodation). Instructors are not expected to provide accommodations “on demand” or “after the fact.”
What is extended time for testing? What is the faculty role in the extended time process?
Extended time for testing is an accommodation that helps to remove barriers in the exam environment for eligible students. Time-and-a-half or 50% extension is generally the standard time extension and is gradually becoming SAS policy. Certain students may receive double time extensions. Extended time IS NOT unlimited time. Faculty will receive letters of accommodation from the student and/or from SAS that provide information and instructions. Professors are encouraged to implement the accommodations themselves in exam-appropriate environments (e.g. no hallways or noisy offices); or professors may work with the SAS Testing Center for implementation. For questions, please contact Student Accessibility Services, which is located on the 1st floor of the University Library in the Jeremy Warnick Center for Student Accessibility, Monday through Friday 8 am - 5 pm. Phone or email contact are welcome: 401-254-3841 or firstname.lastname@example.org
What is notetaking assistance? What is the faculty role in the notetaking assistance process?
Notetaking assistance is an accommodation provided for students who have qualifying conditions. Notetaking assistance may mean:
- students recording their lectures,
- professor-provided online copies of lecture notes or power points,
- students using electronic devices to take notes, or
- SAS-provided peer notetaker.
In all cases, students with the notetaking-assistance accommodations are expected to attend class and take their own notes. Students who do not attend class are in jeopardy of losing this accommodation. SAS should be notified of student non-attendance and we will discuss appropriate protocol with the student. The decision to maintain the accommodation rests with SAS.
If a Peer Notetaker is the recommended accommodation, the notetaker’s notes are intended to supplement the notes already taken by the student. The peer-notetaker is a student enrolled in the course who has demonstrated a strong ability to take clear and thorough notes. Whenever possible, a note taker is selected by SAS from an existing pool of qualified students who have provided this service in the past. Student peer notetakers are compensated for their work each semester.
Faculty members may also be asked to identify strong students in the course and/or make a general announcement. Faculty would be contacted by SAS for assistance in locating a qualified peer-notetaker.
Once a notetaker has been secured, the notes are confidentially posted to an online system (such as Bridges) for private viewing/download by the requesting student.
What is a classroom relocation request?
Due to a valid, documented disability (for example, mobility or vision concerns), a student registered with SAS may make a request for classroom relocation. Student Accessibility Services forwards the request to the Registrar's Office, which then arranges for the classroom change. Please be aware that faculty may be notified of a room change if a student on the classroom roster presents with an accessibility concern.
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/mobility conditions (e.g. Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy);
- learning disabilities (e.g. dyslexia, language disorders);
- mental health conditions (e.g. depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder);
- chronic health conditions (e.g. Diabetes I or II; asthma, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome);
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD);
- Head Trauma
- Vision conditions;
- Hearing conditions, and
- Certain severe temporary disabilities lasting up to approximately 6 months.
I. "Tackling College with Autism." approximately 15 minutes.
This video is a discussion with Dr. Jane Theirfield-Brown, a noted national expert on college students and Autism, and who was for a time, consulting here at Roger Williams University:
II. "Understanding Asperger Syndrome: a College Professor's Guide" approximately 15 minutes
[note: Asperger Syndrome is now called ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder]