Faculty Support

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 (palmonte@rwu.edu or 401-254-3841) with general questions about disability support and the delivery of academic accommodations.  The SAS office 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.  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. SAS is located on the first floor of the Main University Library and is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Effective August 2013 the Exam Cover Sheet format has changed.  The new two-part cover sheet is an agreement between faculty and student of the date and time that the exam will take place in SAS. Students must pick up the Exam Cover Sheets in the SAS office and meet with faculty to arrange for EACH exam.  Student and faculty must fill out Exam Cover Sheet together.  The student keeps the yellow portion for their records and the faculty member attaches the white copy to the exam to be delivered to SAS. 

We invite faculty to review key SAS policies and procedures.

Click on “Faculty Facts” below to learn more...

Faculty Facts

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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 in person in the SAS office 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 and their families 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 students with disabilities tell their professors that they are eligible to receive academic accommodations?  

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 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. 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 (this might include reminding a professor to deliver a test to Student Accessibility Services ).  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 on the second floor of the University Library in the Center for Academic Development.”
  • 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 (the SAS Testing Center), notetaking 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 SAS Testing Center, the Exam Cover Sheet is completed collaboratively by the student/faculty to establish an agreed upon date and time when the student will take the exam in SAS. The faculty member is then responsible for hand delivering the test with the first page (white portion) of the Cover Sheet to the Student Accessibility Services office located on the 2nd floor of the University Library in the Center for Academic Development, Monday through Friday 8 am - 5 pm. 

The test must be accompanied by a completed Exam Cover Sheet which supplies SAS with such information as: materials students can/cannot use while testing, special instructions, latest date test can be taken, where to deliver test, etc.  We are unable to receive exams via e-mail due to size issue, compatibility, and timeliness.  Faculty may request assistance from department secretarial staff by e-mailing and secretary in turn hand delivers to SAS.

What is notetaking assistance? What is the faculty role in the notetaking assistance process?

Notetaking 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 notetaker’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 notetaking 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 Notetaking Assistance Request form provided by the student will contain all information to recruit a note taker.   Once a notetaker has been secured, the requesting student and the notetaker then meet and arrange for the transfer of notes.  

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. 

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.