Frequently Asked Questions

What is ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, commonly referred to as ADA, is a federal guideline that protects the civil rights of individuals with disabilities.

What is a disability?

ADA defines a disability as “a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” For a student, a disability would limit his/her ability to fulfill any degree requirements, employment opportunities on campus, or other campus related activities.

What is YOUR responsibility as a faculty member?

As a faculty member, it is your responsibility to ensure that each course, when viewed in its entirety, is accessible to all students. When a faculty member receives a notice of accommodations, he/she has a responsibility to implement the approved accommodations. Faculty should not alter or dismiss the approved accommodations, nor should a faculty member give additional accommodations. It is appropriate to refer the student back to the Coordinator for Disability Support Services (Barbara Little, Assistant Dean of Students) if the student has concerns about his/her accommodations. If you have questions about how to support a student with accommodations contact Barbara Little.

Are students required to identify their disabilities?

Students are not required to divulge the nature of their disability. If a student wishes to initiate any accommodations, he/she is responsible for contacting and discussing the accommodations with faculty. This should be done within a reasonable time period.

Is there a recommended syllabus statement?

Yes. The recommended statement is:

USciences supports the educational endeavors of all students, including students with disabilities. ADA defines a disability as “a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” If you believe that you have a disability that may impact your ability to fulfill your course or degree requirements, and you would like more information on applying for an accommodation under ADA, please contact the Assistant Dean of Students who serves as the Coordinator for Student Disability Support Services at 215-596-8950.

Is disability information confidential?

Yes, disability information is confidential and should never be discussed in front of classmates or colleagues, unless there is a genuine educational need to know.

What is the Accommodation Process?

  • Initial informational meeting with the Coordinator. (Barbara Little)
  • Documentation to substantiate the disability is submitted
  • Documentation is reviewed
  • Accommodations are requested
  • Accommodations are reviewed and approved by the Affirmative Action Officer
  • Letter is sent to the student and their faculty with a copy to their academic dean.
  • Student and faculty meet to discuss the accommodations
  • Accommodations are implemented

What should faculty do if they suspect a student has a disability?

Do not tell a student you think he/she has a disability. Approach him/her as any other student having difficulty in a class. Inquire about what might be impacting the student’s progress. Refer the student to resources that may be beneficial. For instance, a student may be referred to Student Health and Counseling, Academic Support Services, Student Disability Support Services, and/or their Academic Advisor.

Are there techniques that can make a class more accessible?

The following techniques improve learning for all students in addition to providing access for students with disabilities:

  • Create and follow a detailed syllabus
  • Speak clearly and slowly
  • Introduce each lecture with a brief overview of the previous class and what will be covered during the current class
  • Give assignments both orally and in written form
  • Meet with students when you have concerns about their progress
  • Verbally discuss information on the board or transparencies
  • Allow students to tape record lectures
  • Prepare and distribute course handouts in advance
  • Approach teaching and learning from a multi-sensory perspective
  • Encourage study groups
  • Encourage utilizing faculty office hours
  • Provide access to lecture outlines, notes or copies of overheads during class

Level Double-A conformance icon, 
          W3C-WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

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