Discover Your Island

The 411

We know you are busy and hope you will read all the resources in the Faculty Guide; however, in the meantime, here’s some basic information to get you started.

  1. Syllabus preparation: Include a statement in your syllabus.

  2. First day of class: Announce it.

  3. The Accommodation Letter: Students must bring you an Accommodation Letter before you can accommodate them.

  4. Scheduling/Rescheduling Exams: Students will need you to sign their Exam/Quiz Schedule/Change form during the first week of classes.

  5. Test administration: The “Pink Sheet” Testing Conditions Form (completed by you) must accompany every exam we administer for you.

  6. Please Don’t: A few reminders.

  7. Please Do: Use us as a resource.

Syllabus Preparation:

Include a statement in your syllabus. Students with disabilities must self–identify. To encourage self–identification, it is highly recommended that you include a statement in your syllabus such as:

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please call or visit Disability Services at (361) 825-5816 in Corpus Christi Hall, Room 116.

If you are a returning veteran and are experiencing cognitive and/or physical access issues in the classroom or on campus, please contact the Disability Services office for assistance at (361) 825-5816.”

First Day of Class:

Make an announcement. Whether or not you typically read through your entire syllabus with your class, we suggest you make an oral announcement that:

  1. Encourages self–identification,

  2. Directs students with disabilities to meet with you to discuss their accommodation needs, and

  3. Provides students with information about the Disability Services Office.

Going over a statement such as the sample in item #1 above is adequate; however, also let students know the variety of ways they may deliver their accommodation letter to you (e.g., before or after class, during office hours, your mailbox).

The Accommodation Letter (Faculty Notification Letter/FNL):

You must have received a Faculty Notification Letter (FNL) via email from the Disability Services Office OR students must bring you an Accommodation Letter before you can accommodate them. This letter describes in general terms the appropriate academic accommodations for the student's disability and for your class. Because general terms are used in the letters, it may be necessary to contact the DS office (361-825-5816) to determine exactly how to implement the accommodation.

If a student identifies herself or himself as having a disability and you have not received a letter, ask, “Do you have your Accommodation Letter from the Disability Services’ office?” If the student does not have a letter, feel free to continue to discuss the concerns with the student; however, make sure the student knows you will need the letter before you can implement any accommodations. Students are required to register with the DS office every semester. If a student says, “I registered last semester,” remind the student that they have to register every semester and refer them to our office.

Students who have pre-registered with the DS office should have letters by the time classes start. Students who have not pre-registered or who have added your class after the pre-registration period will receive their letters within 7 business days of notifying our office that they need a letter for your class. If the student states that they requested the FNL to be sent, but you don’t have it, please contact our office to verify that a letter was generated for your class for that student.

Scheduling/Rescheduling Exams:

Please refer to our AIM Guide for Instructors

Test Administration:

 The Testing Agreement Form (completed by you) must accompany every exam we administer for you. You will complete a brief checklist to accompany every exam that you send to our office for administration. This checklist will let us know exactly what items students may have with them during the exam (e.g., notes, calculator, scratch paper).  If you allow the same items for all your exams, you only need to fill out one, however, if your allowable items change with each exam, we ask that you fill one out for each exam. REMINDER: This form is extremely important. It helps us maintain the integrity of your exam. If you need additional forms, let us know.

Please Don’t:

A Few Reminders:

  1. Ask students to disclose their specific disabilities. They may voluntarily do so, but it is a violation of their rights for you to ask them.

  2. Include student names in e–mails that identify them as a student serviced by our office unless you have verification from our staff that the student has given permission for us to communicate with you in this manner.

  3. Tell the students they have “unlimited time” or “as much time as you want” on an exam. An accommodation may be “extended time” [typically 1.5 to 2 times the amount of time allotted in class]. Sometimes the accommodation is not extended time, but rather testing in a reduced distraction environment. “Unlimited time” is never an accommodation.

  4. Ignore the Accommodation Letters. To do so is a violation of federal law and places the University at great legal risk. Once specific accommodations are approved, only the student has the right to decline them.

  5. Provide additional accommodations for which you have not received documentation from the DS office without talking with the Director, Associate Director, or an Accommodations Counselor first. Some students may choose to bypass registering with the DS office and attempt to arrange accommodations directly with you. Always refer these students to our office unless it is a modification you plan to offer to every student in your class.

Please Do:

Use us as a resource. Call us or come by anytime you have a question, concern, or suggestion related to a student with a disability or their academic accommodations.

At times you may suspect that a student has a disability but the student has not self–identified. Feel free to contact the DS office about ways in which to refer these students to our office. Keep in mind we are also available to speak to your class or campus organization on topics related to individuals with disabilities.