OAS Syllabus Statement

Many faculty have found it highly effective and helpful to include a syllabus statement which directs students with disabilities in need of accommodations to the Office of Accessibility Services. Please copy and paste the following statement into your syllabus:

Students who need accommodations because of a disability may contact the UVU Office of Accessibility Services (OAS), located on the Orem Campus in LC 312. To schedule an appointment or to speak with a counselor, call the OAS office at 801-863-8747. Deaf/Hard of Hearing individuals, email nicole.hemmingsen@uvu.edu or text 385-208-2677.

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Supporting Students with Disabilities

Utah Valley University strives to create an environment of access and inclusion for all students. Many students with disabilities are already working with the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS). However, many students first disclose their disability or academic concerns to a faculty/staff member before establishing services with OAS. In the event that a student comes to you to first to share a concern about their disability or health concern, here are some ways to connect them with our office.

Making a Referral to the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS)

Students with disabilities experience functional limitations that may pose a barrier to access in the academic setting. OAS works with a wide range of students experiencing various disabilities. In addition to working with students with physical and sensory disabilities, OAS also works with students who have:

  • Psychological diagnoses such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, or PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Specific learning disabilities in reading, writing, or math
  • Chronic health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injuries, Crohn’s Disease, seizure disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, or diabetes
  • Autism

This is not an exhaustive list, but it does represent common reasons for which students seek services through OAS. Many students may not initially be aware of the services offered at OAS and will first share information about their conditions with faculty.

Please do not issue any accommodations for a student unless you have received an official Letter of Accommodation for the current semester from the Office of Accessibility Services. Please implement only those accommodations that are listed on the Letter of Accommodation from and refrain from adding additional accommodations.

If you have questions about whether OAS is an appropriate resource for a student, or you have questions about the accommodation process, you may contact our office at: 801-863-8747.

When a direct referral to OAS is appropriate

  • If a student directly discloses a disability or health condition to you
    • Example: a student shares with you that they have depression and are taking medication and would like some help with their courses
  • A student discloses receiving past accommodations or services either as a transfer student or through an IEP in high school
    • Example: a student shares that they previously had extra time on an exam in another course or school and want to use that accommodation in your class

When an indirect referral to OAS is appropriate

If a student is struggling in your class, don’t automatically assume that it means the student has a disability. There are many different factors that can cause a student to experience academic difficulty. If you notice that a student is struggling in your class, or the student comes to you for help but chooses not to disclose specific information, the best course of action is to engage with the student directly and simply share information about various campus resources available to them such as:

  • Tutoring labs (academic tutoring lab and math lab)
  • Writing Center
  • Office of Accessibility Services
  • Learning Strategist
  • SCUP (fee based private tutoring)
  • Student Health Services

This allows the student to make the determination as to which resources may best meet their needs given their current situation. A full list of UVU resources can be found through the Office of Teaching and Learning.

Student confidentiality and right to self-disclosure

Only the student can decide to disclose their disability, or to pursue information about services available in the OAS offices. It is not appropriate to directly ask a student if they have a disability based on an assumption, ask what their diagnosis is, or to share information about a student’s disability with other members of the class. It is essential that all information obtained about a student’s disability, either through a student’s self-disclosure to you or via a Letter of Accommodation issued by OAS, be kept confidential. All information that a student shares with a faculty member is to be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of study, and those conversations should be held in private.

Additional Resources in Creating Accessible Classrooms or Programs

Creating accessible instructional materials

ACCESSIBILITY FOR INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS: GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR DOCUMENTS

Providing accessible instructional materials for your classes is for the benefit of all of your students as accessibility removes the barriers students may face from obtaining the information you provide as a professor. Making your instructional materials accessible allows assistive technology—such as screen-reading software—to read aloud the content for users who cannot see the content. Screen-reading software is commonly used by people with visual impairments and sometimes those with learning disabilities.

Addressing accessibility in documents you are using as instructional material can be accomplished with features and tools in Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat Professional. Though the actual implementation may differ between software applications, a number of concepts are similar, and it is therefore important to understand the technical foundation of accessibility.

Receiving a Letter of Accommodation from OAS

Formal requests for accommodations will come to you in an official Letter of Accommodation from OAS. It will be sent to you via email to your UVU account on record. The accommodations outlined is these letters are not designed to give students with disabilities an unfair advantage, but rather to give them an equal opportunity to demonstrate mastery of course content.

Although a student may request an academic accommodation at any time with our office, the student should make the request as early as possible since accommodations are not retroactive. Some accommodations may take more time to implement than others. The student should follow established procedures to ensure that OAS has enough time to review the request and provide an appropriate accommodation.

OAS does not ask or require instructors to modify essential course requirements for the sake of the student. All students, regardless of disability, are expected to complete all the requirements of the course. If a faculty member feels that an approved accommodation would alter the essential elements of the course, it is essential that they consult with the OAS counselor named on the Letter of Accommodation to determine appropriate actions and solutions.

Faculty Responsibilities and Resources

Overview

Students receive accommodations through the Office of Accessibility Services (OAS).  Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case through an interactive process between the student and the OAS counselor.  The interactive process includes: OAS application completed by the student, documentation of disability, OAS Intake Meeting, and any follow-up needed to ensure reasonable accommodations have been considered. 

 

OAS provides accommodations to students based on the functional limitations of a disability.  Accommodations are approved so long as doing so does not impose an undue hardship on the university or fundamentally alter the educational program.  OAS partners with the student, faculty, and appropriate campus departments to establish the accommodations needed to remove the student’s unique access barriers.

Guidelines for Faculty

Faculty who receive an official Letter of Accommodation (LOA) from OAS are responsible to provide the listed accommodations in a timely manner.  Other responsibilities include:

  • Provide only the accommodations outlined in the LOA.  No other accommodations should be implemented unless it is an accommodation they are willing to offer all students in the class.
  • Contact OAS if there are questions or concerns about a listed accommodation and/or for assistance in identifying the best method for implementing a particular accommodation. 
  • If a student is requesting accommodations, but you have not received a current LOA, refer that student to OAS.
  • Ensure that instructional materials are accessible.  Assistance is available through the  Assistive Technology Lab and the EIT coordinator located in the Fulton Library, room 111. 
  • Keep accommodation information confidential.  Faculty should not ask students about the nature of their disability, request documentation from the student, or share information with the class.
  • Implement best practices in teaching a diverse population of learners. 

Resources

OAS resources for faculty

The OAS serves students and faculty equally.  We assist students with disabilities once they are admitted to UVU by facilitating accommodations for the purpose of ensuring equal access.  For faculty, we are your resource and collaborator in ensuring the academic accommodations are in place and effective.  If you have questions or concerns regarding the implementation of an accommodation, OAS is here to help you.  We provide a variety of resources to assist faculty, including but not limited to:

 

  • Problem solving/assisting with establishing accommodations in the classroom
  • Providing consultation on how best to work with various types of disabilities
  • Assisting faculty in ensuring they have accessible course materials
  • Providing faculty training, support, and educational resources

 

Faculty resources for working with students with disabilities

 

Confidentiality

It is the student’s choice whether to disclose the nature of their disability to faculty.  Asking a student for more details regarding their disability is not permitted.  OAS can and will discuss student information with faculty as it pertains to the LOA, but will not discuss the student’s diagnosis or details of their condition or documentation.