For Students > Support Programs > Disability Resource Center > For Faculty > Faculty Handbook




Revised January 2010



Universal Design
In every classroom, there are usually one or more disabled students. Sometimes they self-identify (or over-identify.) Sometimes students do not self-identify because they are embarrassed.

Think of it this way: When you are in a meeting and you can't hear the speaker, you don't always ask the moderator to speak up, because you may not want to interrupt, or draw attention to yourself --especially if you appear to be the only one who is having a problem! Your students feel the same way! They may not see or hear everything that is going on; they may not understand everything you are explaining, but they do not self-identify, because they do not want to appear foolish.

When you prepare your lessons, your handouts, your web page, and other materials, assume that there will be students who cannot hear well, read well, see small print, or quickly grasp numerical functions. Prepare your lessons accordingly. Your “regular” students will not be inconvenienced if you use large print, or show captioned DVDs, and it might help them learn better too!

An accommodation is an adjustment that Mendocino College will offer, to create “a level playing field,” so that a student can succeed in their coursework.

A simple example: Nicole has poor vision. She comes to class, and the instructor passes out a quiz that she can’t even see. How well is Nicole going to do on this quiz, if she can’t even read it?

Solution: Nicole enrolls with the DRC, and all her quizzes are enlarged so she can read them. The next time there’s a quiz, the instructor gives Nicole the enlarged version, and she takes the test like anyone else. Does Nicole have a special advantage, because her exams are enlarged? No!  But she but now she has an equal chance of doing well on the exam, just like any other student in the class. The accommodation has created “a level playing field,” for Nicole to succeed.

Please Note:
Neither classroom assignments nor instructor expectations are modified for DRC students; instead, services and accommodations are provided to help DRC students succeed in the same coursework as their peers. This protects the integrity of our programs

The Americans with Disabilities Act is Civil Rights Legislation that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Mendocino College complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, providing accommodations such as:
* Disabled parking spaces.
* Automatic doors.
* Accessible bathrooms, telephones, drinking fountains, walkways.
* Wheelchair-accessible desks.
* Braille maps and signage.
* TTY telephone for Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
* Visual (flashing) fire alarms.

The ADA defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity." Exclusions include active substance abuse, and vision impairment that is correctable by prescription lenses.

ADA accommodations are available to all students, employees, prospective employees, and visitors as a matter of Public Access and ADA compliance.

Learning Disability
Learning Disabilities are individual differences in how students receive, process, store, and respond to information. A Learning Disability doesn’t mean the student is “dumb.” In fact, people with low IQ are NEVER diagnosed as Learning Disabled (LD), because to be Learning Disabled, you must have an IQ that is average or above. About 10% of the population is Learning Disabled.

LD students who have trouble taking in information auditory may tape record your lectures, so they can listen to them over again at home. Other students may be dyslexic, and will listen to an audio of their textbook. If students are very distractible, a Counselor may authorize them to take their exams in a distraction-reduced environment (Learning Center,) or give them extra time.

LD accommodations do not give students an advantage; they only “create a level playing field,” so these students can succeed in your class.

Letter of Accommodation
Students who require classroom accommodations will get a document entitled, “REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES." The “Accommodations Letter” will be signed by the Counselor, and will indicate the classroom accommodations to which the student is entitled.

Very Important: The Letter of Accommodation does not reveal the nature of the student's disability. The Instructor does not need to know that information in order to assist with the accommodation. Students are under no obligation to divulge personal information to the Instructor, though they often do.

Faculty responsibilities
When your student presents you with an Accommodations Letter, your responsibility is to read it, sign it, and send the original signed copy to the Disability Resources Center, via the inter-office mail. Your signature on the Accommodations Letter acknowledges that you have been informed of the student needs, and of your responsibility to assure that the student gets the prescribed accommodations.

Student responsibilities
The student’s responsibility is to present an Accommodations Letter to each instructor, and to communicate with instructors and staff if there are issues or adjustments needed.

Types of accommodation

Extra Time on Tests
Students may need extra time on tests due to Learning Disabilities, carpel tunnel, low vision, or other conditions. In this case, you will need to make arrangements to have the exam proctored in the Learning Center, instructing them to allow the prescribed additional time (e.g. time-and-a-half, or double-time.) Contact Learning Center staff for current procedures and protocols. 468-3046.

Distraction-Reduced Setting
This means the student will test more accurately without the distraction of other students in the classroom. These students will need to have their exams proctored in the Learning Center. Contact Learning Center staff for current procedures and protocols.

Enlarged Print
Students with low vision or other conditions need large-print to access exams, handouts, textbooks, and other instructional materials. (24-point font is the default requirement.)The Alternate Media Specialist will contact you to make arrangements.

Sign Language Interpreting
Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing require sign language interpreting. These services are coordinated by the Alternate Media Specialist. Your responsibility is to inform the Alternate Media Specialist in advance when there are changes in the schedule (cancelled classes, field trips etc.) You must also assure that all instructional videos are captioned, and that you provide a transcript of any audio materials. If you have questions about this, please contact the Alternate Media Specialist. 468-3214.

Audio Amplification
Students who are Hard of Hearing may use hearing aids or different types of audio amplification devices. Some of these devices require preferential seating; some require the faculty to wear a microphone. Faculty responsibility is to assure that the student gets the seating they need, to wear the microphone, if required, and to speak clearly and loudly, facing the students whenever possible.

Note Taker
Students with hearing loss, learning disabilities, carpel tunnel, or other conditions may require the services of an in-class note taker. If a student needs a note taker, the faculty must announce that there is a need for a note taker and to recruit a volunteer. Volunteers are un-paid, but there is no additional work required; the student takes their notes on NCR paper provided by DRC, and they give the student a copy after each class. If no one volunteers, it is the faculty responsibility to inform the DRC, so alternate arrangements can be made.

A scribe is used when a student is unable to write an exam, due to a temporary or permanent condition, (broken arm, Cerebral Palsy, etc.) These students will need to take exams and in-class quizzes in the Learning Center. Contact DRC staff for exact procedures and protocols.

Tape Recorder
Some students need to record lectures for later review. This is a legally mandated accommodation, and Faculty cannot refuse to let students record. Students sign an agreement to use the lectures only for their personal study and review.

Preferential Seating
Some students need to sit in the front of the classroom so they can see better, hear better, or concentrate better. Other students need specialized seating to accommodate a motorized wheelchair or other adaptive equipment. Faculty responsibility is to assure that the student gets access to the seating they need to learn best.

Use of an In-Class Computer
Some students need to use a computer to take notes, view enlarged text, or access other software accommodations. Faculty responsibility is to assure that students have access to their laptop.

Special Testing Arrangements
Some students have a disability that prevents them from testing accurately in the regular classroom setting. Special testing accommodations must be recommended by a DRC Counselor or Learning Disability Specialist, and must be directly related to the student’s disability-related educational limitations.  Accommodations may include:
* Extended time to complete the exam
* A distraction-reduced environment
* A reader and/or scribe
* Use of special equipment or software that is not available in the classroom.

Please Note: “Extended Time” is only granted if it is determined to be appropriate by the DRC professional staff. It is also to be used only for in-class, timed exams. Extended time is not applicable for long-term projects such as take-home exams or term papers.


Student Conduct
Students with disabilities are expected to observe the same policies governing all students, including the Student Code of Conduct. Having a disability does not change this fact! Our goal is to maintain a safe and productive environment for everyone here: students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
If you have a student conduct issue with a DRC student, handle it the same way you would handle many other classroom behavior situation. You may wish to speak with your mentor, Dean of Instruction, or the Dean of Student Services.

The Role of Parents and other Advocates
Often times, students with long-term disabilities may have parents, friends, aides, or agency advocates who help them get to school, or even accompany them into the classroom. These advocates are accustomed to being involved in decision-making.
While we appreciate the assistance of community advocates, it is our goal at the DRC to help students to become as independent as possible.
For that reason, our preference is that students who are able, will attend class by themselves, and will develop independent transportation strategies to the extent possible. DRC Counselors follow to a Student Learning Outcome strategy that helps move the student toward independence and self-sufficiency.

Information in DRC student files is confidential, as is all student record information. But do not let this fact inhibit you from communicating clear expectations with your students, or from enforcing student conduct rules in the classroom. If a DRC student is not doing well in your class, submit an Early Alert, as you would for any other student. If a DRC student is begin disruptive in class, follow the same procedures you would for any student in your class.

One helpful rule-of-thumb is to use the confidentiality guidelines that you would follow for a minor or high school student in your class. That is, be careful not to release information to a parent or other agency that calls, unless you have a written release. Even if the parent or advocate is present, it is good practice to ask specifically, “Is it okay to discuss this, or would you prefer to speak privately?”

DRC Student is taking up your Time
Instructors are not tutors or Counselors.  We recommend that you include language to that effect in your syllabus. Students should be directed to make an appointment to see you during office hours, and not be allowed to monopolize your time before and after class. Students who need tutoring or counseling services should be directed to discuss this with their Counselor. Please contact the Dean of Student Services about issues that are emergent or troubling.

Working with Sign Language Interpreters
The DRC will arrange Sign Language Interpreters for your students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Usually the same interpreter will interpreter for the entire semester, but not always. You don’t need to do anything differently when working with an Interpreter, except that the Interpreter will sometimes need copy of the textbook and syllabus. This is especially true with foreign languages, and courses with specialized vocabulary (e.g. Science or Math.)
When speaking with your student through an Interpreter, look at the student, not the interpreter. 

Created: January 12, 2010 @ 02:46 PM
Last Modified: February 23, 2012 @ 03:45 PM


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