4. Consulting with the McBurney Center (Instructor Guide to Student Accommodations)

When to connect

Most of the time, your conversations with students to review the information in Student Accommodation Letters will allow you to set up a good working plan to support them in your course. But, sometimes you’ll want to talk with experts in disability support. The McBurney Center staff, and particularly each student’s Access Consultant, is here to help whenever you have questions.

We especially recommend talking with McBurney Center staff in the following situations and before taking action:

  • You or your students have questions about how to implement an accommodation. Some accommodations are pretty straightforward, such as extra time on exams and quizzes. Others are unique to each student and class, such as “limited flexibility” accommodations.
  • A student requires materials or an exam in an uncommon format (e.g., Braille, text-to-speech software). The McBurney Center staff can connect you with resources and/or assist you in creating alternative format materials and exams.
  • The accommodation would go against a class policy, such as not using technology during class. The McBurney Center staff can help you examine policies and find good ways for students to meet your learning outcomes.
  • A student requests to use their own computer during exams or quizzes. When students need technology tools to help them with basic tasks like reading or writing, the McBurney Center staff can help you to set up testing conditions that honor their needs as well as exam integrity.
  • You are unsure how course activities or content could be modified to address the accommodation. If, after reading the Student Accommodation Letter and talking with the student, you are unsure how to accommodate their needs, the McBurney Center staff can often suggest solutions.
  • You are unsure how an accommodation relates to a course activity. Not every activity and interaction in your course will require students’ accommodations to be applied. The McBurney Center staff can help with the decision process.
  • A student request does not match or relate to what is on their Student Accommodation Letter. The McBurney Center staff can help clarify if what a student is requesting is covered by their approved accommodations, is a request for additional support, or indicates a need for a new accommodation.
  • You are considering denying an accommodation request. The McBurney Center staff can help you determine if an accommodation is unreasonable or if it would fundamentally alter the expectations and objectives of your course.

The law requires universities to provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. The McBurney Center is the Campus Disability Authority to verify disability status and determine reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Accommodations may require additional effort or a different way of engaging with your class, but this is generally considered reasonable under the law. If you believe an accommodation is unreasonable for your course, please contact the student’s Access Consultant.

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