Working with Professors
The following information is meant as a general guide for students registered with the Acessible Education Center (AEC) in working with professors to arrange academic accommodations and communicate effectively.
When discussing any disability or accommodations related issues, it is best to meet during the professors’ office hours which are usually listed on the course syllabi. Meeting in a more relaxed, one on one setting with professors gives students plenty of time to discuss matters with their professor in a private, comfortable, reduced-distraction environment.
- Meet with professors as soon as possible once the semester begins and periodically throughout the semester.
- Schedule specific appointments. This ensures you will have enough time to speak to your professor to discuss test accommodations or other challenges you may be facing in the class.
- Set up meetings with faculty in person or via an email such as the one below. It is recommended students write CONFIDENTIAL in the subject line of the email.
Hello Dr. Wright,
My name is Marc Lane and I’m a student in your Comm 20 Class on M/W at 2:15. I’m currently registered with the Accessible Education Center and would like to set up a meeting with you to discuss the class and the testing accommodations I will be using this semester. Could we meet for a half an hour during your office hours on September 1st at 4:00 pm?
- During your appointment ask questions to clarify statements from the professor. Repeat what you heard back to the professor to make sure both understand. Take notes during the conversation to capture all that is communicated.
- If you have trouble getting in touch with your professor, be persistent and talk with them for a couple of minutes before or after class over several class meetings.
- Avoid sending e-mails that include information you would not feel comfortable saying in person. Do not send e-mails in ALL CAPS.
- If there is a breakdown in communication, take a deep breath. Then, contact the AEC to schedule an appointment to meet with a counselor.
Discussing Sensitive and Confidential Information
- Under legal mandates and University policy governing confidentiality, faculty members are committed to confidentiality regarding information you disclose to them personally, on the test accommodation form, or by other means of written communication. Confidentiality protection also applies to information professors gain through contacts with the AEC.
- Your professors may ask for more information from you than is written on the AEC accommodation form or memo to try to make you feel comfortable or provide helpful information related to your academic success and curriculum access. You should feel comfortable answering questions related to the accommodations requested.
- You are not obligated to give any personal information you feel does not relate to the accommodations requested. Legally you are not required to disclose the nature of your disability or to submit copies of disability documentation to other University departments or personnel once you have become a registered student with the AEC.
- You are invited to meet with a AEC counselor when deliberating about how much disability-related information to share.
For many students, well-executed accommodations mean the difference between success and failure. Read the following tips for working with your professors to use accommodations.
- Submit a Test Accommodation Request in MyAEC at least 5 business days prior to the exam date.
- When scheduling your exam, consider your own class schedule and any extended time you receive when testing. You and your professor MUST agree on a date and time for your exam. Your professor should send written approval to the AEC is you wish to test at an alternate time from when the class is testing.
- Remember! Rescheduling an exam can only be done with the professor's approval. The professor may contact the AEC by phone for a verbal approval, memo, or email.
- Professors can accommodate students themselves if they are able to provide the equivalent prescribed accommodations as the AEC can provide to you. You may ask to see the testing area or accommodations professors are proposing ahead of time to determine whether the environment is conducive to testing and the equipment is accessible. If your professor offers to provide you accommodations that you feel are not equivalent to the accommodations provided by the AEC, it is recommended you contact the AEC.
- If you are using assistive technology, alternative media, or testing services you are encouraged to invite your professors to set up a time to tour the AEC’s Testing Room in IS 223 or Center for Accessible Technology in the MLK Library.
- For those students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, your professor is provided a copy of the “Very Important Guidelines” from the Interpreter [pdf]/Captioner [pdf]. If these accommodations are not utilized then you can go to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program Office for alternate support.
For details on how to arrange specific accommodations with faculty, refer to the following links: