Faculty FAQs

The questions frequently asked by faculty of DPRC staff are listed below with introductory answers. Please contact the DPRC at dprc@sfsu.edu or 415-338-2472 for additional information.

I am an employee with a disability and am interested in requesting employment accommodations for my job or faculty assignment, who do I contact?

Please see the Employee Accommodations page for more information.

What is the Disability Program and Resource Center (DPRC) Office?

The best answer is our mission statement.

The DPRC collaborates with SF State's diverse community to ensure that all aspects of campus life - learning, working and living - are universally accessible. The DPRC provides the University with resources, education and direct services in order that people with disabilities may have a greater opportunity to achieve social justice and equity.

Do you have a Disability Access Statement that I can add to my course syllabus?

Yes, the DPRC has developed the following Disability Access Statement for course syllabi:

"Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor. The Disability Programs and Resource Center is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC, located in SSB 110, can be reached by telephone at 338-2472 (voice/TTY) or by e-mail at dprc@sfsu.edu.

It is University policy to provide, on a flexible and individualized basis, reasonable accommodations to students who have disabilities that may impact how they participate in course activities or meet course requirements. Students with documented disabilities must register with the DPRC to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. They are encouraged to contact their instructors to discuss their individual needs for accommodation; instructors are encouraged to contact the DPRC for assistance in providing accommodations.

Attendance Policy: Please include a clear policy on attendance and its role in your grading scheme, if any.  This is helpful for all students to know and understand at the beginning of the semester.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

Please see either Common Accommodations for Students or Common Accommodations for Employees

How will I know if a student needs an accommodation in my classroom?

The student will give you a “Reasonable Accommodations Verification” document that verifies that they are qualified to receive accommodations. This document also states what types of accommodations students will need. Faculty who are presented with this document by a student and have questions about the contents are encouraged to discuss them directly with the student; in the event questions remain, faculty should contact the DPRC at 415-338-2472 for further clarification.

May I accommodate a student on my own?

Yes, if you have the resources to provide the approved accommodations listed on the “Reasonable Accommodations Verification” document. Please note that DPRC does not recommend providing accommodations other than those listed on the Reasonable Accommodations Verification document without consultation with DPRC.

Am I required to provide accommodations to a student that notifies me late in the term?

Yes. There could be numerous reasons why a student makes a late request. Perhaps he or she could not get documentation of his or her disability any earlier, and therefore could not initiate accommodations earlier. Some students try to take a class without accommodations and end up realizing that they are experiencing a barrier to access and need to use them. However, DPRC strongly encourages students to submit their accommodation request early in the semester, or immediately upon a change in their disability or condition when applicable.

What are my responsibilities if a student discloses their disability to me?

Be supportive and inform the student that you are willing to work with them to be sure that they receive the accommodations they need to assure equal access to the academic experience. Read over the student’s “Reasonable Accommodations Verification” document, outlining the approved accommodations that the student is eligible to use. Refer the student to the DPRC or more information about reasonable accommodations if you have not already done so.

How do I provide exams with accommodations?

Students can schedule your exams and/or quizzes to be administered with accommodations through DPRC by completing the “Exam Accommodations Request” (EAR) form with you. This form should be presented to you along with the student's Reasonable Accommodation Verification (RAV) form.

You are welcome to provide the exam accommodation in the classroom if the student agrees to this and you are able to provide all accommodations listed on the RAV form. For more information about DPRC proctored exam accommodations and your rights and responsibilities within the Exam Accommodations process, please visit the Exam Accommodations page.

Am I responsible for finding a note taker for a student?

No, the student is responsible. In most cases, DPRC facilitates volunteer note taker selection The student might ask an instructor to make an announcement to the class that a note taker is needed.

May I look at student documentation concerning disability or ask about the specific nature of a disability?

The student's documentation is given in confidence to the DPRC’s specialists. By law, students have the right not to share any information about the nature of their disability. However, some students may choose to share disability information with you. As long as a student has presented you with their “Reasonable Accommodations Verification” document from DPRC, you are required to implement the accommodations. Faculty who have questions about the implementation of accommodations listed on this document are encouraged to talk with the student and contact DPRC if needed.

A student approached me after class and told me that he has a disability and would like accommodations although he did not provide me with authorization from the DPRC. Do I provide the accommodations?

You are under no obligation to provide accommodations to students who do not have a “Reasonable Accommodations Verification” document from the DPRC office. Direct that student to the DPRC office so that a DPRC specialist and the student, together, can determine what accommodations are needed to meet that student's needs, and if the student is eligible for the requested accommodations. That said, you are welcome to provide provisional classroom accommodations while the student completes the DPRC registration process. Please contact DPRC for advice on providing provisional accommodations not listed on the “Reasonable Accommodations Verification” document.

How does the timing of when I identify instructional materials for a class I will be teaching in the upcoming term impact students with disabilities?

Since instructional materials need to be accessible to all students with or without disabilities, it’s important to select your instructional materials as early as possible before the start of the term. Students who are blind, have low vision, or are diagnosed with a reading disorder will access print materials in an alternate form such as electronic text, an audio format or Braille. Students who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing use captioning to access multimedia. The DPRC coordinates conversion of print materials and captioning of multimedia. These processes can be time consuming. Selecting your instructional materials early allows the DPRC to help make your instructional materials accessible so that all students have equal access starting on the first day of class.

You may find the following related links helpful.

What is Universal Design for Learning?

Learn about Universal Design for Learning on the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development website.

There is a student in my class who tells me that she has a disability even though it does not look like she has a disability. How do I know if she really has one?

Disabilities are often described as "visible or invisible." Invisible disabilities are those in which the characteristics are not obvious to an independent observer, and may involve cognitive processing or psychological challenges. Typical invisible disabilities include learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, traumatic brain injuries, several health impairments and psychological impairments. Encourage students to get a “Reasonable Accommodations Verification” document from the DPRC office. The specialist reviews student documentation to determine if the student has a disability and authorizes appropriate accommodations.

What kinds of disabilities will I see in my classroom?

Students with all types of disabilities attend SF State. Common disabilities include learning disabilities, blindness, deafness, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychological disabilities, motor/orthopedic disabilities and chronic health conditions.

How should I handle a disruptive student whose behavior may be related to the student’s disability?

Faculty should work closely with DPRC staff to address disruptive behavior that may be related to a student's disability. Faculty should understand that while they are required to provide reasonable accommodations to students with disabilities, they are not required to tolerate behavior that is substantially disruptive to their ability to teach and to other students' ability to learn. Indeed, students with disabilities should be held to the same code of conduct as all other members of the campus community. In most cases, students with disabilities have the capacity to exhibit appropriate behavior at all times. However, if a student's disruptive behavior cannot be contained please contact the Counseling and Psychological Services Center or University Police Department for immediate assistance.

What if I suspect that a student who is having difficulty in my class has a disability?

Approach the student as you would any other student having difficulty in the class. Inquire about what might be impacting the student's progress in the class. A student with a disability will likely disclose at this time if the difficulties are disability-related. Refer the student to the DPRC if they disclose a disability or suspects they may have a disability. You may also provide students with a list of campus resources such as the Learning Assistance Center or the Student Success Program and include the DPRC in that list.

May I require students who I think have a disability to register with the DPRC for reasonable accommodations?

No student can be required to register with the DPRC; it is an individual choice. However, you may strongly encourage the student and let them know that it may be in their best interest to contact DPRC. A student must be registered with the DPRC in order to receive reasonable accommodations on campus.

What are best practices for teaching Deaf or hard-of-hearing students or working with a sign language interpreters or real-time captioners?

Please read Tips for using Interpreters and Tips for using real-time captioners.

What is the policy on campus regarding service animals?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animals’ presence may compromise a sterile environment.

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. Additional information on this subject is available on the ADA website.

Please note that emotional support animals may or may not be considered service animals. The DPRC may determine collaboratively with you whether or not the request for an animal rises to the level of reasonable accommodation. For more information about current practices regarding service and support animals at SF State, please see your Disability Specialist.