Student Accessibility Services

Collaboration

Students with disabilities, faculty, and Student Accessibility Services (SAS) have rights and responsibilities regarding reasonable accommodations. Faculty play an important role in creating and maintaining an accessible learning environment while at the same time maintaining academic standards. SAS fosters collaborative efforts among all parties to ensure equal access and serves as a resource for University of Northern Iowa faculty members and departments. We are available for consultations on accessibility in the curriculum and on teaching and interacting with students with disabilities. We can meet individually with faculty or provide a presentation to a class, departmental meeting, or a larger group. To request a consultation, please contact our department either at (319) 273-2677 (deaf or hard-of-hearing, use Relay 711) or accessibilityservices@uni.edu.

The accommodation process is a partnership. Accommodations should not compromise the essential design and learning outcomes of the course. During our analysis of accommodations, the following questions are several key aspects we take into consideration:

  • What does the syllabus state regarding attendance and missed deadlines? How has the instructor made exceptions to these policies in the past?
  • Are attendance and/or participation factored in as past of the course grade? If so, how?
  • Is there any flexibility regarding attendance or assignments already built into the course?
  • Is the format of instruction primarily lecture or interactive? Does instruction and learning rely on specific elements from the previous session or assignment?
  • Do student contributions constitute a significant component of the learning process (e.g., discussion, presentations, group work, role plays)? What is the impact on the educational experience of other students in the class if a student is absent, missed a deadline, or is given an alternate means to the learning process?

Examples of application of reasonable accommodations:

If the course is mostly lecture based and involves little student interaction during class, then more flexibility with excused absences/participation points is reasonable. If the course is mostly experiential or discussion based, the in-class content is not recreated elsewhere, and/or involves significant student interaction, then less flexibility with excused absences/participation points is reasonable. 

If modifying exam dates and deadlines would not substantially impact the flow or design of the course, then more flexibility with exam dates and deadlines is reasonable. For example, it may be reasonable to allow a research paper to be turned in a few days late if it would not impact the overall progression of the course. On the other hand, it may be unreasonable to modify an assignment due date that is based on a journal's publication deadline.

If you have any questions about the accommodation process or accommodations that have been provided to a student in your course, please contact SAS directly. We are happy to consult with you while addressing your concerns.