Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is an accommodation?

An academic accommodation is defined as any alteration in the usual manner of teaching, demonstrating, or evaluating a course objective, that enables a qualified student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to participate in the educational experience.

How do you determine accommodations?

The particular accommodations that a student utilizes will depend upon his or her particular characteristics and needs, as well as the demands of the course and learning environment. Accommodations are developed from the individual student's documentation that is provided to the University. Two students with the same disability may qualify for and be eligible to receive different accommodations.

Am I being fair to other students by granting one student an accommodation?

Appropriate accommodations do not compromise the essential elements of the course, nor do they weaken the academic standards or integrity of the course. Accommodations simply provide an alternative way of accomplishing the course requirements by eliminating or reducing disability-related barriers. The goal of accommodations is to provide a level playing field, not an unfair advantage.

When do I have to comply with a student's request for accommodations?

The law provides the student with a disability the right to request accommodations from the college once he or she has provided the college with appropriate documentation . In some cases North Park University allows for temporary services while a student is in the process of obtaining documentation of a disability. The documentation is kept by the Office of Student Enrichment Services and Support (traditional undergraduate students) and the program director for all other programs, and is held in a confidential manner. The University asks that the student discuss her or his disability with Office of Student Enrichment Services and Support and/or his or her program director, and follow their process for communicating with the faculty. When you receive the request for accommodations in the form of a Letter of Notification, you should honor it.

What happens if I do not provide the formally requested accommodation?

The student can take legal action against you and/or the institution. Denial of accommodations could be considered a violation of a student's civil rights. Colleges and universities cannot discriminate against qualified people with disabilities in recruitment, admission, or treatment after admission. If you have concerns about a particular accommodation request you should discuss it with the Office of Student Enrichment Services and Support for traditional undergraduate students and/or the program director for all other students.

How do I know if a student is “faking” his or her disability?

The University has policies and procedures for the documentation needed for each disability. It is the job of the Office of Student Enrichment Services and Support and/or the program director to determine eligibility for accommodations. Faculty members should not expect to see diagnostic information.

A student came to me in the middle of the semester and said she or he has a disability, but I never knew that. What do I do?

In the college setting, the student with a disability is responsible for requesting and initiating all disability-related services and accommodations. An instructor should immediately refer the student to the Office of Student Enrichment Services and Support and/or the student's program director. An instructor should not provide accommodations on her or his own. Accommodations can begin as soon as a student has contacted one of those offices.

How can I encourage the student to talk to me about her or his disability?

Each student has the right to determine when, and if to disclose the nature of her or his disability to the faculty. We know that communication is important and we encourage students to discuss their learning needs, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Some students, especially those with hidden disabilities, such as psychological or learning disabilities, may need time to feel comfortable to discuss their disability. Some students may never choose or need to discuss their disability.

I have a student with a disability who is behind in the assignments. This student has not done well on the exams. May I fail the student if she or he does not earn the required points to pass the class?

A student with a disability should be held to the same standards as any other student in the class. You may wish to contact the Office of Student Enrichment Services and Support and/or the student's program director to discuss your concerns, and you would certainly want to talk to the student just as you would with any other student.

Students sit in class.