The Ross Center strives to partner with faculty to coordinate accommodations for students with disabilities and to review course design to maximize inclusion. However, the decision of whether or not to approve accommodations is made solely by the Ross Center, who will collaborate with students and their instructors to coordinate approved accommodations and services.
The whole campus benefits from incorporating universal design into teaching, including students with disabilities. Universal design describes the design of products and environments that all people can use, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or special design. Within postsecondary education, universal design concepts promote designing the academic environment and curricula to be accessible to all students, regardless of disability status.
For example, curricular design that may obviate the need for individual accommodations include the following:
- Providing scheduling options by offering course at various times of the day and for differing lengths of time
- Designing course websites that include a complete syllabus, daily class notes, streaming video of instructor lectures, etc.
- Providing multiple ways of demonstrating learning through take-home exams, papers, group work, presentations, etc.
Because students and the Ross Center will often use the syllabus to determine appropriate accommodations, faculty should make the syllabus available to students as early as possible during the registration period, and before the semester begins. The syllabus should be available in alternate format for those students who request it. If you have questions or need assistance in adapting your syllabus, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The syllabus should communicate information to students about university policy related to academic accommodations and encourage them to discuss these accommodations with the Ross Center. The syllabus can also include a statement regarding the possible recording of a course by students with disability accommodations, such as " This course may be recorded by a student with an approved accommodation to do so. The student will be using the recording for their personal review of the course, and will not be sharing the recording". Examples of syllabus statements are:
- The University of Massachusetts Boston is committed to providing reasonable academic accommodations for all students with disabilities. This syllabus is available in alternate format upon request. Students with disabilities who need accommodations in this course must contact the Ross Center for Disability Services to discuss possible accommodations. To receive accommodations due to a disability, students must be registered with the Ross Center for Disability Services and must provide appropriate documentation. Contact the Ross Center, CC UL 211, via our website www.umb.edu/academics/vpass/disability, email address email@example.com , or by phone at 617.287.7430.
- Your success in this class is important to me. If there are circumstances that may affect your performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible so that we may work together to develop strategies for adapting assignments to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course. The Ross Center for Disability Services at UMass Boston (CC UL 211, www.umb.edu/academics/vpass/disability, firstname.lastname@example.org, 617.287.7430) provides resources for students with disabilities. You will need to provide documentation of disability to them in order to receive official university services and accommodations.
Ross Center staff are eager to collaborate with faculty to create courses that are more universally accessible, minimizing the need for individual accommodations, and maintaining all essential elements. They are also available to help you develop a course syllabus statement.
Faculty requesting accommodations should contact the Director of Compliance and Outreach in the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX.