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Faculty Responsibility

Saginaw Valley State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for higher education to academically qualified students without regard to disability. Federal and state laws prohibit  discrimination on the basis of disability.  "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any such entity" (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act).

The Americans with Disability Act of 1990, (ADA) requires faculty to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that communications with students with disabilities are as effective as communications with others. Universal Design of Instruction is the best way to ensure inclusion in your course.  If Universal Design is not available, SVSU will provide auxiliary aids and services to qualified students with documented disabilities. Providing these services is a cooperative effort between SVSU faculty and the Office of Disability Services. These aids and services may include large print, tape recording lectures, alternative testing, note takers, assistive listening devices, braille, captioned videos or sign language interpreters.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA) broaden the definition of disability.  It also increased the liability of the university and the responsibility of faculty to appropriately respond to students who self disclose a disability.  The appropriate response is to refer students to Disability Services.

On May 26, 2011, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a binding policy statement in the form of Frequently Asked Questions to a Dear Colleague Letter (June 29, 2010) regarding emerging technology and equal access in the classroom.  Included in the document is a mandate to make all course work accessible at all times:  "faculty have a continuing obligation to comply with these laws...even if no students with disabilities have signed up for the course."  The new guidelines also mandate that all programs and activities will be fully accessible or equally effective and equally integrated.

Here is a link to the letter:

For questions on guidelines, contact the Director of Disability Services.


Faculty Responsibility

Alternative Assignments

Students with visual impairments or hearing impairments may need alternative assignments or special accommodations for videos and films. Some students may need an alternate assignment when taking lecture notes is a requirement or offered for extra credit. If the location of field trips is not accessible, an alternative experience may be requested.

Alternative Formats

Faculty should be prepared to offer course syllabi, tests and all handouts in large print when requested. The office of Disability Services will attempt to notify you of the font size necessary.  Some students may require all print material in Braille or electronic format.

Alternative Testing

When a qualified student has registered with the Office of Disability Services, and is eligible for alternate testing, you will receive a letter advising you of necessary accommodations. Please discuss with the student how these accommodations can best be offered. The Office of Disability Services is available to assist you in providing testing accommodations.

Captioned Videos

Hearing Impaired students may need videos and films captioned.

Course Syllabus

Please be sure that your syllabus contains one of the following statements: 1. "Students with disabilities that may restrict their full participation in course activities are encouraged to meet with the instructor or contact the SVSU office of Disability Services, Curtiss 112 for assistance." 2. "Students with disabilities who seek accommodations must make their request by : contacting the Office of Disability Services located in Curtiss 112, or call 989-964-7000. All accommodations must be approved by the Office of Disability Services."

Electronic Devices

You may be required to wear a microphone as part of a FM Assistive Listening Device or allow a student to tape record lectures.

Note Taking Assistance

Some students are eligible for note taking assistance.  This may include tape recording lectures, copies of overheads, or a note taker.  SVSU uses volunteer note takers who are also registered for the class.  NCR paper is provided. If you know of a potential note taker, please make the appropriate recommendation. If not, please announce on the first day of class that a volunteer note taker is needed for a student and that paper will be provided. If after three requests no one volunteers, please contact the Office of Disability Services.


If you are approached for accommodations by students, please inquire if they have registered with the Office of Disability Services and refer them if they are not registered. You are not required to offer services if you have not received formal notification from Disability Services addressing the specific need.   If you have a student in your class who you suspect has a disability and may benefit from services, please refer them to Disability Services.


Information concerning the specific nature of the student's disability will be kept confidential.  Faculty should refrain from identifying the student as someone with a disability in front of classmates.  When discussing issues with colleagues, faculty should refrain from disclosing identifying information.

Others in the Classroom

There may be a sign language interpreter, an attendant or a transcriptionist in the classroom.

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