Faculty and Staff

Fairfield University encourages all faculty and staff to read all communications from Disability Support Services (DSS) and to comply with all requested accommodations as written. If the request for accommodations is unclear, appears to fundamentally alter the requirements of the course, or appears to be unreasonable, faculty/staff are expected to contact the Director of DSS immediately. If a student requests accommodations and the faculty/staff member has not been notified of the student's need for accommodations by DSS, then the faculty/staff member should refer the student to DSS.

Fairfield University also encourages faculty to include information on the course syllabus and to make an announcement at the beginning of the semester inviting students with disabilities to schedule an appointment to discuss academic accommodations with DSS.

Syllabus Statement

We strongly encourage faculty to include a statement addressing the responsibilities of faculty and staff in relation to students with disabilities. It is helpful to include this statement on the class syllabus inviting students who have disabilities to discuss academic needs. The statement linked below may be used.

"Fairfield University is committed to achieving equal educational opportunities, providing students with documented disabilities access to all University programs, services and activities. In order for this course to be equally accessible to all students, different accommodations or adjustments may need to be implemented. The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) is available at DSS@fairfield.edu, and at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2615.

They are your primary resource on campus to help you develop an accessibility plan to help you achieve success in your courses this semester. Please make an appointment with them as early as possible this semester to receive letters to present to me so that we can discuss how potential accommodations can be provided and carried out for this course. If you have received Accommodation Letters for this course from DSS, please provide me with that information privately so that we can review your accommodations together and discuss how best to help you achieve equal access in this course this semester."

General FAQ

1. A student in my class is claiming that they have accommodations for a disability, but have not provided me with any formal information, what do I do?

Refer the student to DSS and do not grant any accommodations until you have received a letter from our office detailing any accommodations that the student's disability requires in order to provide equal access to material in your course. Contact the DSS office at ext. 2615 or email DSS@fairfield.edu if you have any questions.

2. I have more than one student with disabilities in my class, can I e-mail all of these students at once to coordinate accommodations?

If you plan to provide extended time for exams, or other accommodations, please BCC all students in your course on any e-mail communications that you send. Students have a right to confidentiality and may not want other students in the class to know that they have a disability (even if those other students also have a disability).

3. What if a situation arises with the student with a disability that I do not know how to manage?

Every student in your class is unique and having a disability may prevent some students from communicating effectively. Please contact our office with any questions, comments, or concerns about a student. We can be used as a resource for you. Please contact our office at ext. 2615 or email DSS@fairfield.edu

4. What strategies have other higher education faculty used to establish universal design in the classroom?

For more information regarding universal design and what has/has not worked for other higher education faculty members, please visit the University of Washington's "Faculty Room" resource page at http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/Strategies/.

Exam FAQ

1. How does an exam become scheduled at the DSS office?

The DSS office is able to proctor exams for DSS registered students only. Students who are formally registered with our office are responsible for scheduling their exams by visiting the  "Current Students" tab of the DSS website (http://fairfield.edu/lifeatfairfield/studentservices/disabilitysupportservices/currentstudents/) and submitting an online exam request form. Upon submitting the online exam request, the student receives an immediate brief confirmation e-mail to inform them that their form submitted successfully. The full online exam request form is also automatically sent to the professor and to the DSS Office for review. The professor is responsible for reviewing the information the student provided, completing the "Professor Approval" Section at the bottom, and selecting "submit". The professor will then receive an immediate confirmation e-mail to inform them that their form submitted successfully.

2. What does extra time for an exam really mean?

If a student in your class has been approved for extended time for exams and in class assignments, this means that their disability has an aspect that affects processing speed. This student needs more time to process the same amount of information as their peers. Granting the extended time for a student to complete material provides equal access to the material for this student.

2. Is the exam room secure against cheating?

We have webcams placed in our exam rooms which are on and active during all testing. Students store their belongings in the DSS Office while taking the exam in the exam room. Only materials for the student's accommodation(s) or permitted by the professor will be allowed into the exam room. DSS Staff reserve the right to enter the exam rooms at any time to check for any academically dishonest behavior.

3. Where do I send my exam?

Drop off in person, campus mail, or seal in a signed envelope and send with the student directly to the Kelley Center West, Disability Support Services. You can also e-mail it to DSS@fairfield.edu

4. How will my exam be returned to me?

The exam can be scanned and e-mailed back to you electronically, and/or the hard copy can be: returned via campus mail (1-3 days), held at our office for you to pick up, or placed in a signed and sealed envelope and hand delivered by the student.

5. My class meets for 50 minutes and a student receives time and a half, does this mean they receive 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to complete my exam?

It depends. If you teach a 50 minute class and schedule your exam for the entire period, then the student is entitled to a full 75 minutes to complete the material. If you schedule your exam to only take up half of the period, 25 minutes, then the student would receive 37.5 minutes to complete the exam. Please be specific when you fill out the Professor Approval Section of the confirmation e-mail you receive when a student fills out the online exam request form.

6. I do not give exams in my course, how does the extended time accommodation factor in?

If you do not have exams, perhaps you give in class assignments? These assignments will take longer for a student with a disability to complete than their peers. If all of your assessments of student knowledge are take home essays, projects, or group assignments, then it is possible that the extra time will not provide equal access to material. These alternative assignments may have other aspects to consider for a student with disabilities. Be sure to check in with your student to assess how they interpret the assignments and whether they are struggling with long-term deadlines.