FAQs for Faculty and Staff

Individuals responsible for providing support services to students with disabilities on various college campuses may have different titles and work out of different offices. While all institutions of higher education provide access for students with disabilities to some degree, how that access is achieved may vary from one campus to the next.

At Syracuse University, the staff in the Office of Disability Services (ODS) is responsible for coordinating access for students with disabilities through an interactive process involving the Office of Disability Services, the student, and when necessary, representatives from other University departments.

Following are examples of questions that have been addressed to staff over time. If you have any additional questions or concerns specific to your needs, please contact the Office of Disability Services.


Q: Do testing modifications apply for assignments?

A: No. If an assignment is called a take home quiz, test, or exam, then the extended time and any additional adjustments may or may not apply.

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Q: I am an instructor on campus and I received an Academic Adjustment letter from a student. What do all of the codes mean?

A: ODS offers a great resource page on Academic Adjustment Letter Codes on their website that details each academic adjustment (accommodation) code.

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Q: How are academic adjustments determined?

A: The student makes a request for classroom academic adjustments from the appropriate ODS Counselor. Reasonable academic adjustments and auxiliary aids are agreed upon via an interactive dialogue with students, review and discussion of their documentation, and then finalized by the Office of Disability Services.

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Q: What if I disagree with an approved academic adjustment or auxiliary aid?

A: Professors who have questions, comments, concerns or suggestions on classroom academic adjustments authorized by ODS are encouraged to contact the ODS professional who developed the Academic Adjustment letter. The ODS number is (315) 443-4498.

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Q: Why am I being asked to provide my instructional materials electronically and in advance of class meetings?

A: Students with disabilities have the right to receive their handouts in the same time frame as those provided to students without disabilities. Converting text into larger sizes, Braille, tactile graphics and audio files is time consuming. Providing materials in advance allows ODS to get those materials to students in a timely manner.

In order to initiate alternate media processing, it is helpful to have the:

  • ISBN of textbooks
  • Approximate timelines of dates for starting each chapter
  • A syllabus for approximate dates of assignments, quizzes, and exams
  • All handouts and supplemental written materials

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Q: Do faculty members have the right to access diagnostic information regarding a student’s disability?

A: Faculty do not have the right to access the student’s diagnostic information. Syracuse University follows the rules of confidentiality that are described in Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973) and Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).

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Q: As a faculty member, how do I inform students in my class about the academic adjustments and auxiliary aids that the university and ODS specifically have to offer?

A: All faculty are required to put a statement about academic adjustments (accommodations) in their syllabus to inform students about their rights. Your statement should read:

Syllabus Statement Regarding Disability-Related Academic Adjustments (required)

  • If you believe that you need academic adjustments (accommodations) for a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS), visit the ODS website, located in Room 309 of 804 University Avenue, or call (315) 443-4498 or TDD: (315) 443-1371 for an appointment to discuss your needs and the process for requesting academic adjustments. ODS is responsible for coordinating disability-related academic adjustments and will issue students with documented Disabilities Accommodation Authorization Letters, as appropriate. Since academic adjustments may require early planning and generally are not provided retroactively, please contact ODS as soon as possible.

Optional Diversity and Disability Syllabus Statement: (in addition to the required syllabus statement)

  • Syracuse University values diversity and inclusion; we are committed to a climate of mutual respect and full participation. My goal is to create learning environments that are useable, equitable, inclusive and welcoming. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of this course that result in barriers to your inclusion or accurate assessment or achievement, I invite any student to meet with me to discuss additional strategies beyond academic adjustments that may be helpful to your success.

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Q: A student is complaining that I did not accommodate them. Who can I contact?

A: Please contact the student’s counselor directly. Their contact information can be found on the Academic Adjustment Letter.

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Q: I have a student in class who told me they have a disability, but has not requested any academic adjustments (accommodations) that I know of. Am I still responsible for accommodating?

A: No, you are only responsible for providing reasonable academic adjustments if requested and provided with an Academic Adjustment letter from ODS. If a student indicates that they do not have one, you should refer them to ODS.

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Q: Do exams have to be taken at ODS Testing?

A: No, the ideal situation is when the instructor can provide the academic adjustment directly to the student. This ensures that an instructor can be reached if the student has a question on the exam. If you decide to use ODS Testing, please email the exam and all related materials to examsods@syr.edu no later than 1 business day in advance.

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Q: If I am unable to proctor the exam myself, why do I need to supply my contact information during the exam?

A: Students with disabilities, regardless of where they are taking their exam, have the same rights as other students and should have access to their instructor if they have any questions regarding their exams. ODS is willing to call, text, or email an instructor. Please specify this on the Secure Testing Envelope form.

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