Faculty DSS Resources
One of the roles of Disability Support Services (DSS) is to provide support for administrators, faculty, and staff to foster a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive campus community. We hope that sharing this information with you will promote collaboration between the DSS Office and faculty, as well as provide you with some strategies to see that all our students are provided with the tools and resources they need to pursue their academic, professional, and personal goals during their years at FDU.
Statements about the availability of accommodations are a way of inviting individuals with disabilities to participate in creating a more accessible campus. By encouraging advance inquiries, faculty members can become aware of any needed accommodations early so that they can be implemented in a seamless fashion that normalizes rather than draws attention to access. The course syllabi should include the following approved syllabus statement:
Students with documented medical, psychological, or learning disabilities, who feel they may need in-class academic adjustments, reasonable modifications, and/or auxiliary aids and services while taking this course, should first contact Disability Support Services (DSS) to discuss their specific needs. At the Florham Campus, including the School of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and study abroad programs, contact the Director of Disability Support Services at 973–443–8079. At the Metropolitan Campus, online and off-campus programs, contact the Director of Disability Support Services at 201–692–2078. For Vancouver Campus, contact the Deputy Campus Executive at 604–648–4463. Once the academic adjustments, modifications, or auxiliary aids and services are approved by DSS, make an appointment to see the faculty.
MyDSS is an online platform used to set up and manage academic adjustments and/or accommodations (accommodations) for students with disabilities at Fairleigh Dickinson University registered with the DSS Office. Through myDSS, faculty log in using their NETID and password to review accommodation letters for each student that has requested accommodations and is enrolled in their courses, complete Alternative Testing Agreements, and view the status of students’ test requests with the DSS Office.
For more information take a look at the Faculty Portal Guide (pdf).
The DSS Office has established guidelines requiring students who request accommodations based on a disability to provide specific documentation from an appropriate professional (e.g., doctor, psychologist, or learning specialist). Faculty who have received an accommodation letter from a DSS staff member specifying appropriate accommodations for a student can be assured that: (a) the student has provided documentation that conforms to the University’s guidelines, and (b) the documentation supports the need for the specified accommodation. Generally, the documentation is confidential, and faculty cannot require either the student or the DSS Office to share it.
Academic accommodations are intended to afford equal access to course content and equal opportunity to demonstrate mastery. Accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis, considering what is most appropriate for an individual student based on their documented disability-related need, and the essential requirements of their academic program.
- Application: The student completes and submits an online application and disability-related documentation through the DSS online portal.
- Review: DSS reviews the online application and supporting documentation
- Notification: The student is notified of the decision and meets with a DSS staff member.
- Letters Generated: The approved accommodations are recorded on accommodation letters and emailed directly to faculty.
- Implementation: The student should give a faculty or staff member adequate time to honor accommodations.
Approved academic accommodations are recorded on an “Accommodations Letter” kept on file. Students are responsible for requesting accommodation letters by logging into myDSS. Once the request has been submitted, the DSS Office will send the faculty an electronic copy of the approved accommodation letter(s). The student is responsible for reaching out to introduce themselves and discussing specific details, timing, and administration of their accommodations with each faculty member.
Please note that there is no deadline to request accommodations or send accommodation letters; however, accommodations are not generally retroactive.
A student may be approved for note-taking assistance, including the use of technology to assist with note-taking. If students are approved for a peer notetaker, the DSS Office will work on identifying a notetaker and inform the faculty member.
A student may be approved for the use of a digital recorder for note-taking. Please note that students who are approved for this accommodation may need access to an electronic device (e.g., computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) to access specific note-taking apps (Glean, Evernote, or OneNote) for digital recording.
Please note that note-taking assistance is not a substitute for class attendance.
A student may be approved for alternative testing accommodations – e.g., extra time to complete in-class tests/assessments, a distraction-reduced testing environment, use of a calculator, etc. If a student is seeking to use their alternative testing accommodations, a faculty member can accommodate and proctor the student in the classroom. If the student or the faculty has a scheduling conflict or if the faculty suggests that the student should take their tests/exams/quizzes in the DSS Office, the student should submit their request to take their exam on myDSS. This request must be completed a minimum of two business days in advance before each scheduled testing session.
If faculty is unable to proctor their exams, they must complete the online Testing Accommodation Agreement to ensure that the DSS Office can administer the assessment(s) according to faculty guidelines. Faculty members will only need to submit one testing agreement per class/section; the same guidelines will be automatically applied to any other student requesting testing accommodations for this class/section. The agreement can be accessed using the link provided within the accommodation letter email OR by logging into the myDSS faculty portal. Please note that faculty can complete the Testing Agreement before the student’s testing request; however, the student must submit a request for each quiz/exam at least two business days in advance in myDSS to take it at the DSS Office.
If an exam is scheduled to be completed on an online platform, please adjust the time according to the student’s accommodation. Please refer to this tutorial if adjusting the time for an exam on Blackboard.
For reference, please utilize the Example of a Completed Testing Accommodations Agreement (pdf).
Please respect the student’s right to confidentiality and limit your discussion of the student’s disability or accommodations to private conversations with the student. It is the student’s decision whether to share specifics about their disability(ies). Please take care not to discuss a student’s disability except with staff or faculty involved in providing services or accommodations to the student. Please do not make announcements in class that have the effect of disclosing that any student has a disability (e.g., “All students who need special testing, please come to the front after the class.”)
What services are offered through the DSS Office?
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s DSS Office, in accordance with all applicable government regulations, guidance, and policies, works to ensure that students with documented disabilities have equal access to the University’s courses, programs, activities, and services. The DSS Office provides academic, housing, and/or meal plan accommodations/modifications to assist students with documented disabilities in their academic and student life-related activities.
How do I know if a student has accommodations?
Approved academic accommodations are recorded on an “Accommodations Letter” form kept on file, which is sent electronically to the faculty upon the student’s request. Please note that there is no deadline to request accommodations or send accommodation letters; however, generally, accommodations are not retroactive. Faculty can also log in to the myDSS Faculty Portal using their NETID and password to review accommodation letters for each student who has requested accommodations and is enrolled in their courses.
What do I do if I have questions concerning a student’s accommodation?
Please contact the office that notified you of the student’s accommodation needs with your questions immediately. If you have concerns about the implementation of an accommodation, always reach out to the office listed on the letter before telling the student that you cannot provide the accommodation.
What do I do if a student requests accommodations but has not provided a letter?
If a student requests accommodations directly from you, please let the student know that you cannot provide any accommodations without a current accommodation letter. Refer the student to the DSS Office to seek information about our services and the application process.
What if an approved accommodation is not appropriate and/or is a fundamental alteration to a course objective?
FDU has the right to deny accommodations, academic adjustments, or auxiliary aids that would impose a fundamental alteration upon a program or activity including a course. If you believe providing one of the specified accommodations would constitute a fundamental alteration of the course objective, please contact the staff person who notified you of the accommodation needs of the student with your objection immediately. This objection will then be reviewed by a professional staff member. The student may be entitled to receive the accommodation while the dispute is pending, so it is important to raise any concerns promptly.
Do students or faculty need to use DSS exam proctoring to provide alternative testing accommodations?
No. The DSS Office provides exam proctoring as a service to both students and faculty for students approved for alternative testing accommodations by DSS. Students and faculty can informally work out exam-related accommodations for assessments to be proctored by the faculty. The DSS Office can assist with coordinating any accommodation-related needs.
Does the DSS Office provide general proctoring services?
No. The DSS Office can only assist with proctoring exams for students registered with the DSS Office that are approved for alternative testing accommodations.
What if a student requests temporary remote learning (for in-person classes) as a disability-related accommodation?
A student should contact the faculty and/or the director of the program to discuss changes to the modality of the course. If a student is seeking remote learning as a long-term disability-related accommodation, they should contact the DSS Office on their respective campus.
What are some best practices for course accessibility?
Within Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, you can utilize the accessibility checker to determine if a document is accessible. You can also apply several basic accessibility modifications, including the heading function (Word Document), the use of PowerPoint-accessible templates, proper tagging of images, and proper formatting of hyperlinks. To improve accessibility on Blackboard, you can use the accessibility score to measure the accessibility of the course content. Please contact FDU’s Office of Educational Resources and Assessment if you need additional assistance.
What is the difference between the Office of Disability Support Services, the Regional Center for Learning Disabilities, and COMPASS?
The Office of Disability Support Services provides academic accommodations for students who have a physical or mental disability that substantially limits a major life activity, including learning, whereas, the Regional Center specifically focuses on the needs of students with language-based learning disabilities. Students accepted into the Regional Center program will receive all their academic accommodations from that program. COMPASS is an individually tailored, comprehensive, academic, and social support program for a limited number of college students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Students accepted into the COMPASS program may also receive academic accommodations from the DSS Office.
What if I have concerns about a student regarding behavioral or classroom-related issues?
The Office of the Dean of Students serves as an advocate for students and is responsible for the overall coordination of disciplinary matters, the student handbook, etc. For concerns such as behavior, health, wellness, general concern for a student, or classroom-related issues (missed classes, not doing work, etc.) please use the following report: FDU Cares