Accommodation Process

Webster's Accommodation Process involves four-steps and is often iterative. Because faculty members play an extremely important part in the accommodation process, it is spelled out here.

Step 1: Application and Documentation
All students accepted by Webster receive a letter which states that Webster provides services for students with documented disabilities and directs them to contact the Academic Resource Center (ARC) Director, the Site Director, or their designees to discuss documentation and to request accommodations. Documentation of the student's disability must be provided by a qualified professional. Because the requirements for documentation vary, sample forms for the more common disability categories are made available here (Link opens in a new window).

Step 2: Eligibility Evaluation
Decisions regarding accommodations are, the result of joint student-ARC or Site staff consultation, but are based on the student's disability, prior accommodation history, suggestions in the documentation, recommendations of prior instructors, and best practices criteria.

Applications for class waivers and course substitutions are submitted to the Chairman of the student's declared major department and the Dean of the School in which the department resides. Approval is subject to the essential-non-essential criteria designation for the particular major and school.

Step 3: Faculty Notification Letters
Prior to the beginning of terms and semesters, current instructors receive a written notification that lists the accommodations and auxiliary aids approved for each student with a disability who is registered in his or her class(es). The purpose of the letter is to prepare the instructor for auxiliary aids that may impact the classroom (e.g., a guide dog, a sign interpreter), to specify accommodations to which the student is legally entitled, to enlist instructor assistance in providing accommodations (e.g., help in locating a volunteer note taker, wearing a lapel microphone), and to provide information that has instructional ramifications (e.g., needs visual cues) or about disabilities that could create crisis situations in the classroom (e.g., diabetes, epilepsy). To avoid negative attitudes sometimes attached to particular labels, specific diagnostic terminology is used only when obvious (e.g., vision or hearing impairment) or when it provides behavioral management suggestions or information (e.g., Tourette's or Asperger Syndromes).

A link to a sample letter is provided here to familiarize new faculty with the format (PDF).

Step 4: Accommodation Effectiveness Evaluation
It is this step, in which information from instructors and the student is used to assess the effectiveness of current accommodations that often makes the accommodation process iterative. Faculty or student feedback indicating that an accommodation is ineffective or unnecessary results in the elimination and/or the substitution of one that may prove more effective. Amended Notification Letters are then constructed and sent, and the new accommodations are implemented and subsequently assessed by faculty and students for their effectiveness.

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