Faculty and Staff Questions & Answers

This page contains answers to some questions frequently received from faculty and staff members about Alfred University's Center for Academic Success.

Q: What is a disability?
A: According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities related to education include but are not limited to walking, sleeping, eating, learning, reading, writing, processing, hearing, etc.

Q: What are accommodations and auxiliary aids?
A: Accommodations and auxiliary aids are adjustments made to a policy and/or academic environment to ensure students with temporary or permanent disabilities have equal access to course material, information, activities, programs, housing, and other campus facilities.

Examples of Auxiliary Aids:
  • alternate format text
  • note-taking assistance
  • smart pens
  • audio recorders
  • interpreters
  • text-to-speech software
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.

Q: I am an instructor on campus and I received an Academic Adjustment Authorization Letter from a student. What do all of the codes mean?
A: CAS offers a great resource page on understanding Academic Adjustment Letters on their website that details the meaning of each academic adjustment (accommodation).

Q: How are academic adjustments determined?
A: The student makes a request for academic adjustments from the appropriate CAS staff member. 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 CAS staff.

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 CAS are encouraged to contact the director of CAS. The CAS number is 607-871-2148.

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 CAS 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

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. Alfred 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).

Q: As a faculty member, how do I inform students in my class about the academic adjustments and auxiliary aids that the university and CAS specifically have to offer?
A: All faculty are encouraged to put a statement about academic adjustments (accommodations) in their syllabus to inform students about their rights.

Example Statement:
Access and Accommodations:
At Alfred University we strive to make all learning experiences as accessible as possible. Please let me know if you anticipate or experience a physical or learning barrier based on a disability. I am willing to meet with you individually to confidentially discuss your learning needs. However, to request formal instructional or testing accommodations, please consult with the Center for Academic Success (CAS) which is located on the second floor of Herrick Library 607-871-2148; email CAS). The CAS office is responsible for reviewing disability documentation, determining eligibility for reasonable accommodations, and helping students with disabilities request and use accommodations in order to allow equal access to all learning environments.

Q: A student is complaining that I did not accommodate them. Who can I contact?
A: Please contact the director of CAS or 607-871-2148.

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 CAS. If a student indicates that they do not have one, you should refer them to CAS.

Q: Do students approved for exam modifications have to take their exams at CAS?
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 CAS Testing, please email CAS the exam and all related materials no later than 1 business day in advance.

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. CAS is willing to call, text, or email an instructor.