Faculty Letter for Academic Year 2019/20

Dear Faculty,

Disability and Access (DAC) staff have developed the following informational page for your use and understanding of DAC procedures as you prepare and develop your semester course curriculum and materials.

Syllabus Statements

Please see Suggested Syllabus Statements on the student life committee page: https://wp.stolaf.edu/student-life-committee/suggested-syllabus-statements/

Academic Accommodations

Students request accommodations because they have a documented disability and they choose to use their right to equal access to the academic curriculum and environment, as stated in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act as Amended, 2008. It is a student’s responsibility to arrange any necessary academic accommodations through DAC. The accommodations are determined and approved by a DAC Specialist after a review of the student’s documentation and a thorough interview with the student to determine current barriers experienced with the disability.

Accommodation Letters

Access Specialist Laura Knobel-Piehl or Joseph Young will notify you by e-mail of your student’s approved academic accommodations by means of an “Accommodation Letter.” The accommodation letter is valid for the stated semester only. NEW THIS YEAR: These accommodation letters are housed in your faculty portal to myDAC! https://teton.accessiblelearning.com/StOlaf/instructor/ A detailed instructional email will be sent on accessing the portal, but meanwhile, please contact Laura Knobel-Piehl or Joe Young at 507-786-3288 if you have any questions.

Students are instructed to contact you directly to discuss the logistics of using their accommodations in the context of your course. Students are not required to discuss nor should they be asked to disclose specific diagnosis/disability to you. However, if you receive an accommodation letter for a student, it is acceptable to ask if there is any information that would be helpful for you to know about how the student learns best.

If a student self-discloses a disability but you have not received an appropriate accommodation letter from DAC, you should not provide accommodations until they are formally approved by DAC. Please refer the student to a Disability and Access Specialist to complete the necessary procedures for accommodations.

Neither your standards of quality, integrity nor the essential learning outcomes of your course should be changed or compromised because a student has an accommodation. Accommodations are not to be provided retroactively.

myDAC (Accommodation Management Software for Students and Instructors)

Disability and Access (DAC) keeps all of our student documentation, records, eligibilities for accommodations, alternate testing scheduling, notetaker requests and notes, and more in one online application called “MyDAC”.

What this means for students:

College students have the responsibility of requesting their accommodations. MyDAC is an online program that helps them keep track of their accommodation letters, their documentation, and all of their accommodation requests. For the first time since K12, the student is now in the driver’s seat for requesting their accommodations and working with their instructors on making necessary arrangements. This is new territory for most, and DAC staff work on coaching them on self-advocacy skills. Be patient as they learn to navigate this new responsibility.

What this means for faculty:

You will receive all student accommodation letters via e-mail from the student’s Accessibility Specialist. The student will be CC’d on the email. When a student’s accommodation includes testing, we need you fill out the Testing Agreement form as soon as you receive the accommodation letter. This is your instruction to us on how you wish us to administer your exam. You may fill out the Testing Agreement form in the faculty portal located here: https://teton.accessiblelearning.com/StOlaf/instructor/. Please complete one testing agreement form per section you teach (if you have students from multiple sections with testing accommodations.)

New faculty portal!

Instructors may now log into myDAC using their St. Olaf login to access accommodation information specific to the students in their sections. https://teton.accessiblelearning.com/StOlaf/instructor/ Here you will be able to fill out your section’s Testing Agreement Form, review the students’ accommodation letters, upload your course syllabus, as well as deliver your exam securely to DAC staff for administration of your exam.

Testing Accommodations

Many students have testing accommodations. There are two ways of arranging for these:

  1. (preferred) Working with your AAA several days before the exam to locate a nearby low-distraction testing room. Refer to the student’s accommodation letter as to whether this room can be a multi person testing room or a private testing room. It is fine to place other multi testing room accommodated students together since usually this room is a place to use their extended testing time without having another class file into the classroom while they are still working.
  2. Having Disability and Access administer your exam for you. Please let the student know if you are unable to reserve a room in your academic building, and that they should work with Disability and Access to locate a testing room the day of the exam. Also, ensure you have completed the Testing Agreement Form which instructs DAC on how you wish your exam to be administered.

DAC-administered exams

Each Accommodation Letter with testing accommodations will include a link in a big red box to a Testing Agreement Form. Please click on this link and provide some basic instructions to DAC:

  • how you will deliver the exam to the Center for Advising and Academic Support (CAAS)
  • contact information should the student have a question during the exam
  • additional notes

Complete one Testing Agreement Form per section of that course you teach. If there are multiple students using testing accommodations in one section, the Agreement Form will be applied to each student with the testing accommodation, so please do not use identifying information about a student in your Agreement Form. The testing agreement is good for the entire semester. If you would like help filling out the Testing Agreement Form, or would like clarification on this, please contact BreAne Hampsher hampsher@stolaf.edu.

MyDAC software will not allow a student to schedule a testing room until the Testing Agreement Form is completed!!!

Confirmation of testing arrangements 

Once DAC has established a testing location, you and the student will receive an e-mail from the DAC Office Coordinator spelling out the details. Please read the email carefully and make sure it corresponds with your understanding of the arrangements.

If you plan to hand-deliver a hard copy of the exam, please do so in a sealed envelope during our office hours (M-F 8-5 and no later than 4:00 p.m. the day before the exam.) Alternatively, you may email the exam as an attachment to DAC Office Coordinator, BreAne Hampsher (dac@stolaf.edu), or you may upload your exam to myDAC.

Exams may be picked up by you or your AAA in CAAS (Tomson Hall 150), when the exam is completed. Any exams remaining in CAAS at the close of business will be returned in a sealed envelope to your office during the morning hours the following day.

If a student with accommodations has not provided you with sufficient lead-time to arrange for a separate testing room, you may ask the student to take the exam in the classroom with everyone else, and then stay after class (or move to a nearby room) to accommodate the extended time. Similarly, DAC will fill room requests on a first-come/first-served basis. If there is no room available, the student will be asked to take the exam with the rest of the class. Call DAC at ext. 3288 if you need help solving an unexpected testing situation.

Alternate testing and the Honor Code  

Students taking tests in an alternate testing room are required to leave their backpacks, cell phones, jackets, etc. in CAAS. For faculty arranging the testing room, we suggest informing the students where they may safely leave their belongings while they are taking their exam.

Testing arrangements for multilingual students

It is solely the professor’s discretion whether to provide extended time on exams for multilingual students. This decision is not an academic accommodation provided by Disability and Access. Whenever possible, these tests should be administered within the classroom at the regular exam time. DAC does not arrange testing rooms for multilingual students unless they are students with documented disabilities. Please contact Anne Berry (berryag@stolaf.edu) for more information.

Accommodations for Temporary Disabilities

DAC can provide services to students experiencing a temporary health condition (such as broken limbs, concussion symptoms, or short-term healing associated with surgery) if it limits the student’s ability to function in the classroom and/or physical environment. Temporary conditions are not considered permanent disabilities, and academic accommodations will be reviewed and approved at regular intervals. Students with a temporary condition need to follow the same eligibility process as students with permanent disabilities. The student must meet with an Access Specialist for an intake interview and provide documentation to determine eligibility for academic accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services. Not all temporary conditions are eligible, therefore is possible that accommodation may not be provided in a specific circumstance.

Accessible digital and print reading materials

All course materials, including e-textbooks, web articles, PDF files, Moodle pages, videos, PowerPoint slides, and course packets used or assigned for your class must be accessible — that is, readable by text-to-speech screen readers or in the case of videos, captioned. DAC is fully equipped to do this for you. Please visit our Faculty Resources page for more information on accessible materials.

For course packets

  • Make certain that print articles are scanned from clean text (with no underlining or margin notes)
  • When scanning books, press hard at the center binding to avoid shadows, since text appearing in the shadow is unrecognizable to text-to-speech or Braille conversion programs
  • Make sure the text is straight on the page, and not copied askew since inaccurate text recognition will occur

If you need assistance with or clarification of any of these accessibility concerns, please contact Laura Knobel-Piehl at 507-786-3288. 

Recording Lecture as an Accommodation

Disability and Access staff may provide a smartpen or notetaking software to a student who is eligible for a notetaking accommodation. Students sign an agreement that they understand that the audio recording on the pen is for their own use only and may not be shared with anyone under any circumstances.

Please note St. Olaf does not have a policy prohibiting students from recording a class.

Concerns about students 

If you have concerns about the academic performance (including attendance and participation) of a student with an accommodation letter or if you need help figuring out the best way to work with a student with an accommodation letter, please contact the Access Specialist listed on the accommodation letter. Disability and Access staff work closely with the class deans and receive copies of Continuous Reporting Systems (CRS) reports for DAC-registered students.  DAC Specialists meet with students who are referred by the dean, faculty, and staff, to discuss academic challenges and to determine if accommodations are necessary and warranted. If a student is not determined eligible for disability accommodations, we will assist the student in locating other student resources on campus (such as academic support and tutoring, counseling, etc.). It is very important that instructors send CRS forms for any struggling student early in the term.

Disability and Access staff are available for an individual consultation, staff meetings, retreats, class presentations 

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about disability, access, and accommodations. Refer to the DAC web page https://wp.stolaf.edu/academic-support/dac/facstaff/ for additional information.


Laura Knobel-Piehl (knobel@stolaf.edu)

Joseph Young (young9@stolaf.edu)