Wheelchair. Photographs copyrighted 2009 by Cecile Abigail Adre. Used with permission.

Policies & Procedures

Working with Students with Disabilities:
Guidelines for Faculty and Other University Employees

Whether they are aware of it or not, most faculty, administrators, and staff at Marquette interact with students with disabilities on a regular basis. These interactions often reflect the campus culture of genuinely caring for the person, but in some instances, these interactions require a response to requests for specific accommodations. Because students with documented disabilities are protected under federal law, these formal requests may result in faculty or others lacking confidence in the proper response to these specific requests. The procedures and suggestions listed below are intended to address the most basic questions faculty and other employees may have related to meeting the needs of students with disabilities. Should faculty or other employees desire more information on this topic, please visit our page on Faculty Resources or contact the Associate Director of Disability Services.

  1. Faculty Guidelines

    1. What should I do if a student says s/he has a disability and requests accommodations?

      1. Does the student have a letter from ODS?

        In order to be assured accommodations, the university requires student accommodations requests must be accompanied by a formal letter from the Office of Disability Services. That letter serves to verify that the student:

        • Possesses a documented disability,
        • The documentation of the disability and resulting student needs have been reviewed with an ODS representative, the student, and when appropriate, the faculty and,
        • The accommodations requested in the letter have been determined to be appropriate and reasonable given the student's needs and course requirements.
      2. If the student does not have a letter from ODS, but brings you a copy of their disability documentation, you are strongly encouraged to refer the student to the Office of Disability Services and an ODS representative will work with the student and review the documentation to determine appropriate accommodations.

      3. If the student claims they don't need a letter because they received accommodations in high school and should receive them in your class now, the student may indeed possess a disability, but they are not entitled to accommodations unless or until they document their needs with the Office of Disability Services and bring you a letter verifying appropriate accommodations.

    2. What should I do when a student gives me an accommodations letter?

      Students with disabilities are informed that in each class for which they have requested accommodations, they are responsible for presenting their letter to and meeting with their instructors. In this meeting, students are encouraged to discuss their needs with their instructors and faculty have the opportunity to discuss course content, expectations and the requested accommodations.

    3. How are accommodations determined?

      As stated above, accommodations grow out of an ODS representative's thorough analysis of the documentation of the disability and through conversations the representative has with the student. In many instances, the ODS representative collaborates with faculty as well when determining appropriate and reasonable accommodations for the student in the classroom.

    4. What if I have questions or concerns about the requested accommodations?

      Instructors are encouraged to work directly with students to implement requested accommodations, but they should contact the Office of Disability Services whenever they have questions, concerns, or issues relative to the student or accommodations process.

    5. What steps can I take to assist students with disabilities in my courses?

      A good first step is to include a simple statement in your course syllabus to encourage students to contact you directly such as:

      "If there are any students with disabilities who need accommodations, please feel free to discuss this with me."

      Additional suggestions related to teaching and interacting with students with disabilities can be found on Faculty Resources page.

  2. Guidelines for All Other Employees

    1. How do I let students know how we make the activities and services of my area accessible to students with disabilities?

      Administrators and staff who handle matters pertaining to housing, recreation, safety, counseling, financial aid, transportation, health services, insurance, employment or other co-curricular activities can achieve this goal in several ways:

      • Include a simple statement in your program materials to encourage students with disabilities to contact you directly to discuss their needs such as: “If students need accommodations, they are welcome to discuss their needs with the program staff.”

      • Contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) if you need assistance in responding to questions students have regarding accommodations for your activities or programs.
      • Explore the resources and recommendations included on the ODS website Faculty Resources page.

      In summary, through its own stated mission and in response to the disability laws governing higher education, Marquette University is committed to serving the needs of students with disabilities. Consequently, when the need for accommodations has been verified by ODS, and ODS in cooperation with faculty, administrators and staff has developed a specific academic accommodations plan, all university employees are obliged to comply with the university's responsibility to provide the accommodations.

    G. Other Resources

    Other policies pertaining to the workings of the Office of Disability Services (ODS) are on file in the office and posted on our web site regarding:

    • documentation guidelines for specific disabilities.
    • texts in alternate formats.
    • Note takers and test proctoring.

Visit the rest of our Web site for a variety of other resources available to guide students, parents, faculty and staff on ODS and its operation.

This document is also available in a Word document, hardcopy and online.



Our Mission

Marquette University's Office of Disability Services is dedicated to providing equal access within the classroom setting, through the determination of appropriate accommodations, for students with documented disabilities. ODS promotes accessibility awareness through collaboration with campus partners, the development of student self-advocacy, and through consultation with the broader community. Guided by the university's mission, we strive to support the Marquette community in their efforts to educate all students on campus.