Academy Resource Center
Tips for Faculty: Working with Students with Disabilities
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I have a student who is having difficulty in my class. I think he may have a disability. What should I do to help him?
A: Identify the specific limitations or weaknesses you’re noticing and talk privately with the student about your observations. You should not suggest that he has a disability. However, you can encourage him to seek additional academic support through the Academy Resource Center (ARC), and/or let him know you are making an ARC referral. Fill out the referral online, https://apply.academyart.edu/facultyreferral/referral.asp, and explain your observations in the comments section.
Q: What should I do if my student tells me he has a disability?
A: If your student reveals a disability to you on his own, you may ask if he has accommodations through Classroom Services. If he does, ask to see his accommodation letter so that you know what you need to do to support him. If he doesn’t, refer him to Classroom Services so that he may gain access to the support he's requesting. Involving Classroom Services in all requests for accommodations ensures that all students are treated equally, and that students are accommodated in the best possible ways.
Q: Am I required to provide accommodations to students who request them?
A: Yes. It is a student’s right to be accommodated. It is also a student’s responsibility to provide documentation of a disability and request accommodations. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require that qualified students with disabilities get equal access to any and all Academy of Art University programs, services, curriculum, and public events.
Q: Am I required to lower the standards of an assignment because a student has a disability?
A: No. Standards should be the same for all students, regardless of ability. The quality of any student’s work should meet your predetermined standards. Accommodations are meant to eliminate barriers that would otherwise obstruct a student’s ability to complete assignment requirements. Grade inflation is a disservice to the student you are trying to help, and should be avoided.
Q: Who can I talk to if I have additional questions or concerns?
A: Please feel free to contact us in Classroom Services at any time. Call 415/618-3775, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Academy Resource Center, 79 New Montgomery (3rd floor). We are here to support both students and faculty.