Academic & Disability Services Information for Faculty

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Syllabus Statement

Wheaton College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.  Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to contact the Academic and Disability Services Office as early in the semester as possible.  Please call 630.752.5941 or send an e-mail to jennifer.nicodem@wheaton.edu for further information.

Facts for Faculty

Professor at whiteboardLearning differences occur when a person with average to high intelligence has significant difficulty acquiring certain academic skills in the traditional manner. These students are not lacking motivation or a willingness to work hard, they simply learn in a way that is different than the traditional pedagogy used in the college classroom. In fact, students in higher education with a learning difference frequently must put in many more hours of study and preparation than their peers and may still require additional time, use of specific technology or other reasonable accommodations in order to level the academic playing field.

A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a course, program, service, activity or facility that enables a qualified student with a disability to have an equal opportunity to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefit and privilege as are available to a similarly-situated student without the disability. A reasonable accommodation does not include fundamentally altering the nature of an instructional program and is always provided on an individualized basis.

You will be notified by the Academic and Disability Services Coordinator if a student in your class receives specific accommodations and can feel free to direct any questions to the Academic and Disability Services Office.

Faculty members play an integral role in supporting our students with learning and physical challenges. If a student in your class is struggling and you suspect he or she may have a learning difference or other learning-related challenge, please feel free to make referrals to the Academic and Disability Services Coordinator, Jennifer Nicodem (x5941).  The ADS Office is located within the Student Development Office in the SSB Suite 218.

Thanks for your willingness to support all students!

Important Policies for Faculty

  • If a student is eligible for accommodations through the Academic and Disability Services Office, you will receive official notification by e-mail with an attached accommodations letter.  If a student requests an accommodation and you have not received notification, please encourage the student to contact the ADS Office.
  • Students are requested to provide 48 hours notice and required to give 24 hours notice for testing or other accommodations that require advanced planning.  If a student does not give proper notice, please attempt to accommodate him or her but know you will not be held responsible if you are unable to provide the accommodation.
  • If there is a request for a student to receive extensions on out-of-class assignments or flexible attendance, an e-mail will be sent from the ADS Office indicating the request .  Please consider the student's extenuating circumstances but know that the final decision rests with the faculty member as to whether to grant extensions on assignments or allow increased absences.  Conversely, accommodations listed on the attached accommodations letter are legally mandated.
  • Please don't hesitate to contact the Academic and Disability Services Office with any questions regarding implementing accommodations.

Classroom Tips for Faculty

Here are 9 tips for classroom instruction that are helpful for students with learning differences but benefit ALL students:

  • Clearly spell out course expectations with a detailed syllabus presented in a timely manner.
  • Use a variety of methods to allow students to demonstrate what they have learned (i.e. papers, presentations, experiential learning in addition to tests and quizzes).
  • Start each lecture with an outline of material to be covered and brief summary of key points. 
  • Present new or technical vocabulary in overhead or hand-out form. Use terms in context to convey meaning.
  • Announce reading assignments well in advance. Students needing material in a digital format require a substantial amount of lead time.
  • Use a variety of instructional methods (lecture, discussion, active learning techniques).
  • Provide study questions for exams that demonstrate format as well as content. Explain what constitutes a good answer and why.
  • Provide adequate opportunities for questions and answers. Try to create a classroom environment where asking questions is encouraged.
  • Encourage students to use campus support services.

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