Information for Faculty

Faculty Resources

Wheaton College is committed to providing access and inclusion for all persons with disabilities, inside and outside the classroom. Students are encouraged to discuss with their professors if they foresee any disability-related barriers in a course. Students who need accommodations in order to fully access this course’s content or any part of the learning experience should connect with Learning and Accessibility Services (LAS) as soon as possible to request accommodations http://wheaton.edu/las (Student Services Building - Suite 209, las@wheaton.edu, phone 630.752.5615). The accommodations process is dynamic, interactive, and completely free and confidential. Do not hesitate to reach out or ask any questions. 

Students are often unaware of their lack of understanding in a course. Throughout the semester, they may find themselves surprised by their poor performance or grades. This surprise indicates that they have inaccurate metacognition. Accurate metacognition (students having an accurate view of what they have learned and understand in your course) is one of the greatest predictors of academic success.

This Metacognition Tool has been developed for you to use or adapt for your course. Ideally, the tool would be used at three different points in the semester as a way to get students to reflect on their learning process and track their metacognition over time. It may shed light on any misunderstandings or inaccuracies which, if tackled earlier with interventions and strategies, can positively affect end-of-semester outcomes. Our hope is that this aids in student academic success and reduces the confusion that often occurs at the end of a semester (students saying, “how did I do so poorly in this class?!”)

Let us know if you have any questions or have any feedback on how this helps you and your students!

Another easy way to incorporate metacognition measures in your course:

After students take an exam or quiz but before they turn it in, have them write down their prediction of their grade on the quiz or exam. Then you both have a reference point for how accurate their metacognition is with respect to the content covered on that quiz/exam.

LAS test proctoring services are for students who are registered with LAS and have approved testing accommodations. If a student has testing accommodations, they have been provided the following guidance:

Student should reach out to professor as early as possible in the semester to discuss what testing accommodations will look like in their course. Primarily, the student needs to know if they will be provided their testing accommodations within the department, using departmental personnel, or if they need to request LAS Test Proctoring Services.

If the student needs to request proctoring services via LAS, they need to do so at least 3 business days in advance using this form.

Faculty, please keep an eye out for an email from the LAS Test Proctoring Coordinator requesting some important and time-sensitive information from you. We appreciate your prompt response to these communications! Your exams and exam information is treated with the utmost sensitivity and care by our LAS staff and office coordiantor.  

If you are administering an online exam for a student requiring extra time, please be sure to extend the time according to the accommodations listed in the ADA Accommodations Letter you received. If you have not received an ADA Accommodations Letter for a student requesting to test with accommodations, please reach out to LAS to inquire about that student's status. The student may have neglected to renew their accommodations for the semester and may need an additional reminder to do so. 

Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Current context: We are seeing more undergraduate and graduate students in academic distress due to personal circumstances, mental health crises, and/or an exacerbation of disability-related symptoms. As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of Incomplete requests for courses at the end of the semester. While there is no definitive measure to determine whether an Incomplete should be granted, here is some general guidance to consider. We want faculty to feel well-equipped for the sometimes difficult conversations they must have and difficult decisions they must make with students around Incomplete requests. 

When to grant an Incomplete:

  • An Incomplete assists students who face extraordinary or unanticipated obstacles. These could be due to unexpected personal circumstances, mental health crises, or disability-related barriers. 
  • The student has completed around ⅔ or ¾ of the coursework. It is up to faculty discretion if approving with less work completed. 
  • The work the student had already produced was passing/meeting course requirements.
  • The remaining work can be realistically completed and the student is likely to meet the learning goals of your course within the 6 week or approved extension period. 
  • Consider asking the student if they are requesting Incompletes in any other classes and how many. Typically, it is not recommended for a student to take on three or more Incompletes. This larger context may be helpful to talk through with the student. 

When not to grant an Incomplete:  

  • If you feel that the Incomplete will only defer an inevitable failing grade as opposed to provide a real solution for the student. 
  • The student has not completed enough work to determine a current status of passing or meeting course requirements. 
  • The remaining work cannot be completed independently. 
  • The student has not attended class enough to understand the content and the content cannot be learned independently. Faculty ought not “reteach” the class to students awarded Incomplete grades. 
  • If the student indicates that they are seeking Incompletes in three or more courses, this should be taken into consideration and discussed as to whether the total Incomplete load will be too much to realistically take on. 
  • You feel like you are assigning an Incomplete grade just to avoid a difficult conversation with the student. 

Consultation with other College Officials: If your student has approved ADA accommodations via the Learning & Accessibility Services office, LAS staff would be happy to consult with you on a student’s Incomplete request. Also, note that the Incomplete Forms are set up to allow a faculty member to choose to require a College Official’s signature. 

If you are unsure about whether or not an Incomplete request should be approved, you are welcome to require the student to gain the signature of a College Official, prior to your approval. A College Official is the office who is already aware of the reasons why the student is requesting the Incomplete and can confirm those reasons (Learning & Accessibility Services, Student Care Services, Graduate Student Life, or Student Health Services.) 

A College Official’s signature on an Incomplete Form is intended to confirm that the Incomplete was not just due to negligence, provide an opportunity to collaborate/consult if the faculty member is unsure about their decision and, when appropriate, provide additional information/context on a student’s request. A College Official signature should never be interpreted as a mandate to grant the Incomplete.  Faculty are solely responsible for determining student grades.

Attendance & Extentions Accommodations

Attendance 

If a student is approved for an ADA Accommodation related to class attendance, it is because their disability will impact their overall attendance throughout the course of the semester. Attendance accommodations are highly contextual and course-specific, so the following guidelines have been developed to promote clarity and a smooth application of such accommodations:

  • Student and faculty are encouraged to collaborate and meet about how this accommodation will be applied in their course. LAS is happy to be a part of those conversations and may be invited to participate by either the student or faculty, as needed.
  • Student will inform faculty when attendance accommodation needs to be used. No personal disability or health related information needs to be shared. Student can simply state, “I need to use my attendance accommodation for class today.” Faculty should not ask student to present medical/health documentation when an accommodation has already been approved.
  • If student is not comfortable speaking directly to faculty to inform them of their absence, they may reach out to LAS to act as a liaison.
  • If a student is seeking an attendance accommodation after they have already had multiple absences due to disability, it is important to know that accommodations are not applied retroactively.
  • Professor and student are encouraged to consider the total number of absences from the semester when assessing the student’s ability to meet course requirements.
  • An attendance accommodation does not mean that a student can miss as many classes as they need; even with the application of an accommodation for attendance, the student may not be able to meet course requirements given the amount of in-class time they have missed. Again, this is very course-specific.

Extensions on Assignments

If a student is approved for an ADA Accommodation related to extensions on assignments, it is because their disability will occasionally impact their ability to complete assignments on time.  This accommodation is typically approved in cases where a student’s disability may flare-up unpredictably throughout the semester. Extensions on assignments accommodations are highly contextual and assignment-specific, so the following guidelines have been developed to promote clarity and a smooth application of such accommodations:

  • This accommodation is not applicable in cases where the late assignment is due to negligence or poor planning on the part of the student. 
  • Extensions and new due dates for assignments should be determined through a collaboration between the student and professor with as much advance notice as possible (ideally a week or more). Some assignments may not be able to be extended.
  • Student is encouraged to initiate this communication by informing a professor that they need to utilize their accommodation for extensions on assignments and seeking an agreement on a new due date. Professor can also initiate this communication. LAS is available to liaise by request of student or professor.
  • Professor and student may reach out to LAS in cases where it is unclear what that extension should be or if other guidance is needed.
  • If an accommodation for extensions results in assignments being turned in after the end of the semester, student would need to seek an Incomplete through the Registrar’s process prior to end of the semester.

Definition of Disability under the ADAAA (2008)

disability is an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

  • Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
  • Major Bodily Functions include, but are not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Accommodation Information (General) 

An 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.

If a student is eligible for accommodations through the Learning and Accessibility 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 LAS Office.

Students are requested to provide 72 hours notice and for testing or other accommodations that require advanced planning.  If a student does not give proper notice, attempt to accommodate him or her but know you will not be held responsible if you are unable to provide the accommodation.

Faculty members play an integral role in supporting our students with disabilities. If a student in your class is struggling and you suspect he or she may require academic support or accommodations, please feel free to make referrals to Learning and Accessibility Services using las@wheaton.edu or guiding the student to our website to make an appointment. 

Please don't hesitate to contact Learning and Accessibility Services with any questions regarding implementing accommodations.

Thank you for your partnership!

Faculty and Staff Accommodations

If you are a faculty or staff member who needs to request an ADA accommodation, please contact the Human Resources Director at hr@wheaton.edu