Carnegie Mellon University

Tips for Faculty

Best Practices

  • Encourage students to discuss accommodations with you as early in the semester as possible. You can do this as part of the general information you give students verbally, or you may opt to place some language about accommodations in your course syllabi. The following language is suggested:

“If you have a disability and require accommodations, please email Catherine Getchell, Director of the Office of Disability Resources or call her office at 412-268-6121. If you have an accommodations letter from the Office of Disability Resources office, I encourage you to discuss your accommodations and needs with me as early in the semester as possible. I will work with you to ensure that accommodations are provided as appropriate.”

  • Students have a right to privacy related to their accommodations. All conversations should be confidential. Conversations with others regarding the accommodation(s) should be limited to those who have a need to know.
  • File notices of accommodations in a secure location.
  • If you have a question about a student’s accommodation or how to implement it into your classroom please email Catherine Getchell.
  • If a student presents you with a paper copy of their Summary of Accommodations Memorandum and you are not able to discuss it with them right at that moment, encourage them to schedule an appointment with you to discuss it when you have more time.
  • Some accommodations require a particular arrangement unique to each class. These include testing accommodations, flexible assignment completion dates and consideration for more flexible attendance. Make these arrangements as specific and concrete as possible to avoid ambiguity.

After the meeting

  • Consider summarizing these specific arrangements in writing. Note that students are also encouraged to do this. This keeps the communication clear and ensures that you have a mutual understanding of how their accommodations for your course.

Other tips

  • If you suspect that a student may have a disability, but they have not disclosed this to you, you are not required to provide accommodations. However, if you feel comfortable doing so, you may suggest to the student that they contact the Office of Disability Resources for assistance.  Check out our video for tips on this referral process. 
  • Occasionally, a student may ask you to provide disability accommodations without connecting first with the Office of Disability Resources. To protect yourself, the student, and the university, you should recommend that the student channel any requests through the Office of Disability Resources.

If you have questions, please email the Office of Disability Resources.