Sauk Valley Community College

an institution of higher education that provides quality learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of its students and community

Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty

Sauk Valley Community College in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, section 504, and the ADAAA has established a Disability Support Office to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Students seeking accommodations must self-identify to the Disability Support Office, (DSO). Based upon an intake interview, the documentation provided by the student and their functional limitation, reasonable and appropriate accommodations are determined and a notification sent. The specifics of the disability cannot be released to faculty and staff members due to confidentiality concerns.

How will I be notified of an accommodation?
For confidentiality reasons, all accommodation notices and communication from the DSO office are sent via the SVCC email account only.  Accommodation notices may be sent at any time throughout the term. All faculty members are encouraged to check their SVCC email regularly.
Once a notice is received what is my next step?
Students must inform their professor of their intent to utilize their accommodations. Not all students will use the same accommodation in each class. This may be due to multiple reasons such as the functional impact of their disability or the method of teaching i.e., hands-on vs. lecture. Once a student has indicated that they will be utilizing their accommodations the faculty member should follow the notice as outlined.
Do accommodations apply to hybrid or on-line courses?
All students of Sauk Valley Community College may be eligible for accommodations. This includes, traditional class instructions, hybrid, or on-line instruction, for all degree and non-degree seeking students.
Am I required to provide the accommodations listed in the email notice?
Yes. Students with disabilities are protected under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, and the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended. These laws allow students with disabilities equal access to education. Faculty and staff have a legal obligation to provide the accommodations as outlined in the notice.
What if a student requests accommodations but no notice was received from the Disability Support Office, (DSO)?
Occasionally a student may request that you provide accommodations to them, but you never received notification from the Disability Support Office. The DSO is the only office on campus designated to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Please refer the student to the Disability Support Office, (DSO), located in room 1G4.
A student has asked for accommodations midway through the semester. Am I required to provide them?
Yes. There may be many reasons why a student does not seek accommodations until late in the semester. Accommodations should be implemented upon receipt of notice. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive and do not require any alterations or consideration to previous assignments or exams.
A student has identified that they need accommodations. They have been struggling all semester. Why do I have to refer them to the DSO?
In accordance with Sauk Valley Community College policy, the DSO is the designated office on campus authorized to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Failure to comply with institutional policy and procedure may place the employee and institution at risk for a Civil Rights investigation and/or violation. In the best interest of the student, yourself and Sauk Valley Community College, you should refer the student to the Disability Support Office.
How do I know that the student really needs the accommodation listed?
Sauk Valley Community College in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, section 504, and the ADAAA has established a Disability Support Office to determine reasonable and appropriate accommodations. Based upon the documentation provided by the student and their functional limitation, reasonable and appropriate accommodations were determined and a notification sent. The specifics of the disability cannot be released to faculty and staff members due to confidentiality concerns.
Are students required to identify their disability or provide copies of documentation to faculty or staff?

No. Students are not required to divulge the nature of their disability or provide faculty and staff members with copies of their disability documentation. For those students with documented disabilities, faculty and/or staff does not have the right to ask about the nature of the disability.

Disability information is not routinely released to faculty or staff members. According to the Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD), Disability “related records provided by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional are not subject to free access under FERPA.” Following best practices established by AHEAD, faculty members are sent a notice of approved accommodations as “it is only necessary to share with the faculty the information that a student has a documented disability and need for accommodation(s).” Faculty members have no need to know the nature of the disability, “only that it has been appropriately verified by the individual (office) assigned this responsibility on behalf of the institution.”

I have some experience working with students with various disabilities and feel confident that I could help the student with their particular challenge. May I ask the student what their disability is and offer my assistance?
Faculty should refrain from asking a student about specific information regarding their disability. Allow students the opportunity to meet with you during office hours to discuss any questions or concerns that they may have regarding the course material. However, if students choose to disclose their disability, this information should be treated confidentially. Use a syllabus statement and class announcements to invite students to disclose their needs. Please refrain from discussing a student’s accommodation notice or disability in the presence of students or other individuals.
What recourse do I have if I do not agree with the accommodation notice?
If the faculty member disputes the accommodation, it is their right and responsibility to contact the coordinator for discussion. The accommodations as stated in the accommodation notice must be provided until a resolution has been reached. Please note that a dispute of an accommodation must be based on a fundamental alteration of the academic material. Specific information regarding a student’s disability is confidential and is not shared with faculty and staff members.
I received an accommodation notice for a student but they have not approached me to utilize them.
Students have the right to choose not to use accommodations. Do not feel obligated to provide accommodations to a student with a known disability if they have not requested them.
Am I required to lower the standards of the course or program to accommodate a student with a disability?
No. Students with disabilities must meet the same academic standards established for all students. However, a student with a disability may demonstrate their knowledge or be tested for mastery of content in an alternative method from their peers. For example; a student with a writing disability may utilize a scribe or dictation software for essays and short answer questions on exams.
Why aren’t students that test outside of the classroom required to take their exams at the same time as the class session?
Whenever possible students should schedule their exams during the same time period. However, this is not always possible for students who receive additional time to complete their exam. Exam time should not overlap into another course. For example, students should not forfeit attending their next class (science) to take a test for the previous course (English).
My class is easily distracted by the sign language interpreter. May I ask them to move to a less noticeable location?
The interpreter must maintain a clear line of sight with the student so that the student has equal access to the material presented. The other students will adjust to the interpreter in a few days.
I have been asked by DSO to provide them with the book and ISBN number for the next term weeks in advance. Why is that necessary?
Books that must be converted into alternative text take several weeks to prepare. In order for the DSO to obtain the file and begin the conversion process, it is necessary to have the information several weeks in advance of a new term. No one wants a student to be unprepared and fall behind in a course.
I have a student that is struggling but I have not received an accommodation notice. May I ask the student if they have a disability and would like assistance?

It is not a recommended that you question a person about a disability directly. Language in the ADAAA discourages a public entity from making inquiries into the existence of a disability. In addition, direct inquiries may be perceived as intrusive or insensitive. You can encourage students to share their unique learning needs with you, and assure them that you will keep the information confidential. Review the information about the DSO provided in your syllabi with all students and invite them to discuss any questions that they may have with you.

Remember you always have the option to complete any Early Alert form for a student that is struggling.

To access the referral form, simply

  1. log in to FAST (Faculty and Staff Tools)
  2. Under Documents and Forms. Click Early Alert Referral Form.
  3. Complete the information and submit.

All information will be handled confidentially and shared only with those individuals receiving a referral.

Please remember that if a student is in an emergency/crisis situation, please contact the Counseling Office at extension 208.If you have any questions or concerns, contact Janet Matheney in the Counseling Office at mathenj@svcc.edu or extension 305.

I still have questions about the notice.
Please, contact the Coordinator to discuss any questions or concerns that you may have. The DSO offers day and evening hours for students and faculty access. The coordinator may be reached at extension 246, room 1G4.
I do not feel that the accommodations are reasonable. What recourse do I have?
If the faculty member disputes the accommodation, it is their right and responsibility to contact the coordinator for discussion. The accommodations as stated in the accommodation notice must be provided until a resolution has been reached. Please note that a dispute of an accommodation must be based on a fundamental alteration of the academic material. Specific information regarding a student’s disability is confidential and is not shared with faculty and staff members.