Faculty Resources

Office of Disabilities at Normandale

Instructor accommodation responsibilities


  • Be aware of and comply with Normandale's policies and procedures for providing accommodations.
  • Notify students that accommodations are available, either on class syllabi or by announcing it in class.
  • Set and enforce academic and course conduct standards.
  • Determine essential elements of the course or program.
  • Permit the use of approved accommodations.
  • Collaborate with students and OSD in arranging and providing accommodations.
  • Respect and maintain a student's right to privacy about his or her disability.
  • Suggest on your syllabi that students with disabilities contact the Office for Students with Disabilities if they have not already done so, in order to receive academic accommodations.

For more information please reference the OSD Faculty Handbook.

Frequently asked questions from faculty


Q1 Am I expected to become an expert on disabilities?
Q2 How will I know that a student actually has a real disability?
Q3 Do I have the right to know what type of disability a student has when he/she requests an accommodation?
Q4 Who determines what type of accommodations will be provided?
Q5 Do academic accommodations lower the standards for students with disabilities?
Q6 Do I have to permit the use of audio recorders in the classroom?
Q7 May I make suggestions for alternative types of accommodations or ways to adapt a particular accommodation for a student?
Q8 Is the college required to provide individual tutoring for students with disabilities?
Q9 What if a student with a disability is unable to meet the course requirements, even with accommodations?

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Q1 Am I expected to become an expert on disabilities?
A1 No. The college has staff in the OSD with expertise in verifying disabilities and determining academic accommodations. You are expected to teach students with disabilities, treat them with respect and dignity, and work collaboratively with the student and OSD to ensure that academic accommodations are provided.

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Q2 How will I know that a student actually has a real disability?
A2 First, remember that the OSD reviews relevant medical or psychological documentation and verifies a student's disability as part of the accommodation eligibility process. Secondly, the OSD will send each instructor a form confirming that the student has a disability. The form will list the approved accommodations. Therefore you can be assured that, if accommodations have been approved, the student has a verified disability. If a student requests an accommodation and you haven't received the form, refer the student to the OSD.

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Q3 Do I have the right to know what type of disability a student has when he/she requests an accommodation?
A3 No. Disability information is confidential and a student does not have to inform the instructor about his or her disability or diagnosis when arranging accommodations. Many students will choose to tell you about their disability, and they are encouraged to do so. While you should not ask a student what type of disability he or she has, you may ask a student if there is anything you should be aware of.

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Q4 Who determines what type of accommodations will be provided?
A4 Accommodations are determined by the OSD staff in consultation with the student and, when necessary, in collaboration with the instructor. The decision is based on professional documentation of the student's disability.

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Q5 Do academic accommodations lower the standards for students with disabilities?
A5 No. Academic accommodations are changes to a classroom environment or task that are necessary to provide equal opportunity to qualified students with disabilities. Accommodations are designed to assist students in overcoming functional limitations resulting from their disability. They are not used to lower the standards. Students with disabilities will still be responsible for meeting course and conduct requirements.

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Q6 Do I have to permit the use of audio recorders in the classroom?
A6 Yes, audio recording class lectures and discussions may be a necessary accommodation for some students. If the OSD approves use of a audio recorder for a student, you must allow it. As a general rule, any classroom material which a student typically would take notes on may be recorded. If you are concerned about copyright or academic freedom issues, it would be appropriate for you to work with the OSD and the student to devise a contract which would specify how the recordings may be used and proper disposal procedures.

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Q7 May I make suggestions for alternative types of accommodations or ways to adapt a particular accommodation for a student?
A7 Yes. You may make suggestions to the student and the OSD about the effectiveness or appropriateness of an accommodation to a particular situation. However, you may not discourage or disallow an accommodation that has been approved by the OSD for use by a specific student.

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Q8 Is the college required to provide individual tutoring for students with disabilities?
A8 No. Individual tutoring is not an accommodation, but tutoring is available for all Normandale students in the Tutoring Center, Math Center, and online through Smarthinking (accessed through D2L/Brightspace).

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Q9 What if a student with a disability is unable to meet the course requirements, even with accommodations?
A9 Students with disabilities who are unable to meet essential course requirements can be failed.