Faculty Guidelines

The following provides answers for some often asked questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973:


  • A student is not considered by the University to be a student with a disability unless they have registered with Disability Support Services (DSS).
  • Accommodations begin after the student has provided the instructor (including teaching assistants) with an official LOA from the DSS office. The student is responsible for this action.
  • The instructor must sign the LOA Receipt Form to acknowledge requirements of the LOA. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain the signature/confirmation and ensure its return to DSS.
  • Accommodations must not change the educational integrity of the course and are not meant to do so.
  • If you believe an accommodation will interfere with educational integrity of the course, contact the DSS at 256.824.1997 and speak to Kelly Cothran to find a solution.
  • Every student should be held to the same educational and behavioral standards. For example, if you would allow a make-up exam for a student without accommodations due to illness, then you would also allow a make-up exam for a student with accommodations. Another example, if a student without accommodations is sufficiently disruptive that you would report them to your department chair or to Charger 360, then you would do the same for the student with accommodations.
  • DSS levels the playing field so that students can use their strengths and accommodations to enable their best performance.  If a student's performance earns them a low grade, they should be assigned that low grade just the same as if their perfromance earned them a high grade, then they would be assigned the high grade.

If you have any questions about implementing any of these guidelines please contact Kelly Cothran at 256.824.1997 or dssproctor@uah.edu before taking action.

Faculty Responsibilities

  • Identify and establish essential functions, abilities, skills, and knowledge of courses and evaluate students on this basis. Students with disabilities should meet the same essential course functions as their peers.
  • Refer students who state they have a disability to the DSS office, if the student does not provide a LOA.
  • Use a syllabus statement and class announcements to invite students to register with the DSS office.
  • Expect all students to observe academic standards and code of conduct as outlined in the course syllabus and University policies.
  • Expect the student to initiate any DSS accommodation requests.
  • With regard to testing, the accommodation process begins with the student and the faculty/department. Every effort should be made to accommodate students at this level, particularly for basic accommodations such as extended time or reduced distraction testing spaces.
  • If faculty or departments are unable to provide accommodations, they should work with the student and Testing Services to refer the student to Testing Services for proctoring, as they would for other students who need exam proctoring. Requests for proctoring can be directed to Annette Murray at 256-824-6725 or testing@uah.edu
  • DSS will help administer exams for students that need more advanced accommodations such as assistive technology to access and respond to rest content, interpreting/captioning, readers/scribes, etc. For students in upper division or highly technical courses, DSS may not have the content knowledge necessary to provide readers or scribes. The faculty or their department may be asked to assist with this accommodation.
  • Act immediately upon receiving a student's request for accommodations by providing the service or by contacting the DSS office (if unsure about request).
  • Work to ensure that all audio-visual materials used in class are accessible (e.g., that videos shown are captioned for students with hearing impairments, etc.)
  • Protect all disability-related information as required by FERPA. For example, keep printed items, LOAs, or emails regarding student disability-related information in a protected location.

Faculty are not legally allowed to ask students if they have a disability. For those students registered with the DSS office, faculty are not legally allowed to ask about the nature of the disability. If students choose to disclose their disability, this information should be kept in confidence.