Faculty and Staff Information
About 1 in 10 U.S. college students have a documented disability with their higher education institution and the number of students requesting support services and accommodations is on a steady incline. Over half of those students seeking accommodations have disabilities that may not be readily apparent, like Learning Disabilities. With trends like these, it is very likely that every faculty and staff member will encounter a student with a disability at some point, whether they are aware of the student’s disability or not. By increasing awareness of disability laws and rights as well as effective, appropriate disability language, we can all do our parts to ensure that the campus and curriculum is universally accessible and equitable.
The Disability Support Services (DSS) office exists to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the opportunities for learning and personal growth that are available to all Trinity students. Federal law defines a “disability” as an impairment that substantially limits the condition, manner, or duration under which a person can perform a major life activity (i.e. seeing, hearing, walking, reading, writing, self-care, self-direction). The existence of a disability does not necessarily impair the individual’s ability to perform, but it may require the use of alternative methods to carry out a given task or alternative methods of evaluation of a skill. In post-secondary education settings, students with disabilities are entitled to “appropriate academic adjustments” and “auxiliary aides” to prevent discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) + Amendments. Once DSS has approved an accommodation for a student and the instructor has signed off on it (See Accessibility Letters link below), the accommodation cannot be denied without the explicit involvement and approval of DSS. Your continued effort to maintain this standard is greatly appreciated.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding general and specific topics alike, please do not hesitate to contact DSS for consultation by e-mail, phone, or in-person. Please avoid using identifying information about students and their disabilities when e-mailing.
Disability Support Services (DSS) conducts several trainings for faculty and staff (separate sessions) through The College of Arts & Sciences and The Trinity Institute for Professional Development each semester. Please check the Human Resources calendar periodically for upcoming sessions of “Accessibility and Accommodations: Students with Disabilities in Higher Education”.
- Can’t attend a FACULTY or STAFF session?
- Accessibility Letters: Q&A for instructors with questions about the letter that lists a student’s approved accommodations
- Faculty Guide for Special Testing Services: directions for instructors who are unable to provide testing accommodations for students due to time and resource constraints
- Tips for Accessible Classrooms: specific recommendations for accessible curriculum development
DSS pages that may also be of interest to faculty members: