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972-883-2098 Office
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[email protected]

Office Hours

Office: AD 2.224
Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Appointments are available
by request.

Testing Hours

Mon-Thrs 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Fri 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m.


Mailing Address

University of Texas at Dallas
Student AccessAbility
800 W. Campbell Rd., AD 30
Richardson, TX 75080

Faculty and Staff

Academic Accommodation Information for Faculty

It is the policy of The University of Texas at Dallas to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local regulations regarding students and applicants with disabilities. In compliance with these laws, the Office of Student AccessAbility (OSA) is dedicated to maintaining an environment that guarantees students with disabilities full access to educational programs, activities and facilities.

In carrying out this policy, we recognize that disabilities include mobility, sensory, health, psychological and learning disabilities. It is our intent to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals. We are unable, however, to make accommodations that are unduly burdensome or that fundamentally alter the nature of a course, program or activity.

It is the student’s responsibility to identify himself/herself to OSA and to provide documentation of a disability. Strict documentation guidelines exist for different types of disabilities. See Documentation Guidelines. The student meets with OSA, who determines appropriate accommodations after reviewing documentation prepared by a licensed professional.

With the exception of accommodations, students with disabilities should be treated like other students in the classroom. It is not necessary to develop separate grading criteria or requirements.

Important Note

Instructors are under no obligation to provide accommodations for a student who does not identify himself/herself as a student with a disability. If a student requests accommodations for a disability but has not provided the faculty member with an Accommodation Letter from OSA, the instructor should immediately refer the student to OSA. If the disability is visible (use of a wheelchair, hearing aids, service dog, etc.) and the requested accommodation is obviously appropriate, the faculty member should provide the accommodation while the student is in the process of registering with OSA.

Further Details About Certain Accommodations:

Notetaking Assistance
Absence Leniency
Occasional Extensions of Deadlines or Due Dates
Alternate formats of required readings (E-Text)

Notetaking Assistance

This is one of our most commonly recommended and misunderstood accommodations. Sometimes, it is assumed that this service is supposed to provide notes on days students are absent.  All students, regardless of whether or not they have a disability, must find their own way of securing notes on days that they cannot attend. An accommodation should not be a disincentive to going to class.  Since courses and disabilities have unique concerns, there is no single best way to provide this accommodation.  We suggest that students determine which one works best for your class with your help as early in the semester as possible.  As always, the student’s first preference should be provided so long as it is reasonable and does not fundamentally alter your class.  It’s also important to note that faculty must maintain the confidentiality of the student with a disability.  Never identify the student receiving accommodations in the classroom, only discuss accommodation matters in confidence preferably in your office.

Here are the most common reasonable accommodations in notetaking:

Student Secures Notes from Classmate
The student takes the initiative and recruits his or her own volunteer making copies of another student’s notes, taking a picture of notes with a cellphone or simply compares notes with a classmate.  Students may also give a classmate carbonless copy paper.  These options may not be best for all students, especially when their disability impacts communication.

Student Records Audio in Class
Student uses a smartphone app, voice recorder, or Smart Pen.  Recordings of your lecture must be allowed if this is the student’s preference.  If there are any concerns about how students will use these recordings, you may ask the student to agree to only use the recordings for their educational purposes, to not share the recordings or transmit them to others, and to destroy the recordings at the end of the class. Students who are recording may need to sit down front in the classroom.

Professors Provide Advance Copies of Their Notes
Many professors already post Power Points, skeleton notes, handouts, etc. online in advance for everyone, or when a student with the notetaking accommodation requests they may simply send these by email.  If you do not have advance copies of notes to provide, you are not required to create them.

Professor Recruits Volunteer Notetaker
“Universal Notetaker”… if the professor sees a student taking notes on a tablet or laptop, the professor may ask to review the notes for quality and if they seem comprehensive then the professor may ask the student to email or post the notes for the entire class or just the student who needs the accommodation.
Or a professor may recruit a volunteer just for the student needing the accommodations using copy paper, over the years we’ve found this method to be most effective if the student prefers this option:

1. The student will bring you a supply of carbonless copy paper.

2. At the start of a class session, and without identifying the student needing notes, simply hold up the carbonless copy paper in front of the class and ask for a volunteer to use it to take notes for the rest of the semester.  Most of the time, students who know they take good notes will volunteer.

3. Ask the student who is taking notes to leave the copies with you for the student receiving notes to pick up later.  It is also a good idea to recruit an alternate notetaker at this point. On rare occasions, no one volunteers so some professors have offered incentives to encourage volunteers.

Absence Leniency

This is probably the most misunderstood accommodation for professors and students alike.  It’s obvious that students with chronic conditions, medical treatments, etc. may have to miss some classes and most professors are able to work with them.  We see concerns arise when the student has missed more classes than the professor considers appropriate.  When faculty ask us what to do in such situations, we typically ask about your class.  Are any grades based on performance?  Is it a lab? Is group work done in class? If this is the case, it may not be possible to allow more than a small number of absences.  Students should be informed of these concerns when they provide you with the letter of accommodations.  Especially if you have a rule that you will deduct points for missing class.  Most professors will choose not to deduct points when the student has this accommodation, but you may still do so if you feel the student is going beyond what is reasonable provided it is discussed in advance.  Again, make sure the student understands this at the beginning of the semester. Please, do not ask students registered with the OSA to provide you with a doctor’s note for each time they miss class.  It is not reasonable and could be considered an undue burden for a student with a disability like cancer, lupus, HIV to make an appointment and often be charged a co-pay to see the doctor just for a note.  The OSA letter at the beginning of the semester should be sufficient.  If students still miss too many classes a grade of Incomplete may be considered by the professor after the drop deadline. We now suggest that students and faculty complete this agreement form.

Coaching Tips:
How to talk to professors about your class absences
We recommend students talk to professors to help bridge the gap between a personal/family situation, illness or injury, or any other matters that may be impacting ability to temporarily attend classes, focus on classwork, and/or meet academic deadlines.
To assist with communications, we recommend the following tips to students:

  • Email professor to convey initial situation.
  • Discrete language you can use: medical reasons, unexpected personal situation, on-going health needs, family situation, etc.
  • Utilize professor's office hours or ask to schedule an appointment to follow-up about missed coursework.
  • Share documentation that can verify dates and situations.
  • Plan ahead to discuss missed work: quizzes, assignments, exams, class participation.
  • Try to create an action plan with the professor after meeting/talking.
  • Continue to follow-up with professors for additional missed classes.

Example letter to professors:
Dear Professor Smith,
I am writing to share with you that I have not been able to attend your class (Course name/Unique #) on the following dates (Insert dates here) due to (insert situation here; i.e. illness/flu) situation. I am sorry that I have not been able to attend class; the situation was unexpected but I have been trying to catch-up on course work as best as possible. I can provide documentation to verify the situation, if needed.
Can we set up a time to meet and discuss missed work and possible next steps?
Thank you in advance for your time. I look forward to talking to you soon, when you are next available.
Your name

Occasional Extensions of Deadlines or Due Dates
(Extensions are usually not more than 24-48 hours.)

Like absence leniency, this accommodation may not be reasonable in all classes.  If deadlines are established because of lab experiments, performance evaluation as in drama, music or art classes, or any demonstration of knowledge that must be completed prior to moving on to the next module or content extensions may not be possible.  This is not an accommodation we take lightly, it is rarely granted and only when current, strong documentation is provided from a qualified, treating professional.  Early in the semester, it is very important to discuss with the student how long of an extension you will allow.  If you feel you cannot allow this, please contact the OSA to see if there are other options.

Alternate formats of required readings (E-Text)

The OSA provides thousands of pages of digital texts to students who are blind or have severe dyslexia.  Primarily, the responsibility for arranging this lies with the student and the OSA.  However, faculty can make this process much less complicated for all by doing the following:

  • Select and post your textbook list as early as possible.
  • Distribute handouts by email, make sure if you use PDF files and other digital documents that they are accessible.
  • If a student has concerns about access issues due to their disability contact the OSA as soon as possible
  • Be flexible, on rare occasions a backlog can develop with our document conversion operations consider allowing extensions or delays of tests if you contact our office and confirm there is a backlog.


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