Rights and Standard Expectations 

  • Faculty have a right to be informed by The Office of Accessibility Resources of any student’s need for reasonable accommodations and to ask questions concerning such accommodations. 
  • Accommodations are designed to make students’ access to course content equitable, not to reduce or minimize such content for students with disabilities. Nor are accommodations meant to compromise course or program academic integrity. 
  • Faculty have a right to question accommodation decisions if they deem them to affect the essential components of a course. 
  • Instructors may suggest alternative accommodations or otherwise negotiate the implementation of an approved accommodation with the student and/or The Office of Accessibility Resources staff to preserve the academic integrity of a course. 
  • Faculty have a right to ask the Provost’s Office to become involved in negotiations between the instructor and The Office of Accessibility Resources regarding any approved accommodation. All such requests must be directed to Associate Provost Yansi Perez. 
  • Faculty may amend their attendance policies for students with flexible attendance accommodations so that neither the student’s ability to fulfill course learning goals nor the requirements and standards of the class are greatly affected. Please consult the Flexible Attendance Accommodation Agreement form for more details. Also, consult the Faculty resources section of the Office of Accessibility Resources webpage.
  • Faculty are not required to re-teach material missed due to approved absences. The student and the faculty member must work out an alternative plan to provide materials or make up any work that is missed. 


  • Faculty must provide accessible course materials and make all required activities accessible to all students to equitably evaluate their attainment of course learning goals. 
  • Faculty are obligated to refer any student to Accessibility Resources if the student requests something due to a medical issue. No “magic words” are necessary for this requirement. When in doubt, refer. 
  • Faculty may use the Recommended Syllabus Statement to inform all students of the standard process regarding accommodations. 
  • Faculty are expected to discuss appropriate options with students to determine how approved accommodations will be implemented. 
  • Faculty are only responsible for implementing accommodations that are approved and documented. Students making additional requests must be referred to Accessibility Resources. 
  • Faculty must keep confidential the disability status of students. 
  • Faculty must implement accommodations as requested or agreed as soon as reasonably possible. 
  • Should a faculty member seek an adjustment of an approved accommodation, they must consult with Accessibility Resources or Yansi Perez, Associate Provost. Faculty should avoid significantly modifying accommodations or granting their own self-designed accommodations without prior consultation with these other parties. 
  • If a faculty member believes that an approved accommodation is inappropriate, is unreasonable, or imposes a fundamental alteration of a program or activity, the professor must consult with Accessibility Resources and/or Yansi Perez, Associate Provost, before significantly modifying or refusing to implement an approved accommodation. Faculty do not have the authority to unilaterally reject an approved accommodation. The Provost is the final arbiter of issues involving academics and accommodations.

Faculty FAQs

Who decides if a student is eligible for accommodation and which one ought to be used?

The Office of Accessibility Resources is responsible for assessing each student petition for accommodations and for determining which reasonable accommodation may be used. The latter question may require sustained communication with faculty. Approved accommodations are communicated to the faculty in all cases. 

If a student claims that they have an approved accommodation or that one is forthcoming shortly, must I implement the required change or wait until I receive documentation from the Office of Accessibility Resources?

It is our policy that faculty ought to wait to receive documentation from the Office of Accessibility Resources of an approved accommodation and not make any changes based on any other information. 

To find out which of your students have approved accommodations, visit the Accommodate system. Sign in with your Carleton username and password.

When your homepage comes up, click on “Courses” in the blue section along the top. You will see a list of all of the courses you are teaching during the current term. Click on the course you are wondering about, then click “Enrolled Students.” A list of all students in your course will populate. At the far right of that list, you will see a heading called “Accommodations.” If any of the students in your course have accommodations, they will be listed in this column.

If I see a student in my course with an approved accommodation in the Accommodate system, am I obligated to organize a meeting with the student? 

Self-advocacy is an important expectation of students with approved accommodations. The student is responsible for approaching their professors to discuss their accommodations. However, some students find it difficult to take the first step. Although instructors are not required to initiate the process, they are encouraged to help their students by aiding them to first talk about their accommodations and plan ahead. Faculty may use the Recommended Syllabus Statement to inform all students of the standard process.

What do I do if a student informs me later in the term about an accommodation? 

Even though students are encouraged to process accommodations early in the trimester, they cannot be forced to do so and cannot be penalized for having asked for an accommodation later in the term. Disability conditions can arise at different points in a person’s life and students can make determinations about when to request accommodations. Faculty are obligated to implement an accommodation from the point of notification, or within a reasonable period of time. Faculty are not obliged to retroactively apply an accommodation before initial notification. 

Faculty are encouraged to use standard syllabus statements to let students know that they ought to communicate as early as possible about any approved accommodations they plan to use in a course. These statements may incentivize earlier communications by reminding students that accommodations are not retroactive and that they ought to be acknowledged in a timely fashion prior to their use. 

If the student wishes to handle their need for an accommodation informally with me and we both agree to a plan, can we avoid the bureaucracy of having to go through the Office of Accessibility Resources?

This is a dangerous course of action. Faculty who handle accommodations this way are assuming legal responsibility for a matter that requires expertise that is best represented by the Office of Accessibility Resources. If a student receiving this kind of “informal” accommodation later complains that they were treated unfairly or that the informal accommodation was ineffective, the faculty member could conceivably be held responsible for violating the student’s civil rights. At a minimum, the faculty member would be found to have violated college policy and might face sanctions as a result. 

If a student claims that they have recently been injured (e.g., a broken bone, a concussion) and that they are eligible for a temporary accommodation, must I implement the requested change?

The Dean of Students Office often provides initial communication with faculty about a student’s injury or other recent health concern. In some cases, students will also work with the Office of Accessibility Resources. Faculty are welcome to contact the Office of Accessibility Resources to consult about how to manage student requests for accommodations or adjustments due to a recent injury or health concern. Depending on the injury and its origins (athletic or non-athletic), the faculty may need to speak with an Associate Dean of Students, who will be in more direct contact with PEAR and SHAC personnel. 

Can I inquire with a student about the underlying reason for an approved accommodation? 

Knowing a student’s specific diagnosis is less important than understanding how a disability affects learning and then working with the Office of Accessibility Resources on a reasonable accommodation. Students are not obligated to disclose their specific diagnosis and it is against policy for faculty to press the issue. Students may, however, elect to disclose details if they choose. Even in these cases, faculty must protect the privacy of the student and not discuss the disability or identify the student as disabled to other students, faculty, and staff (who are not otherwise connected to the Office of Accessibility Resources). 

If a class is being recorded due to an approved accommodation, can I tell the entire class?

Yes, but the student with the approved accommodation must never be identified. The same is true if a note-taker or captioning service are employed. The identity of the student with the accommodation must be kept confidential in all cases. 

What if I have academic and copyright protection concerns about classroom recording?

Instructors ought to discuss their concerns first with the Office of Accessibility Resources and/or Yansi Pérez, Associate Provost. In all cases, students who have been approved the use of a recording device aid are required to sign a confidentiality agreement that protects the privacy rights of other students and any copyrights of intellectual property in the course. This requirement requires the destruction of the recording at the end of the term, after all work has been evaluated. The Office of Accessibility Resources verifies with the student at the end of the term that all recordings have been destroyed. 

I have a “no laptops in the classroom” policy. How do I protect the confidentiality of a student who has an approved laptop accommodation? 

Indicate in your syllabus statement regarding your laptop policy that you will review individual cases and approve laptop use under certain circumstances, including but not exclusively, in cases of approved accommodations. 

If students need to attend class to receive participation credit, how do I assess a student with a flexibility in attendance accommodation who misses class?

Faculty may elect to prorate the student’s attendance or use some other standard to assess the student’s participation, preferably in accord with a plan negotiated with the student earlier in the term. Faculty may not downgrade a student’s participation score if they have an approved accommodation regarding class attendance. 

If a student claims to miss class due to “illness,” how can I determine if this is related to the disability underlying the approved accommodation?

Consult with the Associate Dean of Students, who will have direct access to SHAC, and/or the Office of Accessibility Resources. If the professor cannot determine if the illness is disability-related, then the absence can be handled according to the attendance policy as described in the course syllabus. It is not expected that a student with a chronic health condition will see a medical provider for each flare up of symptoms. 

How much notice may I expect for a testing accommodation?

Normally, a student requesting a testing accommodation must provide a minimum of 72 hours notice to an instructor of an approved accommodation for testing. If notice is shorter, we still recommend that the instructor provide the accommodation, if they can, but there is no requirement in this case. Consultation with the Office of Accessibility Resources in these cases is recommended. 

Can I provide a student with an extra time accommodation an exam with fewer questions to allow the student to complete the task within the standard timeframe?

No, because that would not provide the same educational benefit to the student with an accommodation. Normally, the content of an exam must not be changed, only the period of time for completing the task may be altered. If a student takes an exam before or after the rest of the class, the instructor has the option of changing some of the content to preserve the integrity of the exam, but the assessment mechanism must not vary substantially from the original copy. 

If I give the class extra time on an exam that takes less time, will I have a need to address any approved accommodations for extra time on this exam?

Yes. From a compliance standpoint, students with extra time accommodations must receive more time than the total given the rest of the class. Only take-home and other forms of “unlimited time” assignments and exams are free from the extra time accommodation. 

Can I delay the implementation of an approved accommodation?

Normally, approved accommodations must be implemented from the moment that notification is given to a faculty member. A reasonable period may be allowed for making adjustments, such as to a classroom exam schedule, or negotiating modifications to the accommodation in light of course requirements. But any further delay in the implementation of an accommodation can constitute a form of discrimination against the student. 

If a student with an approved accommodation performs poorly on class assignments, should I reconsider how I grade the work for this student? 

A student with a disability is to be evaluated in the same way that other students are in the same course. If an accommodation ought to be adjusted to equalize a disabled student’s opportunities for learning, the professor should contact the Office of Accessibility Resources. Otherwise, the instructor should discuss their concerns about a disabled student’s performance with that student, just as they would with any other student in the course. 

Do approved accommodations apply to student studying on Carleton off-campus programs?

Yes. Accommodations at Carleton travel with the student on a Carleton OCS program. Implementing the approved accommodation pertains to both Carleton faculty and any other instructors, including foreign nationals, who are hired by the College to teach Carleton students. For non-Carleton programs, faculty and advisers should consult with the OCS office for further guidance.