For U-M Faculty and Staff

Suggestions for Faculty (adapted from Services for Students with Disabilities):

  • Syllabus statement: Include a statement in each syllabus asking students to inform you of any special needs to ensure that those needs are met in a timely manner. Read the statement aloud during the first week of class. This approach demonstrates to students that you are sensitive to and concerned about meeting the needs of ALL students you teach, and it offers students the opportunity to make their accommodation needs known to you early in the semester.
  • Confidentiality: Keep information confidential. At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability, except at the student’s request. All information that a student gives to the faculty member should be used specifically for arranging reasonable accommodations for the course of study. Students are encouraged to bring you letters verifying their disabilities during office hours or by special appointment. At that time, arrangement of accommodations can be discussed in private.
  • Textbooks, course packs, syllabi, and videos: Please make your book selections, compiled course packs, and syllabi available in a timely manner. Students who are blind, have visual impairments, or have learning disabilities that affect their reading rates and comprehension require printed materials that are transformed into alternate formats. Conversion of text into a spoken format or Braille can be time consuming. Some students rely on having printed material scanned and saved in computer format that can be listened to using voice output software. If you are collating various journal articles and portions of books into course packs, please use original copies or a copy that is as clean as possible. Creating course packs using copies of copies may cause blurry text that makes it impossible for character recognition software to decipher as readable text. If material included in course packs is not all of top quality, provide originals for scanning.
  • If you wish to be very supportive, you may ask if the publishers of the books you are considering have created electronic text (e-text) and/or audiotape versions.
  • If possible, select a textbook with an accompanying study guide to maximize comprehension for all students.
  • Use captioned versions of videos, which is helpful for deaf or hard of hearing students and students who have other auditory processing difficulties. In most cases, you will be contacted by a specialist in the office of Service for Students with Disabilities (SSWD) before a semester begins or early in the semester, if there is a deaf or hard of hearing student in one of your classes who needs captioning. However if you are aware that you will be using videos in a class with an enrolled deaf or hard of hearing student, please contact SSWD to discuss how captioning can be created for you. Be aware that to create such captioning, SSWD requires a minimum of three weeks from the receipt of a video. So your forethought, prompt action, and cooperation are greatly appreciated. Please provide us with a transcript if one is available. Creating captioning from a transcript simplifies the process and may shorten turn around time. When requesting audio-visual equipment, make sure you request equipment with a captioning decoder.

You can provide important health-related support to UM students, and this tool can help you: How to Ask Health Questions and Refer: A Guide for Faculty and Staff (PDF)
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