Student Access Updates from Disability Resources
As we begin the new semester, please be aware of the follow disability access updates:
Commitment to access: The University of Minnesota Duluth values diverse identities and experiences, and honors disability as an important aspect of human diversity. Disability Resources works in partnership with students and guests to eliminate or minimize barriers and facilitate inclusion on campus. Trends in disability access shift over time, and you may have observed that more students are requesting disability accommodations. Additional information on disability access trends and steps for creating a welcoming classroom environment are available listed below.
Accommodations: Disability accommodations continue to be available for any student who experiences barriers to access, regardless of the teaching modality. Students who disclose a disability and want to request accommodations should be directed to the online Request for Accommodations form.
Faculty Portal: Disability Resources is excited to introduce a portal that allows faculty to view - by class - all students requesting accommodations and their associated accommodation letters. Take a moment to login and explore, and let us know if you have questions about how to navigate the portal. Don’t forget to bookmark the faculty portal link so you can easily access it throughout the year!
Universal design: To make online courses more accessible to all students, consider implementing these simple strategies:
Record all online livestream video content and make it available on the course website. Consult the Zoom recording guide for instructions.
Turn on auto-captions for all video lectures or meetings. See the Zoom live transcription guide for instructions.
For more information on remote teaching practices, visit the Faculty Resources section of the Disability Resources website and the Keep Teaching website.
Disability Resources continues to be your partner in ensuring access. Please connect with the Office of Disability Resources for support and consultation around any student access concerns that may arise.
The University of Minnesota Duluth values diverse identities and experiences, and honors disability as an important aspect of human diversity. To fulfill our obligation to provide access to all participants, UMD has designated Disability Resources to work in partnership with students and guests to eliminate or minimize barriers and facilitate inclusion on campus.
Disabilities can be apparent and/or non-apparent, which can include mental health and chronic health conditions. Institutions of higher education across the country are seeing increased numbers of students with mental health conditions using disability accommodations.
Like us, you may be receiving questions like the following:
“Why are there so many students with disability accommodation letters?”
The answer is simply that more students, including students with non-apparent disabilities are acknowledging disability and seeking services. Ten years ago, Disability Resources served 353 students. In the 2019-2020 academic year, Disability Resources served 543 students.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2019) reports that 19.4% of undergraduate students report disabilities and 11.9% of graduate or professional students report disabilities. With almost 47,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled at the University of Minnesota, we can expect many more students who have disabilities to seek accommodations.
“What is the process for determining disability accommodations?”
As required by law, Disability Resources gathers information from the student with the disability including information from medical and other qualified providers. Disability accommodations are determined based on the barriers and impacts of the disability in the learning environment, taking into account course and program requirements and expected learning outcomes. Instructors are therefore also an important player in considering whether accommodations may change the nature of the course or learning outcomes. More information on this process may be found on the Disability Resources website.
“How can I make my class or service more welcoming for students with disabilities?”
Two ways to do this include incorporating the syllabus statement in your print materials and reading it out loud to the class, and also inviting students to connect with you about access barriers to any activity or event. Suggested language for the syllabus statement can be found on the Disability Resources website; other tips for advancing inclusion and access in your classroom or service area can be found here as well.
“I have questions about the content in a student’s accommodation letter. Who do I contact?”
Instructors are encouraged to contact the Disability Specialist whose contact information is listed on the bottom of the student's disability accommodation letter.
If you require individualized consultations on disability-related issues, contact us by calling 218-726-6130, or emailing [email protected] to further discuss your needs and concerns.