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Faculty Handbook

The Center for Student Access (CSA) works closely with faculty, staff, students, and partners from the community to ensure continued professional development on disability. Additionally, CSA provides services and accommodations to students with disabilities when accessible options aren't readily available.


The Center for Student Access recognizes disability as an integral component of diversity. We consult with students, faculty, and staff to support the ongoing development of an accessible college.


Students with disabilities are protected under two United States mandates, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended in 2008 (ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504).


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires all public entities to make "reasonable modifications" to rules, policies, procedures, and services to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not discriminated against. The ADA was amended in 2008 (ADA Amendments Act) to broaden the definition of disability and to provide greater deference for disability experts. The accommodations that the CSA provides are a direct result of this law.

Section 504

Like the ADAAA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides protections for individuals with disabilities, but it more narrowly applies to institutions that receive federal financial aid.

Under the 504 standards, colleges are required to utilize accommodations when the classroom or virtual spaces are not accessible to students with disabilities.

Section 508

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires equal access to information procured, maintained, and presented by the federal government. It broadly applies to electronic and information technology, and is used as a milestone for content accessibility on the web or other electronic spaces, regardless of use-cases.

While section 508 more narrowly applies to federal operations than 504, its standards for equal access represent an ideal that goes far beyond the Band-Aid mentality of the accommodation model.

Common Misconceptions

The following list corrects commonly held erroneous beliefs about students with disabilities, disability law, and how the CSA functions at LCC.

  1. I have the right to tell a student with disabilities that s/he cannot record my class lectures.

    If the student has been approved through CSA to record classroom lectures, which should be checked off on the Instructor Memo s/he gives you, then that student may record your class lecture via a recording device. The Center for Student Access can provide a disclaimer signed by the student which states that the student will not share recorded information.

  2. Allowing extra time on tests gives students with disabilities an unfair advantage over other students taking your tests.

    Legally mandated accommodations such as extended time on tests are intended to provide students with documented disabilities the opportunity to have their abilities, not their disabilities, evaluated. If the speed at which a student can produce this information is not part of what is being measured on the test, the time frame should not be an issue. With this said, you should grade the work of disabled students as you would all other students. You should not 'go easy' on them. On the other hand, don't grade their work harshly due to the 'advantage' of extra time or other accommodations.

  3. I have a student who needs a note taker, so I should announce this to the class.

    Yes and no. Announce that volunteer note takers are needed but don't name the student for whom the notes are being taken. This information must be kept confidential. Once a note taker has been identified, faculty should arrange with the CSA student how to disseminate their set of notes. The CSA student should take notes as possible and no notes should be taken on behalf of this student if s/he is absent. This accommodation is meant to allow the CSA student a second set of notes with which to compare their notes.

  4. I must accommodate students with disabilities, regardless of whether or not they have given me notification of their accommodation needs.

    If a student does not provide you with an Instructor Memo stating accommodations approved through CSA, you are not obliged to provide the student with accommodations. Ideally you will have shared with your class on the first day of the semester the CSA statement on your departmental syllabus which details how to contact CSA. If, however, you suspect a student not utilizing our services may qualify for and benefit from them, please speak with CSA staff to gain insights on how to approach the student without compromising ADAAA standards.

  5. Terms such as 'wheelchair bound', 'handicapped' or 'special needs' are acceptable to use when referring to the student served by CSA.

    These words are disrespectful and can make a person feel excluded and cause a barrier to full academic participation. Suggested terms include 'Wheelchair user' and 'physically challenged.'

  6. I can pet service dogs while they are working.

    Regardless of how adorable Fido may be, when a service dog is working s/he must focus on her master or mistress. Even when the dog is 'on break' do not touch her without the owner's permission.

  7. If I have a student who qualifies for test accommodations it is my responsibility to make testing arrangements on his or her behalf.

    Unlike K-12 when it is the school's responsibility to identify and assist students with disabilities, in college where we follow ADAAA, it is the student's responsibility to access and arrange his or her accommodations. When students are in CSA offices, we review instructions with them of how to arrange a quiet room and/or reader for a test. Students sign off that they understand this information and they are given a copy of the instructions. It is the instructor's responsibility to send the test to the Assessment Center in a timely manner so it is there by the student's scheduled testing time.

  8. Parents can contact me to find out how their son or daughter is progressing in my class and make suggestions regarding how I should or should not teach to their child.

    FERPA- Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act- prevents this. Per the U.S. Department of Education, "Once a student reaches 18 years of age or attends a postsecondary institution, he or she becomes an 'eligible student,' and all rights formerly given to parents under FERPA transfer to the student." We suggest obtaining written permission from the student if you are inclined to communicate with his or her parents. However, even though you have permission to communicate with parents, that does not mean you must communicate with them. Some parents struggle with 'letting go' when their child reaches college. Be patient, but keep in mind protection of your students' rights is paramount.

  9. If a student misses a huge chunk of class time due to a disability related issue--such as hospitalization or being bed ridden--I should refer the student to CSA in order to make a determination of whether an Incomplete or W is warranted.

    It is not within the domain of CSA to make a decision of this nature. If the student misses class due to a medical issue, the student should be referred to the Registrar's Office to see if a medical withdrawal- possibly with tuition reimbursement- is reasonable. Our offices can confirm that the student is or is not working with us, but a W or Incomplete is decided by the instructor or based upon their department guidelines. Registrar will likely ask for medical documentation.

  10. I can use my classroom to accommodate students who require a quiet room and/or extended time because I allow plenty of time for tests in my class and you could hear a pin drop during these tests.

    Unless the student states a preference for the situation you just described, she should be allowed her quiet room and time and a half to double time what the other students are allowed for taking the test. It is also improper to have the test read aloud in a hallway to the student who qualifies for a reader. Students must arrange for their quiet room or reader with CSA at least 5 business days in advance of the test date. It is inappropriate for the teacher to 'suggest' and possibly 'bully' the student into 'just trying' to take the test in the scenarios described above. Most students want to please their teachers and students with disabilities may be insecure and more pliable than other students.

Best Practices

Universal Design for Learning

"Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn" (CAST). At its core, UDL is a pedagogical framework that encourages us to think of learning spaces as having the capacity to enable or disable our students, just as physical spaces can either allow us to move freely or stop us in our tracks.

In practice, this can mean presenting information in multimodal ways such as using visuals, text, and audio descriptions simultaneously, or simply rethinking classroom policies so that exceptions don't have to be made when a student with a disability has a need that contradicts that policy (such as not allowing electronic devices in class).

If you would like to learn more about universal design, or if you have questions about the accessibility of your classroom or course materials, please contact CSA. You can also check out the Faculty Teaching Resources at the end of this handbook for many great UDL guides, organizations, and courses.

Types of Disabilities

Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities is a term that includes an array of disorders. People diagnosed with learning disorders struggle with difficulties in speaking, listening, writing, reading, reasoning, and mathematical skills. These are often referred to as 'silent' disabilities and are the most common type of disability found among college students. It's important to note that many returning adult students struggle with undiagnosed learning disabilities.

Misunderstood Minds - A PBS special on young students with learning disabilities.

Psychological Disorders

Many students suffer with one or more of another cadre of invisible disabilities found under the category of psychological disorders which may include but is not limited to anxiety, depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and mood disorders. Symptoms often include low self-esteem, mood swings, inability to focus and more.

Achieving equal access through accommodations and universal design - An excellent article on mental illness in postsecondary institutions.

Blind and Low Vision

Best practice for addressing people who are blind or visually impaired is to talk to the non-sighted person in the same way you would talk to any person. For example, you may use the words 'see', as in 'see you later', and 'look' as in 'we need to look into that'. However, within the instructional process it is best not to point to something or tell students to 'look' at something or ask them to describe what they see. Many blind or low vision students rely on assistive technologies to allow them independence. They also rely on their classmates and creativity on the part of their instructors. Not all blind students register with CSA while some work with CSA closely.

As you work with students who are blind or low vision, be cognizant of the materials you are using in class. It may be beneficial, for example, to utilize D2L as a mechanism to upload tagged handouts so these students can read the document with the rest of the class and follow along.

Screen Reader Simulation - A simulation of how blind students experience the web.

Low Vision Simulation - A simulation of how a person with macular degeneration may experience the web.

Seeing Biology Through the Eyes of Visually-Impaired Students - A Swarthmore biology instructor's experience working with blind/low vision students.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorder has been diagnosed more in the past decade than ever before and many of these autistic individuals are becoming college students. Autistic students have a tendency toward disorganization. It may be best not to focus on an autistic student's struggles in this area as this can worsen the problem. Offering a means of gaining organizational skills will help the student academically while alleviating stress. Stress can push an autistic student to exhibit behaviors such as speaking out of turn, interrupting, and other social disruptions. Breaking tasks into manageable chunks of work and using positive behavior rewards can help these students focus on their work and act out less often.

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder? - The National Institute of Mental Health's webpage on ASD.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing

It's important for you as a classroom instructor to be knowledgeable on how to work with Sign Language Interpreters in the classroom.

First, it's important to note that not all deaf people use interpreters just as not all hard of hearing people read lips. However, if you have a Deaf student and Sign Language Interpreters in your classroom, there are some basic teaching elements you should keep in mind.

For example, face the student when speaking to him or her. When you write on the whiteboard, make sure not to speak to the board as you write. All media with an audio component shown in your class should be close-captioned and a transcript can be provided in addition to captioning. The transcript can be made available on the class course delivery system so it is available to all students. Check with CTE for helpful advice on closed captioning videos. In addition to the free software offered through CTE, captioning can be provided, for a fee, via a CART provider, arranged through the Center for Student Access. You may also contact the Center for Student Access with questions or concerns you have with Deaf and Hard of Hearing students in your classroom.

The Interpreter's Role

The Interpreter's role is to facilitate communication between the Deaf student and the teacher/class. Remember to always speak directly to the student and not to the Interpreter. Due to slight 'lag time' Interpreters have when interpreting from English to American Sign Language (ASL), give the Deaf students enough time to respond to questions asked in class before continuing your lectures.

PEPNet Tipsheet: Interpreting

Real-Time Captioning

Real-Time Captioning is an accommodation provided to some Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing students if they are not well versed in ASL, or in a classroom situation where there is a highly specialized vocabulary used (i.e. classes in the medical fields, engineering, etc).


Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) is a word-for-word speech-to-text interpreting service for people who need communication access. It benefits people who are late-Deafened, oral Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, or who have cochlear implants. Culturally Deaf individuals also make use of CART in certain situations. Unlike computerized note taking or abbreviation systems, which summarize information for consumers, CART provides a complete translation of all spoken words and environmental sounds, empowering consumers to decide for themselves what information is important to them.

A CART provider uses a steno machine, notebook computer and real-time software to render instant speech-to-text translation on a computer monitor or other display for the benefit of an individual consumer or larger group in a variety of settings. A CART provider is sensitive to the varying needs of consumers and has had training in conveying a speaker's message, complete with environmental cues. Increasingly, CART is being provided remotely via the Internet or a telephone connection. CART is also referred to as real-time captioning.

PEPNet Tipsheet: Remote C-Print Captioning in the Educational Environment

PEPNet Tipsheet: Commuication Access Realtime Translation


C-Print is a speech-to-text (captioning) technology and service developed at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, a college of Rochester Institute of Technology. The basis of C-Print is printed text of spoken English displayed in real time, which is a proven and appropriate means of acquiring information for some individuals who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing. A trained operator, called a C-Print captionist, produces a text display of the spoken information in classroom or other settings. At the same time, one or more students read the display to access the information. A C-Print captionist includes as much information as possible, generally providing a meaning-for-meaning translation of the spoken English content. After class, the text can be provided in paper or electronic format for the student to use as notes.

PEPNet Tipsheet: Remote C-Print Captioning in the Educational Environment

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from "mild" (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to "severe" (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury). Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions. Effects of TBI can include impaired thinking or memory, movement, sensation (e.g., vision or hearing), or emotional functioning (e.g., personality changes, depression).

In an academic setting, TBI often impacts short term memory skills in the learning process. Classroom activities such as note taking and even discussion can be negatively impacted by limited memory capacity. Consider providing an outline of the class discussion to students before lectures, allowing them to write their notes in preordained areas. This will prove helpful to most students. In test taking situations, students with TBI might benefit from taking the test in a Quiet Room with extended time to complete the test. Another test taking accommodation may be for the student to take the test in smaller sections, with study time in between testing segments, in order to accommodate the short term memory issues. Since there is significant variability regarding symptoms for those with Traumatic Brain Injury, if the student has disclosed TBI as his or her disability, it would be best to discuss accommodations with the student.

Physical Challenges

Students may struggle with a multitude of chronic illnesses or physical challenges which impact their ability to learn. Some of these students may work with CSA, while others may choose not to use accommodations.

Mobility Impairments

Mobility impairments can consist of physical impairments requiring assistive support, such as a wheelchair, or they can be caused by chronic pain or other debilitating issues.

When talking with a person in a wheelchair, it is best to try to speak to him or her at eye level. A student's wheelchair is considered a 'part of their own personal space,' and as such should not be touched by anybody else. A person's wheelchair should always be considered a personal-assistance device rather than an object that somebody is 'confined to.' People in wheelchairs should not be relegated to the back row. Create an arrangement that allows the student to be a part of the regular classroom seating.

A student's inability to write may need addressing in a classroom setting. If the student is working with CSA, we will offer such a student note taking assistance and the ability to record class lectures.

Students who deal with chronic health issues also may need considerations such as the ability to sit near a door so they can leave to take medications or, for example, in the case of a back issue, the opportunity to walk in the hallway for a few minutes to help relieve their pain.

Every student in this category will bear a different array of symptoms that may need addressing.

Working with Students with Service Animals

Service animals are a right, not a privilege; students who utilize physical and psychiatric service animals have a right to bring their animals into the classroom environment, and are not required to register with CSA or Public Safety in order to do so.

Persons with disabilities, or persons who are training service animals, have the right to bring their working animals into the campus environment. In the state of Michigan, 'service animals' can be either dogs or miniature horses.

Only the following two questions may be asked of the person with the service animal:

Is this service animal required because of a disability?

What work or task has the animal been trained to perform?

You may not ask what the disability is, nor may you ask to see the animal perform a task. Students with service animals may or may not work directly with CSA. Service animals are welcome anywhere that members of the public would be welcome. Service animals must be under their owners' control at all times by means of a leash or tether, via vocal commands, or through some other effective control. If a service animal is out of control or if the animal is not housebroken, that animal may be excluded from the environment.

Fear of animals, allergies, or sensitivities to animals are not appropriate reasons to exclude service animals from an environment. Please work with CSA to troubleshoot these challenges as they develop so we can assist you in making the environment as safe as possible for all members of the class.

Additional Resources

Faculty Teaching and UDL Resources

Professional Organizations & Public Resources

State and Local

  • PAR Rehab Services

    Psychological and rehabilitation services with a focus on accurate diagnosis and successful treatment. Ask if they offer a discount to LCC students.


  • pepnet 2 (pn2)

    The principal organization in postsecondary education devoted to the support of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

  • Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP)

    Previously known as Commission for the Blind, BSBP is a federal commission that assists blind and low vision individuals to achieve employment and independence.


It is both inappropriate and illegal to discuss a student's disability in front of other students or staff. All matters pertaining to a student's disability are confidential. Do not discuss a student's disability in class or in front of other students unless the student has made it explicitly clear that it is okay to do so.

Contacting CSA

Phone: 517-483-1924

CSA Staff

Name Title/Focus Email Phone
Jessica Gordon CSA Coordinator 517-483-1358
Vacant Reader Services Coordinator 517-483-1924
Kim Cory Learning Disability Specialist 517-483-1214
Vacant Deaf/Hard of Hearing Specialist 517-483-1924

Center for Student Access

Center for Student Access
Gannon Building - StarZone
Phone: (517) 483-1924
Additional contact information »

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