Senate Policy Regarding Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities states that “York University shall make reasonable and appropriate accommodations and adaptations in order to promote the ability of students with disabilities to fulfill the academic requirements of their programs.” It also requires that, “provided that students have given sufficient notice about their accommodation needs, instructors shall take reasonable steps to accommodate these needs in a manner consistent with the guidelines established hereunder.”
Two general types of accommodations exist:
- Exam accommodations that relate to students taking tests typically in a classroom setting, but also missing class for significant religious observances, and
- Other academic accommodations, which relate to activities inside and outside the classroom, including participation, group work, and assignments.
Please also consult / recommend to your students or others the information about mental health shown below, as appropriate.
Exam Accommodations can be granted to students due to various reasons:
- Due to an exam conflict
- Because the student needs academic accommodations for writing the exam (e.g., a quiet room, special aids, etc.)
- Due to significant religious observances; and
- Because of unavoidable absences.
Exam Conflict. Undergraduate students must complete an Exam Conflict Form. The Office of the Associate Dean Academic will approach you to determine an accommodation for the affected student.
Exams conflicts for Graduate students occur very infrequently. Students are asked to approach you directly to determine what can be done. Alternatively, you may also be approached by the Office of the Associate Dean to help broker a suitable arrangement.
Academic Exam Accommodation. In most cases the student will write the examination in a separately scheduled period and in a separate location, both controlled by the Registrar’s Office. If a student is registered for an alternative exam sitting, the Alternate Exam Centre will contact you well in advance and ask you to supply the examination. Keep in mind that Alternate Exam Centre may have to transcribe the exam into braille or audio record it before its administration.
Significant Religious Observances. York University respects religious beliefs and practices. Students who need an exam accommodation due to this reason are required to contact you 3 weeks prior to the start of the examination period. Students will bring an Exam Accommodation Form for you to sign. They are asked to provide you and Student Services with a signed copy of this form.
In cases other than final examinations students are expected to give you a notice of 14 calendar days. Accommodations for significant religious observances may include:
- Rescheduling the evaluation, or
- Preparing an alternative evaluation for that particular student, or
- Recalculating the total evaluation in the course to eliminate the component that has been missed.
When you and student are unable to agree on suitable accommodation, the matter will be referred to the associate dean who may request that the student present evidence concerning the religious obligations involved.
A list of significant religious holidays is posted here: Significant Religious Holidays Calendar
Unavoidable Absence. An avoidable absence may occur due to sickness, an accident or family misfortune. For a midterm exam, the student is required to contact you and Student Services and provide both with documentation. The resolution is left to your discretion, with the expectation that the case be resolved within 14 calendar days.
In the case of a final exam, the student must contact you and the appropriate Student Services Director within 24 hours and submit formal, original documentation to both within 48 hours of missing the exam. The student is also responsible for arranging the deferred final exam.
In case of other exams, you are free to accommodate the student as appropriate. Please ensure that a copy of the student’s documentation reaches Student Services as this unit keeps track of students.
Please contact Student Services if you have any questions.
Academic accommodations may have to be provided for assignments, midterm exams and group work as well. Please see the Senate Policy for a list of typical accommodations required, including alternate scheduling, extensions, assistive services or devices, special seating, etc.
The student will approach you with a letter issued by the Office of Counselling and Disability Services (CDS) that outlines the requested accommodations, and you are asked to take reasonable steps to accommodate the student’s needs.
Please see the Faculty Awareness Blog and Faculty Resource Guide for information on how to design courses accordingly or appropriate means of accommodation within an existing course structure. Here a few tip sheets that aid in designing courses an lectures that, besides making general sense, minimize negative impact on students with impairments:
- Using Powerpoint
- Using Word Documents and-or PDFs
The Province of Ontario has also negotiated an agreement with major textbook publishers to provide accessible versions of books to students with visual impairments. Please see the following handout for more information:
If you are planning activities outside the classroom, please see the following checklist:
Mental health issues are a growing challenge affecting all of us on campus. York University has designed a comprehensive website that provides wellness tips as well as information about resources, both on and off campus, that are available to provide support.