What is an Accommodation?

Ensuring qualified students with disabilities have equal access to UWSP courses and programs is an institutional responsibility. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and its Amendments (2008) require post-secondary educational institutions to give individual consideration to accommodation requests. An accommodation is essentially an exception to a course policy or requirement, or a modification to a particular experience, designed to ensure access.

One of the primary roles of the DRC is to determine reasonable academic accommodations and collaborate with instructors to ensure a student with a disability has equitable access to a course. DRC staff meet with students to discuss the barriers being presented by the student’s condition and identify accommodations that minimize those barriers. DRC staff also review documentation to verify the functional limitation the student is describing. Information on qualification processes and documentation requirements can be found at ‘Applying for Accommodations' under the ‘Students’ sidebar.

More complex situations require collaboration and communication between instructors and DRC staff. Determination of accommodations often includes an analysis of a course’s format and learning outcomes to ensure accommodations do not “fundamentally alter” the course in a way that negates the learning objectives. This is often the case when instructors, students, and DRC are navigating situations where absence has occurred, deadlines are impacted, or modifications to course activities are being considered.

DRC staff are well-versed in a wide variety of accommodations and have an understanding of the legal and compliance contexts surrounding provision of services to students with disabilities. Combining that knowledge with the disciplinary expertise of an instructor ensures that the institution can meet its responsibilities.