Access and Inclusion: An overview of faculty
The letter of the law mandates that all federally funded institutions provide academic adjustments when a student with a documented disability makes a reasonable request. The accommodation process is the vehicle used to implement this letter of the law. The spirit of the law widens the focus and encourages the development of a learning environment which the need for academic adjustments is reduced and full access is promoted from the very beginning.
Disability Services is the entity within the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau that reviews requests for accommodation and ensures compliance with legal mandates. Faculty, students, and staff, working together, make up the entity that lives and breathes and embodies the spirit of the law through the development and maintenance of learning environments that support a full and natural range of learning's.
The Rehabilitation and Americans with Disabilities Acts mandate that universities provide students with disabilities the necessary accommodations to ensure equal access to all academic and co-curricular programs and services. To be eligible for accommodations, a student is responsible for identifying himself/herself to DSS and providing appropriate documentation which supports the need for accommodations. DSS then determines accommodations based on how reasonable the request is, given the documentation describing the impact of the disability on academic functioning.
It is important to note that ensuring reasonable accommodation and equal access to academic offerings does not mean that students are guaranteed academic success. The way students with disabilities perform with accommodations varies as widely as the academic performance of non-disabled students. Accommodations are meant to provide a level playing field, to ensure that all students are presented with a learning opportunity in which the path to success is accessible, it is still up to each student to find that success by meeting course objectives.