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Teaching Students with Disabilities at uc santa Cruz: Key Points

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Teaching Students with Disabilities at UC Santa Cruz: Key Points

UC Santa Cruz embraces diversity and disability is part of that diversity. It is likely

you have had or will have students with disabilities in your classes and programs.

Consideration for students with disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during course planning will help prevent unnecessary complications and additions once your class begins. The DRC website provides comprehensive resources on law, accommodations, process, and services:

    • Students with disabilities must meet the same admission standards as other students.

    • Once admitted, they are entitled to the same rights to all programs, facilities, and technology including websites.

    • They are eligible to receive reasonable accommodations that relate to their disability.

    • They have the right to confidentiality re: disability-related information.

  • Faculty and TAs should maintain a welcoming environment that will encourage students with disabilities to meet with you. It is highly recommended that you include this statement into your course website, syllabus, and class announcements early in the term.  "If you qualify for classroom accommodations because of a disability, please get an Accommodation Authorization from the Disability Resource Center (DRC) and submit it to me in person outside of class (e.g. office hour) within the first two weeks of the quarter. Contact DRC at (831) 459-2089.

  • Students decide if and when to disclose their disability and whether or not to request academic accommodations, such as note takers, sign language interpreters, extended exam time, etc. Students are encouraged to contact the DRC early in the quarter. Staff review medical documentation and authorize appropriate accommodations. These are listed on the DRC Accommodation Authorization form that students deliver to faculty. This information must be kept private.

  • Most of the students with disabilities at UCSC have invisible disabilities: learning, psychological, chronic medical conditions, ADHD, and others. Some students with disabilities come to UCSC without ever having been identified at their high school or community college. Others may already know they have a disability but have decided to try to make it without accommodations. For more information about specific disabilities and teaching strategies please go to

  • Select textbooks in a timely manner. In order for students to acquire their course materials in an alternate format (audio, Braille, large print), it is essential that faculty confirm reading lists as early as possible. Please provide clean copies of articles for readers, E Commons or other electronic holdings. No notes in margin or underlines or crooked photocopies.

  • The procedure for coordinating extended exam arrangements differs with each department/and or division. While faculty members are responsible for the exam administration, most academic departments have a designated contact person to help. Ask your department manager for the name of the designee. Please notify him/her at the beginning of the quarter regarding your exam schedule so there will be adequate time to arrange rooms and proctors as needed. . Every effort should be made to accommodate late requests from students (less than 7 business days prior to exam), however such requests should be rare. Please contact the DRC if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Universal Design of Instruction (UDI) strategies may reduce or eliminate the need for individual accommodations in many cases. UDI also serves the variety of learning styles and cultural backgrounds of our diverse student body and it is consistent with the UCSC Academic Senate COT focus on “learning centered teaching.” Many of your colleagues have already implemented UDI strategies. More detailed information about UDI is available at

  • All class web sites and applications must be accessible to all students, including those with disabilities. It is highly recommended that faculty utilize E Commons for course management. E Commons is ADA accessible. More information about electronic accessibility requirements can be found on our campus ADA page Faculty Instructional Technology Center (FITC) is available to help.

  • The design and implementation of disability-related accommodations is a shared campus responsibility. It is a collaborative process involving the student, the DRC and instructors. Reasonable accommodations are identified to mitigate the educational impact of disabilities; they should not lower the curriculum standards or allow changes that fundamentally alter essential course requirements. You do not have to be an expert on disability related matters. The DRC is available to answer questions or discuss concerns regarding legal mandates, policies and procedures

  • You may observe a student demonstrating a behavior that may indicate a possible learning or other disability. An example is a student who seems to understand material well during class but consistently performs poorly on exams. Please refer him or her to the Disability Resource Center for a confidential, informational appointment. The DRC is also happy to consult with you about how best to approach the student.

DRC Contact Information:

Phone: (831) 459-2089 voice

Fax: (831) 459-5064

Location: 146 Hahn Student Services (next to Admissions Office)

Office Hours: 8-5, Monday-Friday

Website: “Faculty Resource Page”

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