Roles and Responsibilities

Faculty Roles, Rights, and Responsibilities

The number of students with disabilities attending postsecondary education continues to increase with each passing year.  It is vital that faculty and staff member be well-informed about the roles, rights and responsibilities of postsecondary institutions in terms of supporting students with disabilities.  These roles, rights and responsibilities have origins in several federal laws which support students with disabilities and allow them the opportunity to enjoy equal access to the benefits of a postsecondary educational experience.

1.   The Legal Dynamics of Disabilities in Higher Education

A.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, prohibits discrimination against otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, solely on the basis of the disability condition, in any program or activity that receives federal funds. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, protects the civil rights of Americans with disabilities in specified public arenas, including such areas as employment, education, public accommodation, transit, and telecommunications. These law bring the issue of disability access to the forefront in institutions of higher education across the country.

B. Compliance to the law, as it is interpreted in the courts on an ongoing basis, impinges upon every facet of the campus and educational processes.

C.  At Asbury Theological Seminary these laws are applicable in regard to (1) “qualified” students and applicants with disabilities, (2) “qualified” employees and applicant for employment, and (3) members of the public with disabilities who are seeking to take advantage of institutional programs and activities open to the public in order to provide equal opportunity and equal access.

D. ATS has an obligation to comply with legal requirements of these laws and to carry out the programs and activities in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of disability. Institutions of postsecondary education must provide an appropriate academic adjustment based on students’ disabilities and individual needs when necessary to avoid discrimination.

E.  In providing an academic adjustment, a postsecondary institution is not required to eliminate or lower essential requirements, make modifications that would result in a fundamental alteration of the programs or activities being offered, or impose an undue burden on the institution.

F. The Disability Resource Center makes every effort to assist professors by providing information about disability related issues, and by providing support as they administer accommodations to individual students in the educational environment.

2.  The Roles of Faculty Members

A.  Faculty members include a syllabus statement that is provided for them, which informs students about the steps they need to take to receive classroom accommodations through the Disability Resource Center. The statement is as follows:

Asbury Theological Seminary provides equal access to students with documented disabilities for all programs and services. Students who qualify for and desire accommodations in this course due to a disability, must submit qualifying documentation to the Disability Recourse Center, and follow the guidelines as described in the Application for Disability Services. Because accommodations may require early planning, students are encouraged to begin the accommodations process prior to the start of the semester. For assistance in regard to registering with the Disability Resource Center, contact the Disability Resource Center Staff

B.  Faculty members provide accommodations to students with disabilities based upon the Graduate Student Assignment of Accommodations form.  The student presents this form to the professor prior to the first day of class so that the professor can determine the best processes for administering the accommodations. This form conveys the specific kinds of accommodations that are provided for each individual student while enrolled at ATS. 

C.  Reasonable accommodations that are provided in each course may require modification of standard classroom approaches. The following are examples of accommodations that may be necessary to provide for students in order to ensure equal access to educational programs and activities:

  • Provided extended time on an exam with a non-distracting environment.
  • Provide alternative ways to fulfill course requirements.
  • Allow assistive technology such as audio recorders, electronic note takers, and laptop computers to be used in the classroom.
  • Consider alternate ways of assessing student’s knowledge of the course content which allows the student’s academic abilities to be measured.

D.  Confidentiality in the accommodation process must be maintained by all parties. Forms related to accommodations should be filed in a safe place, and faculty members should refrain from discussing students’ disabilities and necessary accommodations in the presence of fellow students or other faculty and staff members.

E.  Disability Resource Center staff members are always available to answer questions and serve as a resource for faculty seeking assistance in providing accommodations to students.

3.  The Rights of Faculty Members

A.   Faculty members have the following rights to:

  • Maintain academic standards for courses.
  • Determine course content and how it will be taught.
  • Confirm a student’s accommodations and ask for clarification about a specific accommodation (listed on the Graduate Student Assignment of Accommodations form) with Disability Resource Center.
  • Deny a request for accommodation if the student has not been approved for such accommodation or if the student does not provide the professor with the Graduate Student Assignment of Accommodations form.
  • Award grades appropriate to the level of the student’s demonstration of mastery of material.
  • Fail a student who does not perform to passing standards established in the syllabus.

B.  Faculty members do not have the right to:

  • Refuse to provide an approved accommodation for a documented disability as set forth in the Graduate Student Assignment of Accommodations form.
  • Challenge the legitimacy of a student’s disability.
  • Review a student’s documentation, including diagnostic data.
  • Suggest accommodations or recommend accommodations to a student that would be implemented at the Seminary that are not approved by the Disability Resource Center.

4.  The Responsibilities of Faculty Members

A.  Faculty members have the responsibility to:

  • Understand the laws and university’s guidelines regarding students with disabilities.
  • Refer students to Disability Resource Center when necessary.
  • Provide requested accommodations and academic adjustments to students who have documented disabilities, based upon the Graduate Student Assignment of Accommodations form, in a timely manner.
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality of records concerning students with disabilities except when disclosure is required by law or authorized by the student.
  • Document conversations (including dates) between the professor and the student with disabilities, when the conversation is substantive, and document action taken (with dates) in regard to disability related issues. 
  • Provide handouts, videos and other course materials in accessible formats upon request.

B.  Faculty members may be called upon to participate in a grievance resolution process if a student believes that he/she was discriminated against due to disability. Refer to the Resolution of Grievances section under the Disability Resource Center website.  The records of important conversations (with dates) and actions taken in regard disability related interactions (with dates) may be subject matter discussed in the appeals process.