Welcome to the Disability Resource Center (DRC). The DRC’s role at UF is to ensure access for students with disabilities as outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
As a UF instructor you share a very important role in promoting and providing an accessible learning environment for students with disabilities. When students request disability-related accommodations, instructors should refer them to the DRC so that the DRC can identify suggested reasonable accommodations. If the DRC determines that reasonable accommodations may be necessary for the student to access their course, the DRC will create a suggested reasonable accommodations plan. DRC students are required to collaborate with their instructors to discuss this plan within the context of the course, the barriers they experience, and ways to create access in the course.
If faculty need assistance in creating access or providing accommodations or have concerns that they interfere with the essential requirements of the course, they should contact the DRC to collaborate about how to best serve the student. In no circumstances should faculty deny an accommodation without communicating with the DRC about the situation.
DRC staff members encourage instructors to contact us for consultation and presentations on disability related topics. For questions regarding a specific student’s accommodations, please contact the Learning Specialists listed on the student’s accommodation letter.
The University of Florida is committed to providing equal educational access to students with disabilities. As you are developing and/or updating your syllabi, please take a moment to review the university’s Policy on Course Syllabi http://syllabus.ufl.edu/media/syllabusufledu/syllabi_policy_20191204.pdf which specifies the inclusion of the following recommended statement related to accommodations for students with disabilities:
“Students with disabilities who experience learning barriers and would like to request academic accommodations should connect with the Disability Resource Center by visiting https://disability.ufl.edu/students/get-started/. It is important for students to share their accommodation letter with their instructor and discuss their access needs, as early as possible in the semester.”
Please take the time to review this syllabus statement with the class and to specify preferred ways that you would like students to communicate with you about their accessibility needs.
Refer a Student to the DRC
If a student requests accommodations or self-identifies as a person with a disability who has not connected with the DRC, faculty should encourage the student to contact the DRC and request an initial appointment with a DRC Learning Specialist. Students can do so by calling (352) 392-8565.
If a student has not self-identified but you suspect they might want to connect with the DRC, please complete the ‘refer a student’ form and DRC staff will reach out to that student.
Students are often referred to the Disability Resource Center for a number of reasons which can include:
Suspicion of a possible learning disability or ADHD, acknowledgement of a psychological disorder, temporary or permanent physical disability, concerns about academic performance, and general questions or inquiries.
If you would like to refer a student to the Disability Resource Center, please feel free to complete the section below so one of our staff members can reach out to the student.
Confidentiality is very important to maintain for students with disabilities. Not all students will want to disclose their disability, although some may choose to share this information with you. Please be mindful and respectful of the students’ decision regarding self-disclosure because they are not required to disclose the nature of their disability or any medical documentation with instructors. A students’ disability and/or the fact that they use accommodations should not be announced in class. Individual conversations about students’ accommodations should be held in a respectful and private setting.
Governmental mandates, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) all support the protection of privacy.
Communicating about Access and Accommodations
DRC students will provide instructors with their DRC accommodation letter. This can be done via email or in person.
If emailed: The student needs to detail which specific accommodations on their letter they are requesting in your course. If they simply send you the letter, please follow up and ask them to describe their specific accommodation needs in your course. You may also ask the student to meet with you in person or over the phone to discuss their accommodations further.
In person: If the student submits their accommodation letter in person, please take a few minutes to discuss which specific accommodations the student is requesting in your course.
Faculty members are asked to work to provide the accommodations that are listed on the accommodation letter; they should refer students who request other accommodations to the DRC.
Concerns about Accommodations
Occasionally, a student’s accommodation may cause confusion or concern for instructors either in understanding how to provide it or how it will work within the essential functions of the course.
If you are concerned that the accommodation may constitute a fundamental alteration to the course, then that accommodation may not be considered reasonable and appropriate in that course. Faculty should immediately contact the DRC. DRC will respond promptly with support, suggestions, or reasonable alternative accommodations.