Accessibility for the CUI Community

Disability Access Services (DAS) partners with CUI staff and faculty to make sure courses and programs are accessible for students who have requested accommodations. Staff and faculty are encouraged to reach out to DAS for guidance on implementing, promoting, and creating accessible content.

View our glossary of the most commonly approved accommodations >>

Syllabus Statement

Please include the following statement in all course syllabi:

Access and Accommodations: Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Access Services (DAS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course. If you have not yet established services through DAS, but have a psychological/learning/physical disability that requires accommodations, you are welcome to contact DAS at 949-214-3039 or [email protected] It is the policy and practice of Concordia University to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. Please be informed that course lectures may be recorded, when necessary, to fulfill a disability accommodation. Please visit the DAS webpage for further ADA information: http://www.cui.edu/das.

Event Statement

If you are promoting an on-campus event, please consider including this statement on posters and flyers:

If you have accessibility concerns about this event, please contact [include event coordinator’s contact info here].

Event coordinators are welcome to reach out to DAS to brainstorm ways events can be more inclusive and accessible for students.

Roles & Responsibilities

Instructors have a right to:

  • Request written notification from DAS of a student’s need for accommodation.
  • Maintain the University’s academic and instructional standards in that the accommodations should not fundamentally alter the course content.
  • Establish late work and attendance policies in keeping with the University’s policies.

Instructors have responsibilities to:

  • Provide these accommodations as part of the University’s mission in providing equal access to all students.
  • Contact Disability Access Services to request clarification or support with accommodations.
  • Maintain confidentiality of information regarding student’s disability. Information should only be shared with those who have an educational need to know.
  • Refer to DAS any students who request accommodations, but have not set up accommodations.
  • Be available to discuss accommodations with students at least once per term.
  • Include an ADA statement in your course syllabus.

Remember, you may not:

  • Ask a student about their disability.
  • Disclose details about the student’s accommodation to other students.
  • Unilaterally deny a student’s approved accommodation.

Best Practices

Faculty and Staff play a crucial role in making Concordia University Irvine a welcoming and accessible campus.

The following are examples of teaching techniques that benefit all students but are especially useful for students who have disabilities. By modeling these practices, we also help students think more inclusively about the world.

  • Make short assignment sheets and reading lists available in electronic format (e.g., email, Blackboard).
  • Face the class when speaking. Repeat discussion questions. Verbally describe pictures and graphs.
  • Turn on captions for all videos, regardless of your classroom having a student with hearing loss.
  • Adopt principles of universal design to make course content accessible to all learners.
  • Write key phrases and lecture outlines on the whiteboard or identify them in the PowerPoint.
  • Always put the person first when describing individuals with disabilities. First and foremost, people are people; secondly, they may happen to experience one or more functional limitations. Thus, they should be referred to as “students with disabilities,” rather than “disabled students.” Avoid terms such as “handicapped,” “victim,” “special needs,” and “normal students.”
  • Be aware that many students are extremely uncomfortable contacting instructors to discuss their accommodation needs.
  • All discussions with students remain private and confidential. Ask students what challenges they are facing and what has helped in the past.

The following are some campus-wide practices that benefit the entire CUI community:

  • Include accessibility statements on event posters and flyers (think transportation, food, and accessible media).
  • Ensure the space is physically accessible. Keep aisles and doorways free from physical barriers.
  • Report inoperable push-button door openers to Jane Doherty, our 504 Coordinator.
  • Allow service dogs to accompany people with disabilities on campus. When it is not obvious the dog is a service dog, you may ask two questions: (1) is the dog required because of a disability? (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
  • Refer to the Disability Language Style Guide for questions of word choice.

How to:

Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know a student has accommodations in my class?

Disability Access Services emails Academic Access Letters at the start of each semester, or at the time a student has requested such communication. The emails are sent via Maxient (a software program), and the Academic Access Letter is attached as a PDF to that email.

What do I do if a student asks me for assistance in my class beyond what I offer to other students, or tells me they have a disability and I have not received an Academic Access Letter?

Direct the student to contact DAS. If you have not been emailed an accommodation letter from DAS, then the student has most likely not registered with our office to received approved accommodations. If a student is currently receiving accommodations in your course, you have the freedom to offer additional accommodations to the student, but please consider cc’ing DAS on such agreements in order that we have record of when additional accommodations are granted.

Additional accommodations should in no way change the course’s goals or alter the academic requirements.

What happens after I receive the accommodation letter?

Students are instructed to follow up with professors if they intend on using the accommodations in that class. Some classes are already accessible, in which case a student may not request accommodations. When a notetaker is requested, DAS will email professors a recruitment statement to post for class. When accessible media is needed, instructors are responsible for sending materials to DAS to be converted into accessible formats.

Remember, you may not ask a student what their disability is; however, students may voluntarily disclose their disability to you, which DAS supports and encourages.

How are accommodations determined?

Information from a student’s documentation helps guide DAS in determining reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are meant to provide equal access; they do not guarantee success or necessarily fit a student’s preferred learning style.

A student in my class has a short-term illness or injury. Do they receive accommodations?

Students often experience a temporary medical condition, such as an injury, surgery, or illness. Typically, these do not qualify students for ADA accommodations since they are not permanent disabilities; however, DAS recognizes that temporary medical conditions still impact a student’s learning experience. Professors and students can work together to make academic arrangements, OR professors can refer students to DAS, where we will help them come up with a communication plan.

What are reasonable accommodations?

Accommodations are modifications to the ways in which things are usually done. The purpose of effective accommodations is to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from college.

The following are examples of the most common accommodations that permit a student with a disability to effectively participate in the educational process:

  • Changes to a classroom environment or task: extended time for an exam, isolated testing location;
  • Removal of architectural barriers: adapting a classroom to meet the needs of a student who uses a wheelchair;
  • Exceptions to policies, practices or procedures: priority registration or accessing assignments early;
  • Provision of auxiliary aids and services: providing a sign language interpreter, or providing a note-taker or scribe.

What is considered an unreasonable accommodation?

Concordia University is not required to offer or provide an accommodation, to admit or continue to admit an individual with a disability to any course, program, service or activity or to provide educational opportunities and other services when:

  • The educational standards or mission of Concordia University would be substantially altered;
  • The nature of the course, program, service or activity would be fundamentally altered;
  • The student is not otherwise qualified (with or without accommodations) to meet the academic and technical standards required for admission or participation in an education course, program, service or activity;
  • An undue financial or administrative hardship (university-wide) would be caused by the accommodation; and
  • If the individual would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of self or others.
  • Additionally, CU is not required to provide accommodations of a personal nature, such as a personal care attendant or personal use equipment.

What happens if I do not agree with a requested accommodation?

Concordia faculty and staff have a responsibility to satisfy obligations of compliance under ADA statutes and regulations.

Accommodations must be requested within a reasonable timeframe and must be reasonable given the situation. When reasonableness clearly exists, instructors must coordinate the appropriate accommodation. When questions about reasonableness exist, instructors should consult with DAS about how to best address the situation: [email protected], 949-214-3039.

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