Welcome to the Office on Disability Support Services's( DSS) faculty resource page. As a GW faculty member, you play a significant role in promoting access for students with disabilities. As the identified entity to facilitate the implementation of reasonable accommodations, DSS partners with faculty across campus to support the design of accessible, sustainable, and equitable curriculum.
By engaging faculty who have critical knowledge of academic content, we can, together, develop solutions to disability-related barriers that do not compromise rigor or essential functions of course offerings( in-person or virtual). The DSS website serves as an important resource to support faculty in the appropriate implementation of accommodations for students with various types of disabilities in their course(s).
You are always encouraged to contact us if you have questions about accessible course design or the implementation of accommodations and auxiliary aids in your virtual or online courses.
Information about Accommodations
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, GWU is required to provide reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to our offerings for students with documented disabilities as long as the accommodations do not fundamentally alter the integrity of any course or program of study. The University recognizes and supports the standards set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, which are designed to eliminate discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Disabilities may include physical or mental impairments which substantially limit one or more of a person’s major life activities and necessitate modifications to facilities, programs, or services to the University. GWU is committed to making the campus and its facilities accessible as required by applicable laws.
Academic accommodations are adjustments that provide equal academic opportunities for students with disabilities. Academic accommodations are designed to provide equal access to courses and programs, but they do not guarantee an outcome or level of achievement. Academic accommodations shall be reasonable. They need not be provided when the accommodation would result in a fundamental alteration of the program or impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the institution. Academic Accommodations are only considered upon a formal voluntary request to DSS by the student.
Students who have registered with DSS will provide digital Letters to Professors to faculty that describe the accommodations they are eligible to receive for the semester. Some students do not become aware of their need for accommodations until after the term begins. Faculty can expect to receive Letters to Professors throughout the term. However, requests for implementing accommodations must be requested in a timely manner.
Faculty should include the approved statement in their course syllabi to facilitate their course(s) access. Students are required to self-identify to DSS only. Once a student is registered with DSS, the faculty member can engage the student about implementing academic accommodations in their classes:
Any student who may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) to inquire about the documentation necessary to establish eligibility and to coordinate a plan of reasonable and appropriate accommodations. DSS is located in Rome Hall, Suite 102. For additional information, please call DSS at 202-994-8250, or consult https://disabilitysupport.gwu.edu.
If you need assistance designing and developing an accessible syllabus, please refer to Equity and Excellence in Higher Education’s tips for applying universal course design strategies to your syllabus.