Working Together: Faculty Handbook

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. According to these laws, no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity.

"Qualified" with respect to post-secondary educational services, means:

"a person who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices; the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers; or the provision of auxiliary aids and services."

"Person with a disability" means:

"any person who 1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities [including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working], 2) has a record of such an impairment, or 3) is regarded as having such an impairment."

Disabilities covered by legislation include, but are not limited to, visual, or hearing, or mobility impairments, specific learning disabilities, psychiatric disorders, and others such as loss of limbs, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, AIDS, Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, head injuries.

The Office of Services to Students with Disabilities (SSWD) is responsible for evaluating and certifying, based on professional documentation, the existence of a disability(ies). SSWD is also responsible for identifying and authorizing reasonable program access and/or academic adjustments and accommodations for students with verified disabilities.

SSWD provides consultation and serves as a resource to faculty. Faculty wishing to make referral should contact SSWD office located at Lassen Hall, Room 1008, (916) 278-6955 (Voice Only), (916) 278-7239 (TDD), (916) 278-7825 (Fax), E-mail address: For more information and resources visit the SSWD website: 

It is the student's responsibility to provide documentation of disability to SSWD and meet with a SSWD counselor to request special accommodation before classes start. Students should also personally contact faculty directly regarding the approved accommodation(s) and provide instructors with SSWD's written verification within the first two weeks of classes or as soon as feasible for students who are certified later the semester.


Faculty members are encouraged to be responsive to the pedagogical needs of all students. However, students with disabilities may have some additional educational needs which they should discuss with each faculty member. It is helpful to include a statement on the class syllabus inviting students with disabilities to discuss academic needs in private. An example of such a statement is

"If you have a documented disability and verification from SSWD, and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible."

It is crucial that each Academic Department and faculty member submit booklist to Hornet Bookstore according to the established deadlines. Earlier submission, whenever possible, is strongly encouraged, because it takes time to produce or convert the printed or electronic material into alternative format (Braille, large print, audio-tape) for students. In addition to book, an electronic version (preferred) or clear copy of all syllabi, tests, and printed handouts from faculty members are needed for conversion to alternative format for students with visual impairments. Unclear print copies cannot be scanned into the computer for conversion.


Appropriate accommodation is evaluated on an individual basis. Consult with SSWD office, if you have any questions regarding the accommodations.

Low Vision

  • Seating near front of class
  • Large print handouts, syllabus, equipment labels
  • Class assignments in electronic text
  • Computer equipped to enlarge screen characters and images
  • TV monitor connected to microscope to enlarge images


  • Audiotaped, Brailled or electronic-formatted lecture notes, handouts, and texts
  • Verbal descriptions of visual aids
  • Accessible Web-based instruction and curriculum
  • Raised-line drawings and tactile models of graphic materials
  • Braille lab signs and equipment labels, auditory lab warning signals
  • Adaptive lab equipment (e.g., talking thermometers and calculators, light probes, and tactile timers)
  • Computer with screen reader software, voice output, Braille output.

Hearing Impairment

  • Interpreter, real-time captioning
  • Assistive listening devices, notetaker
  • Open or closed-captioned films, use of visual aids
  • Written assignments, lab instructions, and demonstration summaries
  • Visual warning system for lab emergencies 

Learning Disability

  • Notetakers and / or audio-taped class sessions, captioned films
  • Extra exam time, alternative testing arrangements
  • Visual, aural, and tactile instructional demonstrations
  • Computer with voice output, spellchecker, and grammar checker
  • For more information see Faculty Handbook for LD on SSWD website:

Mobility Impairment

  • Notetaker / lab assistant; group lab assignments
  • Classrooms, labs, and field trips in accessible locations
  • Adjustable tables; lab equipment located within reach
  • Class assignments made available in electronic format
  • Computer equipped with special input device (e.g., voice input, alternative keyboard)

Health Impairment

  • Notetaker
  • Flexible attendance requirements and extra exam time
  • Assignments made available in electronic format
  • Use of email to facilitate communication

Useful Teaching Techniques

Below you will find examples of teaching techniques in the classroom, laboratory, examinations, and field work that benefit all students, but are especially useful for students who have disabilities.


  • Select course materials early so that students and the SSWD office have enough time to translate them to audio-tape, Braille, and large print.
  • Make syllabi, short assignment sheets, and reading lists available in electronic format (e.g., disk, electronic mail, WWW).
  • Design accessible web-based instructional material according to the guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium (
  • Face the class when speaking. Repeat discussion questions.
  • Write key phrases and lecture outlines on the blackboard or overhead projector.

Examination and Fieldwork

  • Assure that exams test the essential skills or knowledge needed for the course or field of study.
  • Some students will require extra time to transcribe or process test questions; follow campus policies regarding extra time on examinations.
  • Consider allowing students to turn in exams via electronic mail or diskette.
  • Ask student how he/she might be able to do specific aspects of field work. Attempt to include student in field work opportunities, rather than automatically suggesting non-field work alternatives.
  • Include special needs in requests for field trip vehicle reservations.


Treat all matters related to students with disabilities CONFIDENTIALLY, in accordance with law and policy. If you have any questions regarding appropriate accommodation for a student, call the office of Services to Students with Disabilities, (916) 278-6955 (Voice), (916) 278-7239 (TDD), (916) 278-7825 (Fax), E-mail address:

The content of Working Together is adapted from the DO-IT project at the University of Washington, and endorsed by the University Committee for Persons with Disabilities of Sacramento State.

Detailed campus policy, on Academic Program Access for Students with Disabilities, can be found in the California State University, Sacramento Administrative Manual,