We Support Faculty in the Health Sciences
The Division for Academic Success (DAS) partners with each of our health science departments to ensure students are given every opportunity to succeed in their respective programs. Professors are encouraged to refer students to DAS who have difficulty with tests, quizzes, or other measures of material so the students can receive assistance with testing and study strategies or to see if further intervention is needed to help the student. DAS is glad to come into department orientations, staff meetings, and other gatherings to share with students, staff, and faculty what services are available through DAS. Visit the links below to learn more about what DAS offers.
The Division for Academic Success provides academic counseling for students who need assistance with test taking skills, note taking skills, study strategies, and preparation for board/licensing exams. Tutoring services are also available for certain schools through our academic support program.
If you are interested in working with our office to provide group tutoring for your department, please call us at 828-9782 or contact Debbie Roberts directly.
To provide for easier access to our staff for students and faculty, the schools/college have been assigned to specific staff members. While it does not prevent other staff members from supporting you, it does give you a specific name of someone to contact. The programs are divided as follows:
Amy Miller - School Of Medicine 4th Year And Residents
Debbie Roberts - School Of Medicine 1st - 3rd Years
Andrew Anderson - CERT, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Gerontology, Health Administration, Occupational Therapy, Patient Counseling, School Of Pharmacy, Clinical Radiation Sciences, School Of Medicine Master's Programs
Bernadette Snyder - CERT, School Of Dentistry, Nurse Anesthesia, School Of Nursing, Physical Therapy, Rehabilitation Counseling, School Of Medicine Master's And Ph.D. Programs
It is almost certain that during an academic year you, as a faculty and/or staff member, will encounter students with disabilities in your class or office. Some students with disabilities will require academic accommodations to ensure equal access to programs, services, and activities at VCU. Meaningful inclusion is an important, and vital, principle at Virginia Commonwealth University and our students with disabilities are an important part of creating and nurturing that environment. As are you!
Reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions page may heighten your awareness around possible instances that may arise during your semester. You can also feel free to simply contact the Division for Academic Success if there are concerns, questions, situations you would like to review.
The Testing Center at DAS is used for multiple reasons for students from across the health sciences. Some utilize the Testing Center for accommodations, while others use it to retake exams. Still others utilize the center to practice for licensing or other standardized tests. Whatever the reason, the Testing Center provides a quiet, proctored environment for test taking on the MCV campus.
The resources listed below trend toward Universal Design principles (UDI or UDL). When broken down and simplified, the mission of universal design in the educational environment is to create curriculum and spaces that allow for everyone’s use and enjoyment. The goal is to remove environmental barriers to education, so that those of differing abilities can effectively learn and demonstrate expanding mastery of a topic.
As always, the most up-to-date syllabus statements for VCU can be found at the Office of the Provost Statements for syllabi and Blackboard pages site. The one below is accurate as of 1/29/2019. Please update your statement if you do not have DAS and SAEO listed correctly.
Students with disabilities
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, require that VCU provide "academic adjustments" or "reasonable accommodations" to any student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. To receive accommodations, students must register with the Office of Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity on the Monroe Park Campus (828-2253) or the Division for Academic Success on the MCV Campus (828-9782). Please also visit the Student Accessibility and Educational Opportunity website via https://saeo.vcu.edu/ and/or the Division for Academic Success website via https://das.vcu.edu/ for additional information.
Once students have completed the registration process, they should schedule a meeting with their instructor(s) and provide their instructor(s) with an official accommodation letter. Students should follow this procedure for all courses in the academic semester.
There Are Several Things You Can Do To Make Your Classroom A More Welcoming Environment:
- Provide Accommodations That Are Listed On The Student’s Accommodation Letter. This Letter Will Be On Letterhead From DAS.
- All Students Who Identify Themselves To Faculty Members As Having A Disability, Without An Accommodation Letter, Should Be Encouraged To Identify Themselves To The DAS Office.
- Respect Student Privacy By Keeping All Disability-Related Information Confidential. For Example, When Facilitating The Note-Taking Process, Use Discretion And Avoid Singling Out The Student With A Disability.
- Although It Is Highly Recommended That Students Present Their Accommodation Letters To Faculty Members In The Beginning Of The Semester, Students Can Do This At Any Time. Keep In Mind That Accommodations Are Not Retroactive And Begin At The Point When A Faculty Member Receives The Accommodation Letter From The Student.
- Faculty Members Are Strongly Encouraged To Include A Disability Statement On The Course Syllabus To Provide A Way For Students To Solicit Support. This Can Be Located HERE Or HERE.
- Make The Syllabus And Textbook List Available To Students, Department Staff And The Bookstore Prior To The Start Of Class (Preferably Several Weeks Prior To The Start Of Classes). Some Students Require Textbooks Converted Into An Alternate Format, Which Can Be A Time-Consuming Process.
- If A Student With A Disability Is Taking A Test At The Testing Center, Located In The DAS Office Suite, It Is The Responsibility Of The Faculty Member To Ensure That The Exam Is Sent To The Testing Center Coordinator Prior To The Testing Date. Exams Can Be Mailed, Delivered In Person, E-Mailed Or Faxed To DAS.
- Faculty Members Or The Departments Are Responsible For Setting Attendance Policies As Well As Policies On Makeup Work And Missed Quizzes And Exams. However, Faculty Members Are Free To Be Flexible In Situations Where The Disability Is Clearly A Mitigating Factor. Faculty Members Should Make Their Policies Clear In Order For Students With Disabilities To Make Informed Decisions About What Courses To Take.
- Consider Ordering Textbooks That Come In Alternate Formats (I.E., Electronic Versions).
- The Academic Integrity Policy Applies In All Exam Modifications.
Online Information Also Must Be Accessible. Please Check The VCU Web Standards And Guidelines To Ensure That You Are In Compliance With University Policies And Expectations.
A student approached me and told me that he has a disability and would like accommodations although he did not give me a letter from Division for Academic Success. Do I provide the accommodations?
You are under no obligation to provide accommodations to students who do not have a letter of accommodations. Direct that student to DAS so DAS staff and the student, together, can determine what accommodations are necessary to meet that student’s needs, if the student is eligible for services. However, if a student does not meet the criteria of a student with disability he/she will not receive academic accommodations.
Is it fair to other students in my class to give students with disabilities extra time on tests and assignments?
By providing the extra time, the student can be evaluated for what she knows about the material being tested rather than the effects of her disability, thereby, leveling the playing field.
I’ve had several students request accommodations in the middle or at the end of the semester. Why do students wait so long to let me know that they need support?
Some students with disabilities attempt courses without obtaining their accommodations. They may not want to disclose their disability, or they may feel they do not need the accommodations. At the middle or end of the semester, they may realize that they need to access the accommodations to which they are eligible to receive, in order to maximize their classroom performance.
If a student presents an accommodation letter in the middle of the semester, does the letter cover the student from the beginning of the semester?
The student’s accommodations begin at the point that you receive the accommodation letter. Accommodations are not retroactive and hence will not apply to any of the student’s work prior to receiving the letter of accommodations.
Do I need to change my academic standards and objectives to meet the needs of students with disabilities?
Students with disabilities are held to the same academic standards as all VCU students. However, students with disabilities may require modifications or accommodations so that they may fully participate in the lessons, assignments and tests.
Our program has certain technical standards students must meet. Can a student receive accommodations for this?
The answer is not a simple “yes or no”. There should be an interactive discussion with the student, faculty/staff, and the Division for Academic Success to determine if an accommodation is reasonable. As long as the accommodation does not result in a fundamental alteration of the program or cause an undue burden to the institution, it may be provided.
I mainly teach through lecturing. Is this a problem for students with disabilities?
Students with an auditory processing deficit or hearing loss may have a difficult time relying only on lectures to access information. Whenever possible, it would be helpful to add a visual prompt to your lecture. This would enhance learning not only for those students with auditory processing problems, but also for the students in your class who are visual learners. They also can benefit from having an outline or script of the class material prior to class lecture.