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Faculty & Staff Supporting Students

About OSD

The Office for Students with Disabilities is dedicated to providing equitable access for students in their academic pursuits. The Americans with Disabilities Act As Amended (ADA-AA) requires that our campus ensures equitable access, both inside and outside of the classroom. OSD is an administrative unit with subject area experts who are able to assess students’ functional limitations and determine reasonable accommodations that address these.

Things to know

OSD works with students at all levels.

This includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students who have documented disabilities.

The process of review is thorough and interactive.

The office reviews documentation and, through an interactive process with the student, determines reasonable accommodations.

Disabilities span a wide range, and accommodations are specifically suited to each student’s disability.

Disabilities may be psychological, psychiatric, learning, attention, chronic health, physical, vision, hearing, acquired brain injuries, autism, or others. These disabilities may occur at any time during a student’s college career. Accommodations are similarly broad and tailored to the specific disability limitation. Accommodations are meant to bridge the gap between the student’s disability limitations and equitable access, meaning that students with the same diagnosis may not receive the same accommodations. Examples of accommodations may include adaptive technology (e.g., speech to text), alternative formats (e.g., Braille), captioning and American Sign Language (ASL), note-taking, lab accommodations, exam accommodations (e.g., extended time, reduced distraction), mobility assistance, and housing arrangements. In very rare instances, accommodations may involve remote instruction, participation, and/or assessment.

OSD staff are disability and ADA experts.

It is important that all academic accommodations come from this office. OSD works closely with campus counsel to ensure that accommodations are aligned with ADA requirements. If we fail to align with federal law in this area, we put our campus at risk for wide-ranging Office for Civil Rights investigations and sanctions.


Working with OSD

Here are answers to commonly asked questions about your role in supporting students with disabilities:

How will I know which students have disabilities and what I need to do to support them?

Accommodations are communicated to faculty each quarter on or after the first day of instruction via email with an Authorization for Accommodations (AFA) letter.

What should I do if a student requests accommodations but does not have an AFA letter?

Direct the student to the OSD. There is a page with instructions for requesting accommodations on the website.

Can I provide my own accommodations or refuse to provide the specified accommodations?

No. Instructors should not provide ad hoc accommodations, nor should they refuse to work with OSD on providing appropriate accommodations. Instructors are encouraged to include a statement on their syllabus regarding disability accommodations.

The accommodations are really difficult to implement, or they include things I am not willing to do. What should I do?

Consult with your department to see what support they have implemented for students with disabilities. Many departments provide centralized staff support for accommodations. The Triton Testing Center is another resource for accommodations involving exams. If this does not address your concerns, please reach out to OSD via the contact information below.

I post a lot of web content for my course. Am I obligated to make it accessible?

Yes, all virtual content should be accessible. More resources on accessibility may be found on UCOP's website Electronic Accessibility | UCOP.

What if I want more information about disability services in general?

You may find more information on the OSD website under the Faculty & Staff Supporting Students tab and on the UCOP website at Academic Accommodations | UCOP.

Accommodations Concerns

If you have concerns about accommodations, particularly with accommodations you feel constitute a fundamental alteration to your course, please email the OSD at and include this subject line: Faculty Concerns about Accommodations. Your email will be addressed by the Disability Specialist working with the student or by the OSD Director.

Fall Open Houses

In addition to the resources provided above, we again wanted to invite you to attend one of the OSD’s fall open houses.