Faculty Guidelines

Individuals with disabilities are a protected class of individuals by federal, state, and local legislation, which includes students with disabilities in the postsecondary environment. Services to Students with Disabilities (SSD) works collaboratively with instructors and students to ensure students receive their assigned disability-related accommodations that provide students an equal opportunity to access in the academic environment. For other information about supporting students with disabilities not included below, please contact ssd@csusb.edu or Marci Daniels, Director, (daniels@csusb.edu; 909-537-5238).

Class Aides

Class aides are provided for some students with physical and/or sensory disabilities who need assistance during classes and/or labs in order to perform the required class activities. The role of the class aide is limited and will be discussed ahead of time with the instructor, student and class aide. SSD will contact instructors if a class aide is an assigned accommodation for a class/lab. Instructors are asked to provide information about the necessary academic qualifications of a class aide and to help identify potential candidates. While a class aide is being sought and hired, SSD may need to enlist the support of the instructor to assist the student.

Communication Etiquette

  1. See the person who has a disability as a person, not a disability.
  2. Don't "talk down." Avoid responding to people with disabilities out of "gratefulness" for not having the disability yourself.
  3. Be considerate. It might take extra time for the person with a disability to say or do things. All disabilities are not readily apparent.
  4. Don't lean or hang on a person's wheelchair. It is part of that person's personal body space.
  5. Ask a wheelchair occupant if he or she wants to be pushed before you do so.
  6. Don't pet a service animal when it is working. Remember to walk on the side of the person away from the animal.
  7. Ask the person if he or she wants your help first. Sometimes it may look like the person may be having difficulty but they are not.
  8. When giving assistance to a person with visual impairment, allow the person to take your arm, which helps you to guide. Warn the person of any steps or changes in the level of the walking surface. Use specific terms such as "right" or "left."
  9. When communicating with a person with a hearing impairment, speak clearly and slowly. Don't shout or exaggerate lip movements, and keep sentences short. Keep hands, food, etc., away from your mouth when talking.
  10. Speak directly to the person who has a disability, not to a companion or interpreter.
  11. Relax. Don't worry about using common expressions like "see you later" or "I've got to be running along" when talking to persons with physical or visual disabilities.


It is essential that disability information be kept confidential. At no time should the class be informed that a student has a disability nor should this information be released, except at the student’s request. SSD will not disclose a student’s disability, only that the student has a verified disability and a list of the approved accommodations.

Discussions regarding student’s disability status and accommodations should be discussed in private.

Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services

Students may require the assistance of American Sign Language interpreters, real-time captionists (i.e., court reporters) and use of FM amplification systems to facilitate receptive (i.e., hearing) and expressive communication (i.e., speech) in classes. SSD makes every effort to notify instructors a couple of weeks before each quarter that a student will use these services. Information and guidelines for how to interact while students are using these accommodations in the classroom will be provided.

Instructors are encouraged to contact SSD with any questions about these services. Federal and state legislation requires that all videos/DVDs and other media (e.g., YouTube clips) shown in classes be closed captioned and the closed captioning be turned on. Transcripts and English subtitles in lieu of captions are generally not considered accessible.

William FM Sound System

The William FM Sound amplification system is used to facilitate the student’s hearing as a disability related accommodation by amplifying the sound directly into the student’s ears. It is a two piece system consisting of the transmitter with lapel microphone and receiver with headphone set.  In order to ensure that students are able to receive information from class lecture, the following are recommended:

  • The instructor should wear the transmitter and lapel microphone. The mic should be placed as close as possible to the instructor’s mouth.
  • The student should bring the transmitter at the beginning of class, and retrieve it at its conclusion.
  • Be advised that during breaks or private conversations, you will need to turn the unit off or remove it to ensure privacy.

Working with Sign Language Interpreters

The interpreters assigned are bound by the Code of Ethics developed by the National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, which specifically states that interpreters are communication intermediaries. They are to facilitate the integration of the student into the classroom environment. Below are tips that faculty can employ to ensure the student is able to benefit from the lecture and class discussions while having minimal distraction:

  • Speak directly to the deaf/hard of hearing person, rather than the interpreter. Avoid using phrases such as “tell him” or “ask her”.
  • Speak normally. Just be aware that there may be a lag time between the spoken message and the interpretation.
  • When referring to objects or written information, allow time for the translation to take place. Use more specific terms such as “on the second line” instead of “here” or “there”.
  • In a conference or classroom setting, the deaf/hard of hearing student and the interpreter will work out seating arrangements, with the interpreter usually located near the speaker.
  • Inform the interpreter in advance if there is an audiovisual element in a presentation so arrangements can be made for lighting and positioning.
  • Be sensitive to sessions that extend longer than one hour. The interpreter may require a short break to maintain proficiency in interpreting. Class sessions that are two hours or more are assigned two interpreters who will trade off.

Working with Real Time or Remote Captionists

The captionist assigned serves as a means of providing the lecture in transcript form to supplement the student’s notes. Captionists are to serve only as transcribers. They are not to clarify terms or points for the student. The transcripts are for the student’s academic use only and are not to be shared with other students. Students are advised to destroy the transcripts at the end of the quarter. 

To help facilitate a beneficial environment for the lecture, faculty can follow these tips and have minimal distraction:

  • Ensure that a table near the front is available. The student will need to sit next to the captionist to read what is transcribed as well as see the professor.
  • Due to equipment needs, the captionist will need to sit next to a power source.

For Remote Captionists, the professor may be asked to wear a microphone or have one placed in a central location to transmit verbal communication. Captioning notes obtained through remote captioning will be deleted in the same manner as real time captioning.

Student Retrieval of Captioning Notes

The captioning notes are prepared by the captionist and emailed to the vendor and the SSD office within 1-2 days of completion of the session. Once emailed, the captioning notes are deleted from the captionist’s personal laptop. SSD creates a folder for all the classes for which the student is authorized to receive captioning notes. The folder is restricted to the registered student SSD then uploads to the student’s Blackboard class folder on SSD’s Blackboard account where only the registered student can access them. The vendor and SSD archive the captioning notes for an appropriate time at the end of the quarter at which time the captioning notes/student folders are deleted.

Disability Status/Accommodation Memo

Each quarter, students need to provide the SSD memo to their instructors if they want to be recognized as a student with a disability and use their accommodations. Instructors should comply with the assigned accommodations as failure to comply with accommodations can result in legal liability to the campus and individual instructor. If instructors believe that an accommodation modifies an essential class requirement, they should contact SSD to discuss the situation at the time they receive the SSD memo. Disputes about disability accommodations may be referred to the respective department chair and other administrators as necessary.

Exam Accommodations

Students’ exam accommodations may include additional time, a private room, specialized computer equipment, a reader or other services. For purposes of SSD, an exam refers to a test, like a midterm or final, and quizzes. Instructors may choose to proctor tests (or have them proctored in their department) when they can provide all of the assigned accommodations.

If SSD proctors the exam, students will bring an Exam Accommodation Request Form to instructors. Instructors should review the form for accuracy, sign and return it to the student. Students are responsible for submitting their forms to SSD at least 5 business days in advance of the exam date and 3 weeks in advance of finals during the regular academic year to ensure a testing appointment and allow SSD time to obtain the exam and instructions.

Exams are scheduled as close to the class time as possible. However, students cannot be required to miss same-day class lectures/presentations or another class in order to use their full testing time. If there is a scheduling conflict, the instructor can note an alternate date and time that he/she wants the student to take the exam. This can be noted on the request form that instructors are required to sign.

SSD’s final exam schedule differs from the published schedule due to the extended testing time students receive. SSD’s standard practice is to contact instructors via email regarding testing and timely responses and when submission of exam/instructions is needed. The best way to provide SSD with exams is via email. This helps facilitate electronic conversion of tests for students with print-related disabilities. Tests are also accepted in-person and via fax. Submitting exams via intercampus mail is strongly discouraged. If tests are not received prior to the testing appointment, an SSD representative will go to the class to retrieve the test and instructions. Delays in students’ start time may preclude students’ access to their full testing time and may result in legal liability to the campus and individual instructor.

Students sign an academic integrity statement to test at SSD. All exams are proctored and students are only permitted materials approved by their instructor (in addition to their accommodations) during exams. Observations of irregular test-taking behavior (e.g., possible cheating) are reported to instructors. Exams may be picked up at SSD during normal business hours or delivered to instructors’ department mailboxes. Exams are not delivered to instructor offices and require the name/signature of a staff member (or instructor).

Extended Time on Out of Class Writing Assignments

Students may be determined eligible for the accommodation of extended time on out-of-class writing assignments on a case-by-case basis under the following concurrent conditions: 1) The narrative description of substantial limitations to major life activities, and current functional limitations relating to academic performance provided in the disability verification documentation indicate a need for such accommodation, and 2) discussion between the SSD counselor and faculty group (i.e. instructor, chair of the department) finds that the provision for extended time on a given writing assignment will not interfere with essential course requirements. Upon agreement of the extension, students will fill out with their instructor the form to extend the out of class assignment and submit it to SSD.


Students may have access to notes taken by a peer in class as an accommodation. Students have the option of recruiting their own notetaker or having SSD recruit a notetaker. If SSD recruits the notetaker, students in the class are contacted via email prior to the start of the quarter. If a notetaker is not found, then an SSD representative will come to the class to make an announcement and recruit a notetaker. This generally takes less than 5 minutes and usually occurs during the first few weeks of classes. Occasionally, we must return to the class to find a replacement notetaker.

Print Materials in Alternative Formats

Some students require print materials in alternative formats (e.g., electronic, braille) to have meaningful access to class materials. Obtaining, converting, and editing these materials can take Alternate Media Production Team weeks and sometimes several months, so timely submission of book orders and course packets (i.e., by the established campus deadlines) to the campus bookstore is imperative. E-books are generally not accessible, however, they may be accessible through the NaturalReader software. Please see the Alternate Media Coordinator for more information. For syllabi and other print materials posted on Blackboard (and other websites), instructors may work with Leon McNaught at the Assistive Technology and Accessibility Center (ATAC) on how to make their materials accessible at (909) 537-5079 or by email at atac@csusb.edu.

Recording of Class Lectures

The use of an audiotape recorder (or similar device) during class lectures may be an assigned accommodation. Recordings are for the student’s academic use only and are not to be shared with other students. Students are advised to erase the recordings after the end of the quarter. Instructors are encouraged to contact SSD if there are concerns about recording of specific class content.

Service Animals

Some students may bring animals to class because they are tasked with aiding that student regarding their disability. Service animals, as defined by the ADA, are dogs, or miniature horses, that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Animals that are used as emotional support or comfort animals as part of a treatment are not covered under ADA and, therefore, not protected under federal law. Handlers are responsible for the supervision and care of their service animal. If the handler does not have control (i.e. creating a disturbance), faculty may ask that the service animal be removed from the classroom.

As part of ADA, service animals must be allowed access with their handlers to all areas of the facility open to the public or to students. The university asks students who use service animals to contact the SSD office to register as a student with a disability. CSUSB may not require any documentation about the training or certification of a service animal. The university may, however, require proof that a service animal has any vaccinations required by state or local laws that apply to all animals.

If a student has a service animal accompanying them, but it is not readily apparent that the student has a disability, only two questions may be asked: 1. Is the animal required because of a disability? 2. What task has the animal been trained to perform? Faculty may not ask an individual the extent or nature of his/her disability nor ask for proof that the animal has been certified, trained or licensed as a service animal.


Some students may have access to the SmartPen as an accommodation. Students who use the SmartPen will have special notebook paper that will enable them to go back to a portion of the lecture and listen to the audio recording. They will also be able to upload and access their notes in a digitized format using the SmartPen software. The pen audio records enabling a student to return to that point in the lecture to clarify a point that was said by tapping on a word they have written in their notebook. The audio recording function is for the student’s academic use and is not to be shared with other students. Students are advised to delete the audio recordings once the quarter is completed.

Syllabus Statement

Each class syllabus should include a statement about disability services and refer students to SSD to request accommodations. The Associate Provost for Academic Programs sends out quarterly emails regarding recommended content.

Use of Alternative/Accessible Furniture

SSD authorizes some students access to specialized, alternative/accessible furniture (e.g., adjustable height table, padded chair) in classes. Furniture is marked with either a sticker that designates it for use by students with disabilities, or with the universal access symbol. Students are required to submit a request for the furniture for each class every quarter. SSD works with students to ensure access to the furniture. Since classroom furniture is used by multiple students with disabilities throughout the day, we ask that instructors help facilitate students’ access to the furniture when contacted.