Office of Disability Services
Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty and Staff
I have received a professor notification letter
I have a student who will be using the Test Center
- Once a student with a documented disability has met with the ODS professional staff, the student is instructed to meet with their professors to discuss their accommodation needs; "Professor Notification Letters" are provided as a way to initiate this conversation.
- The student is not required to share their disability diagnosis, but the student is expected to discuss what impact the disability may have.
- If you have questions about a student's accommodation, please contact the Office of Disability Services assistance.
- Students using the Test Center are expected to schedule tests at least 3 days in advance. In order to schedule a test the student must present a "Test Center Proctor Form" complete with instructions from the professor about how to properly administer the test.
- For each test taken in the Test Center, the student will ask you to complete and sign the Test Accommodation Request form. Tests cannot be administered unless form is completed in its entirety.
- If you plan to e-mail the test to the Test Center, please be sure to send it prior to the test date. Otherwise, the Test Center should be notified that the test will be hand delivered by the instructor.
For more information about using the Test Center contact Susan Sistar, Coordinator for Testing Program, at 803/323-2600 ext. 6173.
I have a student in my class using a notetaker
See Test Center Guidelines for important information.
Notetakers assist students who have disabilities that prevent them from taking effective lecture notes. The need for a notetaker must be appropriately documented. Winthrop provides notetaker services to students with appropriate documentation.
I have a student who will be using scribe services
- ODS staff will contact the class by e-mail to find interested notetakers. Occasionally, we may need your assistance as the professor to help us in that process. We will contact you directly if we do need your help.
- It is appropriate for you to know who the student requesting notetakers is and who the notetaker is. However, most of the students requesting notetakers do not want to be identified to their notetaker. Please respect the desire for confidentiality.
- Students receiving notetaker accommodations are expected to attend class as scheduled. If you have concerns about the attendance of a student who is receiving notetaker accommodations, please contact the office. There are exceptions to the attendance expectation, primarily short-term hospitalizations, and we will communicate with you in these instances.
Scribes assist students when their disabilities prevent them from writing responses on tests. Winthrop University provides scribe services only to students with appropriate documentation. For examinations, the scribe will be a Test Center or ODS staff member.
I have a student who is deaf or hard-of-hearing in my class
- Scribing an exam takes additional time. Generally, a student using a scribe needs from 1.5 to 2 time longer to complete the exam.
- Understand that a scribe's responsibility is to transcribe the student's responses verbatim, not to give opinions or to act as an editor.
- Scribes for tests will often use a computer with spell check. Sometimes, subject specific language or proper names may be misspelled. Please do not count scribe error against the student.
The University provides ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters for courses and other academic-related activities (e.g., cultural events) for students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. Winthrop contracts with and provides qualified interpreters through area agencies or with independent interpreters from the Rock Hill or Charlotte area.
I have a student using interpreter services
- Allow the student to sit in the front of the room.
- When speaking to a deaf or hard-of-hearing student, be sure to face the student.
- Speak in your ordinary tone - you do not need to raise your voice unless the student asks you to raise your voice. Shouting distorts the mouth and makes lip reading more difficult. Be careful not to chew gum or eat as it will inhibit lip reading.
- Have copies of materials that will be presented on an overhead projector available for the student.
- Provide as much detail as possible on the course syllabus to give the student a visual reference to assignments.
- Direct questions for the deaf or hard-of-hearing student to the student, rather than to the interpreter. Interpreters do not participate in the class and cannot speak or think for the deaf or hard-of-hearing student. Interpreters are not responsible for the students for whom they interpret; the students are responsible for themselves.
- Because the deaf or hard-of-hearing student will need to give his or her full attention to the instructor and the interpreter, the student will also have a peer notetaker in place.
- Speak to the interpreter the first day of class to discuss any questions or concerns.
- So that the student can maintain eye contact with both professor and interpreter, the interpreter will generally sit to the left or right of the professor facing the class. Assist with any needed classroom re-arrangements so that the interpreter will be sitting in good lighting.
- You are communicating with a deaf or hard-of-hearing student through another person who will be transforming the spoken word into the language of signs. It is important to realize that interpreters translate everything said in a classroom by a faculty member, staff member, or student. Interpreters regard all information as confidential and are bound by strict ethical guidelines.
- American Sign Language is a Concept-Based Language: There may not be a specific sign for specialized jargon. Usually, the interpreter will have to fingerspell specialized jargon using a manual alphabet. Writing any jargon on the chalkboard or giving a list of words to the interpreter before class can be very helpful.
- Cancelling Class: If you need to cancel class, please contact ODS as soon as possible so that we can cancel the interpreter. You can call 803/323-3290 or you can reach Gena Smith Program Director. Notifying us about changes in your class schedule helps us to provide the best services for the student and helps us to use limited interpreting resources effectively.
- Lecture Pace: The interpreter may need to adjust the lecture pace and sometimes it may be necessary for professors to adjust to the pace of the interpreter. Adjustments of lecture pace (e.g., requests to stop, repeat, or slow down) are to ensure deaf and hard-of-hearing students receive the lecture in full.
- When using Demonstration and/or Visual Aids: Allow some extra time for deaf and hard-of-hearing students to see what is being demonstrated as well as to see what is being said. Deaf and hard-of-hearing students find it difficult to continually shift eye contact between the chalkboard and the interpreter when professors simultaneously lecture and use chalkboard demonstrations. To help both the student and the interpreter:
- Be more explanatory when going over the points on the board.
- Try to avoid vague references such as "this" or "that"
- Pause more often as you speak.
- Attempt to maintain eye contact as much as possible with the student.
- Dimming the Lights: When using an overhead projector, slide, PowerPoint presentations, videotapes, and/or films, it is sometimes necessary to either dim the lights or turn off the lights completely. When lighting is reduced, it is important to make sure there is still sufficient lighting for the interpreter to be seen. Please use captioned films and videos when available. Contact ODS for assistance with securing captioned videos. Not every movie or video is available in captioned form, but the ODS professional staff can help you research what might be available.
- Question and answer periods: If the student is unable to vocalize his or her question, the student will sign the question to the interpreter and the interpreter will vocalize the question. The answer will need to pass through the interpreter to the student. It is important that the other students know who is speaking. Pausing to identify the student by name when calling on the student will help the others in the class to distinguish the student's question or comment from the interpreter's voice.
If you have other questions or concerns about providing accommodations or the accommodations process, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 803/323-3290.