Information for Faculty and Advisors

  1. Faculty approval form for testing accommodations (PDF)

A Note To Faculty

As a public institution, Fitchburg State University is committed to the principles of equity, access and excellence in higher education.

Meeting the needs of our diverse spectrum of learners may require some flexibility or adaptability on the part of instructors. However, this does not require that faculty alter their teaching objectives or compromise academic standards. It simply means that we must provide all qualified students with equitable opportunities to engage in and benefit from their university experience at Fitchburg State.

Academic accommodations ensure equitable access to the teaching and learning environment for all qualified students. Providing accommodations to a student registered with our office is an obligation of the university, as well as an obligation of faculty members at the institution. Although federal and state laws mandate this obligation, our shared values as a university community also embrace the spirit of access and equity for our diverse spectrum of learners.

We would like to challenge you to lead by example. Consider moving beyond access and reach for excellence by incorporating aspects of universal design into the teaching methods and activities that you elect to use in your course. Since we all learn differently, the universal design approach promises to maximize learning outcomes for all.

Universal design is based upon the premise that alternatives to traditional instruction and assessment should be made available and accessible to all students. This serves to enhance the learning opportunities for individuals from diverse backgrounds, those with varied learning approaches, and individuals with a range of abilities and disabilities.

Many of you already incorporate aspects of universal design into your courses. Examples include:

  • Posting course materials and lecture notes on Blackboard for all students to access throughout the semester
  • Providing feedback on essays and then allowing students to resubmit their materials after improvements have been made
  • Using several shorter length exams throughout the semester as opposed to one or two high stakes tests
  • Creating podcasts so that students can replay lecture material to capture important points that they might have missed in class
  • Using multiple modalities to teach complex constructs (video/audio, text, drama, the internet, etc.)
  • Reading aloud anything that is written on a whiteboard or posted on a PowerPoint slide
  • Providing verbal descriptions of diagrams or pictures used to convey a concept

As a university community, we value diversity, especially in the way that it enhances learning. Let us continue to work together in creative ways to reflect this value in all that we do. We look forward to hearing your success stories!

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