What is a departmental disability liaison?

Briefly, the concept of Departmental Disability Liaisons was developed to assist in the coordination and delivery of reasonable accommodations for ISU students with documented disabilities.  

At ISU, Departmental Disability Liaisons:

  • Have basic knowledge of the Federal requirements under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and the ADA Amendment of 2008.
  • Have a working knowledge of ISU accommodation procedures for students and responsibilities of those involved (i.e. department, instructors, etc.).
  • Act as a first line departmental contact for faculty with questions regarding department accommodation practices, procedure, and/or resource availability.
  • Enhance communication between all parties involved with providing reasonable accommodations for qualified students with documented disabilities.
  • Work with involved parties to resolve issues related to faculty and departmental implementation of accommodations.
  • Develop a specific written departmental accommodation documentation system providing faculty and students with accommodation processes and methods for delivery of reasonable accommodations.
  • As needed: schedule rooms for extended time on exams; schedule rooms for low distraction test environments; schedule readers and scribes for exams; with Instructor assistance arrange for access to lecture notes/power point presentations, etc. when listed on Notification Letters.
  • Maintain records of accommodation requests and accommodations provided as indicated on Academic Accommodation “Notification Letters” for 1 year from date of issue. Please note:  it is important to shred the Notification Letters when discarded to avoid unintended issues (please remember the Notification Letter is a confidential document).
  • Advise instructors to turn in their copies of the Notification Letters at the end of the semester to you for shredding (please remember the Notification Letter is a confidential document).
  • Communicate with Student Accessibility Services staff regarding accommodation requests, concerns, and related topics.

 What are the issues around confidentiality?

  • Confidentiality concerning disability and accommodations is essential and required by law.
  • Notification Letters must be kept in a separate file from student academic records.
  • Disability related information is not, and should not, be made part of a student's academic records.
  • Student disability and medical documentation is maintained in the SAS office.

Accommodations/adjustments are legally mandated services, equipment, and procedures that allow students with documented disabilities access to learning and activities in the classroom and other services and programs offered by the University. They provide eligible students with a means to "level the playing field" so their disabilities are not the determining factor in their success. Accommodations do not provide unfair advantage to eligible students compared to others.

How do students request academic accommodations?

  • Students should contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) and present their documentation to the Student Accessibility Services Office at which time SAS staff determines eligibility for services and considers reasonable accommodations based on the functional impact of the disability.
  • Each semester, registered students must meet with SAS staff to complete an Academic Accommodation "Notification Letter" for each course.  The Notification Letter clearly indicates which accommodations are to be provided. PLEASE NOTE:  Instructors are not required to grant any accommodations until Notification Letters are delivered, though instructors may choose to informally grant accommodations at their discretion.
  • Students must review their Notification Letters and indicated accommodations with faculty members (i.e. professor, instructor, etc.) for each class in which accommodations are requested - preferably in private office setting.
  • Instructors will sign the Notification Letters to demonstrate their agreement to provide the requested accommodation(s) and retain a copy for their records.
  • Instructor and student each retain one copy of the signed/dated Notification Letter.
  • Instructors are strongly encouraged to work with departmental staff (ie. the Disability Liaison) to establish specific processes related to maintenance and storage of all Notification Letters. The documents must be retained for 90 days beyond the end of term of that course.
  • Faculty members may contact SAS and/or the Departmental Liaison for assistance, if necessary.
  • Faculty member implements requested classroom or testing accommodation as indicated on the Notification Letters.
  • SAS staff implements centralized accommodations (Sign Language Interpreters, alternate text, etc.).

 Does a student need to meet with the Departmental Liaison?

  • The student does not need to meet with the Departmental Liaison on a routine basis but is encouraged to do so if assistance is necessary.
  • If a student believes requested accommodations have not been implemented appropriately, the student can meet with SAS staff or they may meet with the Departmental Liaison to discuss concerns.

 How does the Departmental Liaison know an accommodation has been requested?

  • Students must present a Notification Letter to Instructors to receive accommodations.  SAS does not provide notification or copies of Notification Letters to Departmental Liaisons or other individuals.  A well-designed departmental process is encouraged.

 How will Departmental Liaisons be trained?

  • Student Accessibility Services staff will provide trainings and guidance on accommodation procedures (exams, etc.).  Learn more online at:  www.sas.dso.iastate.edu.
  • Student Accessibility Services staff are available for consultation in the development of department specific accommodation procedures.
  • On-going training via teleconferences, newsletters, presentations, and workshops will be provided.