By law and ethical commitment, the College makes accommodations for students with disabilities. Legally, we must also inform students with disabilities that the College
(a.) provides them with reasonable accommodations and
(b.) how to access those accommodations.
We do this by mail in the summer prior to their arrival to Grinnell and in the Student Handbook. However, a statement on your syllabus is an additional location where students can find that information; therefore, doing this helps the College fulfill our obligation under the law.
There are other good reasons to have a disability statement on your course syllabi. First, students seeking accommodation for a disability can find approaching their professors one of the most difficult things they must do, as they fear being stigmatized, especially if this is their first one-on-one encounter with the instructor. So, we applaud your efforts to encourage students to approach you about any unique learning needs. Second, this practice should take some pressure off of you to make all of the decisions about what accommodations are reasonable – the statement will indicate to students whom to go to for review and approval of specific individualized accommodations (i.e., Academic Advising's disability resources staff).
The following are examples of welcoming statements for your course syllabi to indicate your willingness to work with students.
1. I encourage students with documented disabilities, including invisible disabilities such as chronic illness, learning disabilities, and psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with me. You will also need to have a conversation about and provide documentation of your disability to the Coordinator for Disability Resources, located on the 3rd floor of the Rosenfield Center (x3089).
2. Grinnell College makes reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Students need to provide documentation to the Coordinator for Disability Resources, located on the 3rd floor of the Rosenfield Center (x3089) and discuss your needs with them. Students should then notify me within the first few days of classes so that we can discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course and coordinate your accommodations.
3. I strive to create a fully inclusive classroom, thus I welcome individual students to approach me about distinctive learning needs. In particular, I encourage students with disabilities to have a conversation with me and disclose how our classroom or course activities could impact the disability and what accommodations would be essential to you. You will also need to have a conversation about and provide documentation of your disability to the Coordinator for Disability Resources, located on the 3rd floor of the Rosenfield Center (x3089).
We encourage you to make the statement on your syllabus a reflection of your personal style and your commitment to honoring the diverse learners in your classroom.