Instructor Guide to Managing Student Accommodations
Disability Resources and Services (DRS) uses the online system Accessible Information Management (AIM) to manage academic accommodations at the University. This system allows students to be independent in the coordination of their accommodations and disability information. Students, faculty, and DRS staff are able to work within the system to provide the student with accommodations. To access the Instructor portal within AIM click the link below:
Recommended Syllabus Statement
On February 27, 2001, the Faculty Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to include the following statement on course syllabi:
“If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services, 140 William Pitt Union, 412-648-7890 as early as possible in the term."
Instructional Accessibility at Pitt
The University Center for Teaching and Learning has information and resources pertaining to accessibility on their website. Additional information about accessibility can be found on the digital accessibility section of this site.
Referring Students to Disability Resources & Services (DRS)
Disability Resources and Services (DRS) is the designated department by the University to determine reasonable accommodations and services. At the University of Pittsburgh, we are committed to providing equal opportunities in higher education to academically qualified students with disabilities. As faculty and staff are often the first people who students share health conditions and/or struggles related to disabilities in interactions, we have provided some resources on how you can refer a student to our office.
When to Provide a Direct DRS Referral
Should a student disclose either of these to you, a direct referral to DRS is appropriate:
- A student directly discloses a disability and/or health condition to you. For example, a student shares with you that they are depressed and on medication and this is impacting their performance in a class.
- A student discloses receiving past accommodations or services, either as a transfer student or in K-12. For example, a student shares they previously had extra time on an exam in another course or school and want to use them in your class
Below are examples of language you may use to engage with the student and email templates to follow-up with them after your meeting. Please adjust language to suit your conversation:
Talking Points Example
“Thank you for sharing this information with me. I’m happy to assist where I can. For me to best support you, I would like to provide you with information for the Office of Disability Resources and Services. They are a confidential support for students with disabilities to ensure equal access to the academic environment. They work closely with you to identify your needs and potential accommodations you may require, and in turn provide me with information on how to best support you in the classroom. Would you like the contact information for the office to get started?”
Thank you for our conversation. It was great to learn more about you and discuss aspects of the class. I wanted to follow up with information about the disability office on campus, who you can connect with to discuss resources that could be helpful in your academic pursuits.
Disability Resources and Services (DRS) works with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions, with a focus on ensuring equal access for students. You can learn more about them on their website (www.drs.pitt.edu). You can also contact them directly at 412-648-7890 or email@example.com. Thank you.
Provide other University resources as necessary and appropriate.
When to Provide a DRS Resource
Not all students who are experiencing academic difficulties will require support from DRS. If you see a student who is struggling, engage with them directly and share campus resources available to them. NEVER ask a student if they have a disability or need disability supports. Simply provide them with as many relevant resources on campus, including DRS, and allow the student to make the decision to contact us independently. They are not required to disclose their disability to you or our office.
Disability Resources and Services (DRS): Works with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions, with a focus on ensuring equal access for students. Learn more about them on their website (www.drs.pitt.edu). You can also contact them directly at 412-648-7890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about whether DRS is an appropriate resource, please contact our office.