Rock Valley College
Rockford, Illinois

Faculty and Staff

Diversity, equity, and opportunity are core components of our College values. Access for and inclusion of students with disabilities in our classrooms is linked to these components. Reducing barriers and creating a welcoming climate for students and individuals with disabilities is an institutional commitment and responsibility. The DSS office partners with faculty to assist students with disabilities at RVC. This collaboration is imperative to a student's right to fully participate in our academic programs. The following information is provided as a guide for faculty and staff to facilitate reaching these goals.

Faculty-DSS Partnership

DSS is responsible for reviewing documentation, determining appropriateness of requests for academic adjustments, informing students and faculty members of their rights and responsibilities as they relate to the provision of accommodations, and facilitating necessary adjustments.

Students are responsible for presenting faculty members with DSS accommodation letters, making timely requests for adjustments, following through with their personal obligations for their accommodations, discussing their specific needs with their instructors, and self-advocating when there are problems or concerns.

Faculty members are responsible for setting a welcoming tone in their classes, providing students with an opportunity to meet and discuss adjustments, and ensuring that approved accommodations are provided.

All parties are responsible for problem-solving if issues or concerns arise.

Accessibility Statements

Rock Valley College seeks to provide activities and programs that are inclusive to all participants. As such, in an effort to ensure accessibility to all programs, courses, and events, the following statements or disclaimers should be included on all college publications (ex., program announcements, brochures, flyers, and syllabi). The host department, location, telephone number, and Email (if applicable) should be included. 

For sample statements, click here.

Accommodation Process for Students with Disabilities

1. Students self-identify to DSS and follow the necessary procedures to request services. In order to register with DSS, students meet with a DSS staff member to discuss barriers they are experiencing in the classroom and provide documentation to support requests for accommodation(s).

2. Students meet with a DSS staff member every semester to renew their accommodation letter. The letter does not specify the disability, but lists the academic accommodations that RVC needs to provide.

3. Students deliver the letter to faculty and engage in conversation about their need for the accommodations. When students pick up accommodation letters from the DSS office, they are instructed to deliver the letters to instructors during office hours, rather than before or after class. Delivering letters during office hours ensures adequate time and opportunity for faculty to read the letter and engage in dialogue with the student regarding the recommended accommodations.

4. Faculty and students decide on a plan for the semester, and DSS is involved as needed. For example, if your student receives testing accommodations, will you provide those accommodations, or will you use the Testing Center? Will the test be taken during the regularly scheduled class time, or at an alternative time?  It is important to communicate your intentions to the student so that there are no misunderstandings.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality of student's personal information is a priority at RVC.  All conversations with students should be held in a private setting and care should be taken to protect information relating to the student's disability.


Exam Accommodations

If you have a student who receives testing accommodations, you should discuss with the student his/her preferences for taking course exams (ex., in the classroom vs. in the Testing Center, in a quiet environment, etc.).  All exams that are delivered to the Testing Center should be accompanied by an exam proctor sheet, which lists any accommodations that the student is entitled to use.  For questions or concerns regarding scheduling or coordinating exams with accommodations for your students, please contact the Testing Center at (815) 921-2380.  Other information pertaining to students with disabilities and testing can be found here.

Universal Design

Universal design (UD) is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.  One example of UD is an automatic door opener, which allows a door to be accessible to a larger number of people, including those who may use wheelchairs. In terms of learning, universal design means the design of instructional materials and activities that make the learning goals and objectives achievable by individuals with a wide variance in their ability to see, hear, speak, move, read, write, understand English, attend, organize, engage, and remember.  In essence, universal design for learning, or UDL, provides alternatives for students with differing abilities. Click here for more information on how to apply UDL principles in your course.

There is a host of information on the Internet regarding UDL in higher education.  The following sites are especially excellent resources for faculty and staff:


Frequently Asked Questions

As an instructor, you will most likely at one point or another, encounter a variety of students with disabilities in your classes.  Whether you are a seasoned, tenured faculty member, or a new adjunct, these frequently asked questions may provide some guidance in addressing questions you may have along the way.  Although these FAQs relate to more common situations and scenarios, you may also seek assistance and guidance from the DSS staff at any time.  Our office can be reached at (815) 921-2371 and is located on the Ground floor of the Student Center.