Student Accessibility ResourcesPanama City Campus, McSpadden Student Union East
5230 West U.S. Highway 98
Panama City, FL 32401
Faculty Frequently Asked Questions
In response to the growing number of college students with disabilities, many campuses across the nation established offices to handle requests for accommodations and hire professionals knowledgeable about disability-related issues.
At Gulf Coast State College, Student Accessibility Resources (SAR) serves as a liaison between students, faculty and staff on disability concerns; arranges accommodations for students with disabilities and ensures that GCSC is in compliance with federal and state laws.The Student Accessibility Resources department is located on the Panama City Main Campus in the McSpadden Student Union East Building.
Only SAR can determine who is eligible for services based on a disability. Students can register for services by making an appointment with SAR and presenting documentation. If a student requests accommodations, but is not registered with SAR, please refer them to the SAR office before any accommodations are provided.
The best way to communicate your desire to discuss accommodation needs with a student is to use the approved syllabus statement. Although it is easier if students discuss their accommodation needs at the beginning of the semester, you cannot deny accommodations if the student chooses to disclose later in the semester. However, you are also not obligated to allow students to re-do any assignment or test for which they did not receive accommodations if you did not know they had a disability. SAR encourages registered students to speak with their instructors regarding their accommodation plan.
Tell them that they need to be registered with SAR before you can provide any accommodations. You are under no obligation to provide accommodations until you are notified by a letter from SAR. A student who is unaware of the procedures for obtaining accommodations may try to give you a copy of their documentation. Ask the student to take their documentation to Student Accessibility Resources because it is their responsibility to determine if a student is eligible for services.
No, SAR does not conduct evaluations, but we would be happy to talk to students and give them a referral for testing.
Generally speaking, most students with disabilities are entitled to a note taker and extended test time. Arrangements for readers and scribes are made between the student and SAR, but the student may request help when trying to locate someone to provide this assistance. Address any questions about accommodations to the student first, but contact SAR if necessary. Depending on the type of disability the student has, other reasonable accommodations may be appropriate. Please contact SAR to discuss specific accommodation requests.
Consult with SAR before you agree to or refuse any accommodation. Instructors can be held personally liable for refusing to accommodate a student with a documented disability, so be sure to seek assistance from SAR before making any decisions about a request for accommodations that may seem unreasonable to you. Accommodations should be fundamentally fair, reasonable and related to the student's disability.
It depends upon the nature and purpose of the exam (for example, is the time it takes to complete the exam an essential component of the student's score?), but most students do not need beyond double time. If you have questions about extended test time, please contact SAR.
Although it may seem that students with disabilities are getting an unfair advantage when they receive more time than students without disabilities, this is not the purpose or result of extended testing time. Extra time on exams is necessary to provide students with a disability an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge.
Students who sign-up to take an exam with SAR will either take it in the Testing Center (a quiet non-distracting testing environment), or take it in one of the SAR Testing Rooms (Private and/Semi-Private room within SAR department for Reader/Scribe Accommodations).
The student should take the test at the same time the class takes it, unless you give permission otherwise.Please see the section on alternative testing procedures for more details.
You are not required to excuse absences that occur after the student has surpassed the number of absences that are specified in your syllabus, particularly if class attendance is considered an essential part of receiving a grade for the course. However, in some cases, it may be reasonable to excuse students from class if they have a documented disability-related reason for missing class. You should review a student's request for excused absences on a case-by-case basis and consult with SAR if you have questions or concerns.
Notify SAR immediately so that the classroom location can be changed and/or any modified furniture can be moved into the classroom, as soon as possible.
The student should give you a faculty notification letter from SAR requesting that you make an anonymous announcement asking the class if anyone is willing to be a note taker. Complete instructions for assisting students with finding a note taker are on the faculty letter. Please include the fact that note takers receive monetary compensation for taking notes. This information often helps in the recruiting of note takers. The note taker and the student who is registered with SAR should meet privately after class to discuss the arrangements. If you have any questions regarding note takers, please contact SAR.
The fact is that millions of persons with disabilities are "making it" in the "real-world" with accommodations that result in little or no cost to their employer. Although most work environments are very different from the conditions in a college course, with a few exceptions, employees are given a reasonable amount of time to complete a task and are given access to a wide variety of resources. Of course, people with disabilities may have limitations that make it difficult or impossible to perform certain tasks, but it is not fair to assume that a person with a disability cannot complete an assignment or participate in a course. Always contact SAR if you have any questions or concerns.