This online version is for convenience; the official version of this policy is housed in the University Secretariat. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the official version held by the Secretariat, the official version shall prevail.
1.00 Students who require academic accommodations are responsible for self-identifying their needs to the Accessible Learning Centre (ALC). Supporting documentation is required to support this process. New students are encouraged to make contact with the ALC once they accept their offer of admission. Returning students are expected to register with the ALC at the beginning of each academic year.
2.00 Academic accommodations are assessed and provided on an individual basis. Accommodation planning is a collaborative process that gives full consideration to the overall learning objectives and requirements of the students’ respective program. The following will apply for both undergraduate and graduate students:
2.01 Once the student has met eligibility requirements for ALC service, a meeting will be arranged with an ALC Disability Consultant. Students will be informed that in order for a requested accommodation to be implemented, it may be necessary to share relevant information on a need to know basis with appropriate individuals within the university. Students will be asked to provide expressed, written consent when medical or psychological records or information may be shared. Information is shared in accordance with student consent, university policy and privacy access legislation.
2.02 The disability consultant will, in consultation with the student, develop an accommodation plan based on the student’s needs and the documentation provided, with consideration for the essential requirements of the course/program. If an accommodation is perceived to compromise any essential element of a course or program the faculty member of the respective course will be consulted. The Graduate Coordinator and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will be consulted for matters relating to graduate programs. The accommodation plan will be reviewed and updated as needed while the student attends Wilfrid Laurier University.
2.03 The Accessible Learning Centre will maintain all documentation in a confidential and secure manner.
2.04 Once the undergraduate accommodation plan has been created, the Accessible Learning Centre will communicate the accommodations in writing by confidential email to the instructor(s). The email will be delivered to faculty approximately the third week in to term and throughout the year as students register with the ALC.
2.05 It is the responsibility of student to contact their disability consultant regularly, to ensure notification of any changes to their needs or program requirements which may necessitate a revision to their accommodation plan. Subsequent revisions to the accommodation plan will be discussed among the student, the ALC, and the program faculty member(s). Any revisions to the accommodation plan shall be made in writing, signed by the student and the disability consultant and shared as needed with identified parties. Any needed changes that result from different course or program requirements shall be discussed first with the faculty member prior to any revisions to the accommodation plan.
2.06 Graduate programs may include requirements and evaluative elements such as independent research, thesis development, writing and defence, field work, and community placements; as such, the ALC disability consultant may contact the graduate coordinator, practicum coordinator, academic advisor and/or the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office for any feedback or considerations regarding essential course, placement or program requirements while constructing the accommodation plan.
2.07 Graduate student accommodation notification will be shared with student consent via confidential email with the graduate coordinator of the program, the practicum coordinator, the academic advisor (as appropriate) and the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. The information contained within the initial email serves as a confirmation of registration; the disability consultant and the student will be in contact with the faculty member to discuss progress and need for accommodation considerations as the need arises. The coordinator of the program will ensure that registration information is shared with faculty by term and course.
2.08 Subsequent revisions to the graduate accommodation plan due either to changes in the student’s needs or to different course or program requirements shall be negotiated among the student, the Accessible Learning Centre, graduate coordinator, practicum coordinator, academic advisor, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office and the appropriate faculty member. Any revisions to the accommodation plan shall be made in writing, signed by the student and the disability consultant and shared with all relevant parties. When any accommodation plan affects Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies regulations (e.g. time to complete the degree) the graduate coordinator or designate will consult with the Dean of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Studies (or designate).
3.00 If a practicum, placement or community service learning (CSL), is an essential element of a program, the student must consider access to accommodation while on site. Students are encouraged to discuss this consideration with their disability consultant as their accommodation plan is being developed.
4.00 It is the student’s responsibility to disclose the need for accommodation during a community placement. The student can discuss this with their instructor, community service learning coordinator and/or the coordinator of the program who will to review the accommodation requirements of the student and the potential impact of the accommodations on the essential duties required for the community placement. The student’s placement agency will not be informed of the student’s accommodation unless there is a need to know and the student consents to the sharing of this information.
5.00 If a placement or practicum is a requirement for a program (e.g. Master of Social Work or Bachelor of Education), with the student’s consent, the disability consultant will confidentially inform the practicum team of the student’s need for accommodation. The practicum coordinator will then invite the student to meet to discuss accommodations recommended for placement. The student’s field advisor will then be notified. The student’s placement agency will not be informed of the student’s accommodations unless there is a need to know (e.g. a level of risk for the student and/or others has been identified) or the student consents to the sharing of this information.
6.00 Accessible Learning is available to meet and discuss accommodation needs and implementation strategies to support the student completing their placement or practicum requirements. The student will always be a part of this process.
7.00 The accommodation review process will be applied by examining each issue on a case by case basis. A transparent dispute resolution mechanism will be followed.
7.01 In cases where the instructor, the student and the Accessible Learning Centre cannot agree on the provision of a determined accommodation as it has been deemed by the faculty member to compromise the essential requirements of the respective course/program, efforts to determine a reasonable alternative accommodation will be employed.
7.02 If an alternative accommodation cannot be determined through discussion among the student, the instructor and the Accessible Learning Centre, the matter will be referred to the Chair of the program (or equivalent). Any required meetings between the concerned parties will be scheduled as soon as possible in an effort to resolve the issue as expeditiously as possible. Accessible Learning will be available as a resource to provide clarification on the accommodation policy and related procedures. Students may appeal to the appropriate faculty petitions committee any decision which impacts their academic standing that the student believes is caused by a failure to provide reasonable accommodation.
7.03 In the event that the Chair of the department/program believes that a proposed accommodation compromises the essential requirements of a course and a mutually supported decision cannot be achieved or resolved via the petition process, the matter will be brought to the attention of the Dean (or designate) of the student’s Faculty. The Dean will discuss these concerns with all associated parties (e.g. the department, the student, and ALC) and will decide upon an appropriate course of action as expeditiously as possible. The Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will be the first point of contact for all graduate students.
7.04 If at any time during the accommodation planning and/or review process, the instructor, the Chair/Program Coordinator or the Dean (or designate) decide that there are substantial financial or health and safety implications to granting a requested accommodation, the plan will be forwarded directly to the Provost and Vice President Academic. All required parties will be consulted in an effort to ensure resolution.
7.05 The dignity of the person will be considered when addressing any health and safety risks. A proportionate response will be applied. When a risk is identified, the least intrusive means to address risk will be applied.
8.00 Should a satisfactory response not be achieved at the Decanal level, a student may refer to the Senate Student Appeals Committee (SSAC) on grounds of procedural error or reasonableness of the accommodation. The Procedures for Considering Appeals by the Senate Student Appeals Committee shall apply. This Committee will hear appeals of applications for unresolved accommodation disputes where there are permitted grounds.
8.01 The Senate Student Appeals Committee is the final body for students to address appeals relating to accommodation provision under this policy. Students must follow the dispute resolution process as indicated above, including faculty petition processes.
8.02 In response to pressing academic deadlines the Senate Student Appeals Committee can be activated at any time and will be chaired by the Provost and Vice-President Academic. The SSAC will hear the appeal within 21 days of the date the appeal is submitted to the Office of the Provost and Vice-President Academic.
8.03 A representative from the ALC will be available to provide information as needed to support the Committee in its review and decision making process.
8.04 All decisions of this Committee shall be final; there is no appeal beyond that of the Senate Student Appeals Committee.
9.00 The University recognizes that decisions involving accommodations must be made expeditiously to assist students in their ongoing studies. Once a decision on an accommodation appeal has been made it shall be implemented promptly.
10.00 In the event that accommodations have been denied by the department chair (or equivalent) or the Dean (or equivalent), and an appeal by the student is pending, the Dean, the department chair, the coordinator of the program and the ALC shall review the accommodation plan to determine what portion, if any, of the plan is reasonable to implement immediately. It is suggested that minimal accommodations shall remain in place until there is a final disposition of all appeals.
11.00 Where a student has been accommodated pending the final disposition of all appeals, and such disposition is that the accommodation should not be granted, an alternative means of fairly determining the student’s course mark or the timing of submission of the student’s work shall be determined by the department chair (or equivalent) and the instructor in consultation with the ALC (as needed), and communicated to the student. The applicable program coordinator may be consulted as determined by the department chair (or equivalent).
12.00 In some circumstances the Dean may, in his/her discretion, agree to withdraw a student retroactively from a course or program without financial or academic penalty to the student. The Registrar’s Office will be kept informed of any change that impacts a student’s enrolment status.
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