Faculty & Staff
How does a student become eligible for services?
In order to determine eligibility for an academic adjustment/auxiliary aid, the student must register at the Office of Accessibility Services and provide documentation of a disability. Visit Documentation Guidelines for explicit details.
Make your course "accessibility-friendly."
Include a statement in your course syllabus welcoming students with accessibility issues. This sends the message that Umass Dartmouth values individual difference, diversity, and supports an inclusive learning environment. It also normalizes the accommodation process and informs students of a valuable resource to enhance the educational experience and help with retention.
Below can be included to notify students of the Office of Accessibility Services:
Umass Dartmouth is committed to providing equal access to all of our students and be compliant with the legal mandates expressed in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
If you have a documented disability or chronic health condition and require accommodations to obtain equal access in this course, please call the Office of Accessibility Services at 508.999.8711 to make an appointment.
You may also want to notify students that if they have emergency medical information that they wish to share with you, or need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, to please inform you.
How to Accommodate Various Learning Styles - This section will provide you with some basic information about the different learning styles that you encounter in your students and how best to both recognize and accommodate them in your classroom.
1. Visual learners
How to recognize visual learners in your class: Someone with a preference for visual learning is partial to seeing and observing things, including pictures, diagrams, written directions and more. This is also referred to as the “spatial” learning style. Students who learn through sight understand information better when it’s presented in a visual way. These are your doodling students, your list makers and your students who take notes.
How to cater to visual learners: The whiteboard is your best friend when teaching visual learners! Teachers should create opportunities to draw pictures and diagrams on the board, or ask students to doodle examples based on the topic they’re learning. Teachers catering to visual learners should regularly make handouts and use presentations. Visual learners may also need more time to process material, as they observe the visual cues before them. So be sure to give students a little time and space to work through the information.
2. Auditory learners
How to recognize auditory learners in your class: Auditory learners tend to learn better when the subject matter is reinforced by sound. These students would much rather listen to a lecture than read written notes, and they often use their own voices to reinforce new concepts and ideas. These are the students who like to read out loud to themselves, aren’t afraid to speak up in class and are great at verbally explaining things. Additionally, they may be slower at reading and may repeat things a teacher tells them.
How to cater to auditory learners: Since these students can sometimes find it hard to keep quiet for long periods of time, get your auditory learners involved in the lecture by asking them to repeat back new concepts to you. Ask questions and let them answer. Invoke group discussions so your auditory and verbal processors can properly take in and understand the information they’re being presented with. Watching videos and using music or audiotapes are also helpful ways to engage with auditory learners.
3. Kinesthetic learners
How to recognize kinesthetic learners in your class: Kinesthetic learners or “tactile” learners learn through experiencing or doing things. They like to get right in the thick of things by acting out events or using their hands to touch and handle in order to understand concepts. These are the students who might struggle to sit still, might be good at sports or like to dance, need to take breaks when studying and might not have great handwriting.
How to cater to kinesthetic learners: The best way teachers can help these students learn is by getting them moving. Teachers should instruct students to act out a certain scene from a history lesson they’re teaching. Additionally they should encourage these students by incorporating movement into lessons: pacing to help memorize, learning games that involve moving around the classroom or having students write on the whiteboard as part of an activity.
Once these students can physically sense what they’re studying, abstract ideas and difficult concepts will be easier to understand.
4. Reading/writing learners
How to recognize reading/writing learners in your class: According to the VARK Modalities theory developed by Fleming and Mills in 1992, reading/writing learners prefer to learn through written words. While there is some overlap with visual learning, these types of learners are drawn to expression through writing, reading articles on the internet, writing in diaries, looking up words in the dictionary and searching the internet for just about everything.
How to cater to reading/writing learners: This is probably the easiest learning style to cater to since most of the educational system provides lots of opportunities for writing essays, doing research online and reading books. Allow plenty of time for these students to absorb information through the written word, and give them opportunities to get their words out on paper as well.
Universal Design is a framework for designing educational environments that enable all learners to gain knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for learning. By incorporating supports for particular students, it is possible to improve learning experiences for everyone.
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples' needs. Simply put, universal design is good design.
Helping a Student in Distress - As a faculty or staff member interacting daily with students, you are in an excellent position to recognize behavior changes that characterize the emotionally troubled student. Please visit UMD’s Counseling Center for more information on how to recognize some of the signs of a student in distress.
The Care Network, an initiative within the Division of Student Affairs, coordinates efforts with campus partners to assist students who encounter challenges in achieving success. The purpose of the Care Network is to identify students who may benefit from assistance and guidance as they manage the presenting issue(s) that are affecting their well-being, adjustment, and overall success at the University and to help them build capacity for managing issues during and beyond their time at UMass Dartmouth.
Student Affairs staff in Care & Advocacy are available to provide consultation, answer questions, respond to concerns, or direct individuals to the most appropriate resources.
To make a referral to the Care Network please visit: Care Network referral form
Accessibility to Department Events
In the occasion a department holds a special event or conference in which service providers are needed to give people with disabilities access to content, the Office of Accessibility Services will put forward their best efforts obtaining the proper person. However, it is the hosting department, club, or organization's financial and ultimate responsibility to provide the accommodation.