Role of Faculty

As someone who interacts frequently with students, you have a big impact on a student’s college experience.

Partnering for the Good of the Students

We are so appreciative of the time and effort you put into creating a positive learning environment for all students. We are here to partner with you in the learning process. We want to work alongside you in creating equitable opportunities for all students with disabilities to engage in higher education.

As we consider this a partnership, we are available for feedback and conversations at any time. Our collective goal of supporting students includes making sure you feel supported. Additionally, we are available for consultation for specific student concerns as well as for general universal design for your classroom.

Syllabus Statement

Academic Accommodations from the Accessibility Services Office

Regardless of whether the course or the student is on-campus or remote, Merrimack College provides reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities through the Accessibility Services Office. Students who have, or think they may have, a disability are invited to contact the Accessibility Services Office via the online request form found on the Accessibility Services website: www.merrimack.edu/aso, email accessibilityservices@merrimack.edu or by visiting us on the third floor of McQuade Library (subject to change if the college is remote).

Students are encouraged to contact the office as soon as possible via the website or via email at accessibilityservices@merrimack.edu to ensure adequate time to meet and create a plan. Students already registered with Accessibility Services are encouraged semesterly to request for their letters to be emailed and students are responsible to then email the letter to their instructors personally. The Accessibility Services Testing Center remains available to students whether in-person or remote. While it is understood that some students will not use all accommodations in all courses, accommodations can not be made retroactively.  

Testing Center Information

Whether in-person or remote, we are encouraging all of our students to continue to sign up for accommodated exams through the Testing Center so we can support them (and you!) with any remote needs. We have already had a number of occasions where students and faculty have found our mediated support helpful. Please encourage your students with accommodations to utilize the Testing Center to request accommodations - even if you know you can work out the accommodations independently of the Accessibility Services Office.

For certain disabilities, maintaining this process also instills continuity for some of our students who truly need predicted habits and routine, and have difficulty moving in and out of transitional times. Additionally, it’s important that our freshman get used to this process early on.

Testing accommodations may be arranged by you remotely, in your classroom or office if you are able, or in the Accessibility Services Office Testing Center.

Students should arrange directly with their faculty member for accommodations for quizzes, or any assessment less than 30 minutes (before/after class, at a prearranged space or at an alternate time). We have found that taking short quizzes in the Testing Center can cause students to miss class time.

Students taking exams in the Testing Center must request testing appointments via the online form at least one week prior to the test date. We will then email the professor to alert you of the request and the reasonable date and time for the exam with accommodation as well as to confirm the test information, materials allowed (if any) and plan for the transaction of the exam. Upon receipt, please complete the form and specify any and all materials allowed, and the manner in which the exam will be delivered to our office.

All testing at the Testing Center, including final examinations, must be started and completed Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Should the class exam time exceed these hours, we will assign a different test time for the student as close to the actual exam time as possible, and will communicate that to you. This might mean that the student is taking an exam at a different time or, on a rare occasion, different day as the rest of the class (as is the case for night classes, for example). We have a confidentiality form that every student is required to sign to ensure academic honesty. We will be in contact with you if this happens to be the case.

After you complete the form, please submit your assessment by email to accessibilityservices@merrimack.edu or deliver the exam in person before the specified start time of the student’s exam (please note this may be different than the scheduled class exam time). Upon the student’s completion of the exam, we will return the exam based on the method you notated in the faculty response form (however, due to liability, we are not able to deliver exams to faculty).

Regarding Remote Testing Center Accommodations

  • The ASO Testing Center remains open. The same request process is being used so we can assist students to ensure their accommodations are in place and so we can help them strategize with their instructors. We also use the request as a point of contact with instructors to assist them with any questions regarding testing accommodations. 
  • The ASO can assist with how accommodations continue to occur. For instance, if you decide to extend the length of the assessment with your entire class, the students who have requested their extended time need to have their extended time on top of the total time allotted. The understanding is if there is a finite amount of start/stop test time, that is when the extended time accommodations are most necessary.

Typical Academic Accommodations

Extended Time

Extended time applies to quizzes, exams and all time-constrained academic competitions, such as in-class writing for a grade or a take-home exam limited to a few days. It does not apply to papers or assignments, as students should be notified well in advance of a long-term assignment and its due date. Student requests for extensions, typically an additional day or two, are granted at the discretion of the instructor. Please keep in mind that many students feel their learning is undermined if they fall behind in their work. 

If the test is being administered on blackboard, here are directions on how to add extended time for individual students:

  • Select “Roster”
  • Click on the 3 dots on the side of the student with the needed accommodation
  • Select “Accommodations”
  • Select “Time Limit Accommodation”
  • Check off the correct amount of extended time per their Accommodation Plan Letter
Reduced Distraction Test Location

Reduced distraction location does not require that a student test alone. It simply requires that common distractions in the test location be reduced, often by having fewer students and distractions in the testing room. This is often achieved via utilizing the Testing Center, however, if agreed between faculty and student, an alternative location can be determined. 

Use of an Exam Laptop

This accommodation requires a student to reserve an exam laptop through the Accessibility Services Office at least one week in advance of a test, which typically takes place in our testing center. We ensure that the laptop is fully charged, the exam is loaded and the internet connection and calculator function are disabled. Students use this accommodation for various purposes which could include type and/or read-aloud software.

Use of a Calculator

This accommodation allows for use of a simple calculator if such use does not fundamentally alter the nature of the course or test. Instructors must specify whether use of a graphing calculator is permitted.

Notetaking Assistance

When a student requests support with notetaking beyond traditional resources to supplement learning, it would be helpful for the student to receive notes from the instructor or to be paired with a volunteer in your class. On occasion, if determined by our office that the student cannot access the curriculum without notetaking assistance, our office will hire a student in your course to be a paid notetaker. 

When a student is absent from class due to illness or surgery, if requested by the student, instructors are encouraged to share their notes and/or help identify another student in class who is willing to share notes. Posting instructor or classmate-shared notes are common strategies for strengthening student engagement.

Electronic Notetaking

Students use a laptop or other device to take notes during a particular class.

Audio Recordings

Students use an electronic device to record the lecture for learning purposes. Students agree to not share, publish or quote recorded material without the consent of the instructor and to turn off the recorder when requested to do so by the instructor. **Regarding remote learning - we ask that you provide these students with the zoom recording of the lectures as soon as they have been made available to you**

Electronic Textbooks

The accessibility services office will help students to acquire books in electronic format for independent study.

** Adjusted Absences and Course Assessment Dates **

If it is determined by our office that the student cannot access the curriculum without a team agreement, instructors will be contacted by an Accessibility Services staff member to engage in an interactive process. This rare accommodation will involve collaboration and communication throughout the semester.