Determining Fundamental Alterations of a Course / Program

Sometimes, a student requests an accommodation that you believe may create a fundamental change of the course and/or program. To determine whether an accommodation changes the nature of a course, faculty instructors should:

  1. Identify the fundamental academic standards of the course (i.e., requirements that go to the very nature of the topic or that are imperative in achieving the course objective)and the overall objectives of any program for which the course is required;
  2. Engage in "reasoned deliberation" as to whether implementation of the proposed accommodation would change the fundamental academic standards identified in #1;
    - If implementation of the requested accommodation would not change fundamental academic standards – Approve the accommodation.
    - If implementation of the requested accommodation would change fundamental academic standards, articulate how and move to #3.
  3. Work with SAS and the Student to identify whether any paths exist that would let the student be accommodated based on disability and meet the fundamental academic standard / achieve the desired academic/pedagogical result, such as consideration of an alternative evaluation method to show the fundamental academic standard or a different, but still effective, accommodation that would let the student meet the fundamental academic standard using the existing methods.

The decision to deny an accommodation should not be taken lightly. By answering these questions and documenting the process, instructors can show that they have evaluated the authorized accommodation against the course/program goals.

Disability laws require that students with disabilities meet the "essential," "academic," and "technical” standards of the class/program/college.