Instructor Resources

Ensuring equal opportunity to a quality education for all students requires the commitment of all of Mizzou.

If you have questions regarding how best to accommodate a student with a disability, please contact the Disability Center.

Academic and classroom accommodations

Providing access, whether through specific accommodations or through implementation of universal design for learning, is a partnership among faculty, staff and students.

A student’s eligibility for accommodations is determined through an interactive process with the Disability Center called an access planning meeting. Once an accommodation plan is established, students are responsible for notifying instructors regarding their eligibility; they do so by presenting a copy of the accommodation notification letter (print or PDF document), created and signed by the student’s access advisor. In addition to presenting the accommodation notification letter, students are encouraged to speak with instructors privately to discuss how accommodations are to be implemented.

Instructors play a crucial role in providing the accommodations that are listed in a student’s accommodation notification letter. Some accommodations depend on the instructor and student working together to ensure appropriate implementation, and will involve the Disability Center only when necessary. Implementation of other accommodations, such as exams, note taking assistance, alternative formats, and communication access (interpreters/captioning) are facilitated by the Disability Center in partnership with instructors.

Concerns about how an accommodation can be implemented (e.g., whether an accommodation may lower or modify essential course requirements) should be addressed by consulting with the student’s access advisor in the Disability Center.

Guide to flexible attendance and deadlines

Guide to notetaking assistance

Generally, students are expected to follow established classroom attendance and deadline policies. However, some disabilities are episodic in nature. As a result, students with disabilities may miss classes or deadlines. While we encourage instructors to be flexible with attendance and deadline policies, faculty are not required to alter any essential functions of their courses.

Click here to learn more about flexibility regarding attendance and/or deadlines.

  • We encourage instructors to provide testing accommodations for students who qualify. Alternatively, instructors may furnish exams and administration details to the Disability Center, and we will proctor the accommodated exams.
  • Instructors may upload their exams through the instructor portal in myAccess, email the exam files to, or drop them off to the Exams Office staff.
  • All completed exams will be returned via email, uploaded back into the instructor portal, or you may come by and pick them up from the Exams Office 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday–Friday.
  • All exam requests for weeks 1-15 must be submitted by the students at least 7 days in advance.
  • During weeks 1–15, exams can be scheduled every 15 minutes
      • 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Monday–Thursday — exams must end by 10 p.m.
      • 8 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Friday — exams must end by 5 p.m.
    • During week 16 (finals week) exams can be scheduled
      • 7:30 a.m., 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday–Thursday
      • 7:30 a.m. Friday.
    • During summer semesters, exams can be scheduled every 15 minutes 8 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Monday–Friday — exams must end by 5 p.m.

Acquiring a volunteer notetaker is vital to providing equal access for students who require notetaking assistance as an accommodation. Students who serve as notetakers can qualify for the notetaker stipend that is given at the end of the semester. To ensure that the accommodation can be implemented effectively, we rely on instructor’s assistance to recruit notetakers from classes.

To learn more about the process, including how to recruit notetakers, go to the Faculty Guide for Notetaking Assistance.

The instructor portal allows teaching faculty to see which students in your courses have requested to utilize their approved accommodations. By logging in to the instructor portal, you can view individual student accommodation notification letters, requests to take accommodated exams with our office, and a list of notetakers in your classes and the notes they have shared with students.

Tutorial: How to utilize the instructor portal (video)

Tutorial: How to utilize the instructor portal (PowerPoint)

Access the Instructor Portal

Designing an accessible syllabus

Be aware of diverse student abilities when designing your course syllabus and include a statement advising students with disabilities how to request necessary academic accommodations.

Disability Accommodation Statement

The Disability Center recommends that each course syllabus contain a statement advising students with disabilities how to request necessary academic accommodations. The statement helps to fulfill MU’s institutional responsibility to provide information about the process and also demonstrates the university’s commitment to a positive and welcoming environment for students with disabilities.

Below is a sample statement you may include on your syllabus. It can be used as is or can be adjusted to meet specific needs.

Recommended syllabus statement

The goal of the University of Missouri is to ensure an inclusive learning environment for all students. The University of Missouri Disability Center provides services and accommodations for students to participate fully in the learning experience and to experience equitable evaluation of their performance.

Students (including online students) with a documented disability can contact the Disability Center to establish an accommodation plan. Documented disabilities include hearing, vision, mobility, learning and attention, psychological health and physical health.

Students’ accommodations are implemented with the input of students to maximize the learning experiences.

The MU Disability Center keeps information about a student’s disability confidential.

Please notify me of your eligibility for accommodations as soon as possible. Additionally, if there are aspects of the course that present as barriers, such as inaccessible course content (e.g., learning assessments, PowerPoints, non-captioned videos, images, tables, PDFs) or if you need an immediate accommodation due to an injury, please contact me or the Disability Center as soon as possible.

Accessible Syllabus

An accessible syllabus is designed for diverse student abilities and helps to support an inclusive, respectful learning environment.  To design an accessible syllabus, follow some basic rules:

  • Use a style sheet
  • Be clear and unambiguous
  • Be concise
  • Make use of bulleted lists and paragraph breaks
  • Use person first/positive language

Additional Resources

Maximizing the learning of all students

Universal design promotes an equitable, flexible, fully accessible learning environment designed to meet the needs of diverse learners using multiple means of engagement, expression and representation.

Your course can be designed to help ensure that the learning of all students is maximized, including those with different learning styles and disabilities.

A student’s need for accommodations may be minimized through the use of universal design of instruction. Universal design promotes an equitable, flexible, fully accessible learning environment designed to meet the needs of diverse learners using multiple means of engagement, expression and representation.

Universal Design Suggestions

  • Using Panopto (lecture capture), which helps reduce the need for notetakers
  • Using captioned videos, films and other audio presentations
  • Offering flexibility regarding attendance
  • Providing texts in alternative formats
  • Giving verbal descriptions of visual aids and graphics
  • Paraphrasing questions and answers
  • Highlighting key points throughout discussions
  • Using multiple teaching methods, including lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, web-based work and fieldwork
  • Providing multiple methods for students to demonstrate knowledge, such as demonstrations, presentations and portfolios

If you have questions regarding how best to accommodate a student with a disability or how to implement universal design suggestions, contact the Disability Center.

Additional Resources

Implement digital accessibility

As our daily lives become digital, it’s more important than ever to ensure that information is accessible to everyone.

In your role as an instructor, design your digital products (e.g., electronic documents, websites, mobile apps, email or videos) so they are usable by all — through color scheme choice, transcripts and/or captions, adding alternative text, and more.

Visit our Digital Access website to learn more.

Know your rights

As an instructor, you have the right to maintain academic standards for courses and to determine course content and how it will be taught.

Faculty have the right to:

  • Receive verification of a student’s eligibility for any requested accommodations. Students provide verification through an Accommodation Notification Letter from the Disability Center, either in person or electronically.
  • Expect that students will initiate accommodation requests.
  • Maintain academic standards for courses.
  • Determine course content and how it will be taught.
  • Deny a request for accommodation if no verification of eligibility has been provided.

Faculty do not have the right to:

  • Refuse to provide an approved accommodation
  • Challenge the legitimacy of a student’s disability
  • Request information about the nature of a student’s disability

Faculty have the responsibility to:

  • Provide timely accommodations and academic modifications to qualified students
  • Respect students’ confidentiality in matters related to their eligibility for, and use of accommodations
  • Hold students with disabilities to the same academic standards as those without disabilities
  • Work with the Disability Center when appropriate to ensure accommodations can be provided
  • Understand university policies and laws related to providing access to students with disabilities

Respecting students’ confidentiality

By treating information about students with disabilities as confidential, you will help ensure that students are not singled out on the basis of disability.

Individuals with disabilities can be subject to discrimination.  By treating information about students with disabilities as confidential, faculty will help ensure that students are not singled out on the basis of disability.  Below are guidelines to ensure that information regarding students with disabilities is kept confidential:

  • Use information that a student shares regarding their eligibility for accommodations only and specifically for that purpose.
  • Refrain from discussing a student’s disability status and accommodations among others who do not have an “educational need to know.”
  • Do not assume that students with disabilities are aware of other students’ disability status. Send separate emails to students so that they are not privy to other students’ information.
  • At no time should a student’s disability status be shared with other students in the class.
  • All conversations regarding implementation of accommodations or issues pertaining to the student’s disability should be done privately. Make yourself available by email, during office hours or by appointment. Requesting specific information about a student’s disability is inappropriate, as is requesting documentation from a medical provider. Should a student try to give you disability related documentation (other than the Accommodation Notification Letter), decline to read or accept it. Refer the student to the Disability Center, the office which has responsibility for maintaining records related to students’ accommodations.

All information about students’ eligibility for accommodations is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).