At the University of Washington, it is the policy and practice to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.  In the College of the Environment, all students have the right to an environment that maximizes their learning.  To the extent possible, it is crucial that all students have access to the full range of learning experiences.  If students are not able to fully participate due to a disability, specific accommodations to provide alternate and equal experiences should be the goal.

Roles and responsibilities of instructional team

Instructors and graduate teaching assistants of all courses taught in the College are strongly encouraged to disclose all physical and attention-related requirements of their course so that all students are aware of the demands of full participation. Even obvious components, such as attending a large lecture, or taking written notes, can be challenging-to-impossible for students with particular types of disabilities. To assist in this process, the College of the Environment has assembled a list of course components that may require accommodation depending on the type and severity of a student’s disability (see below). The college encourages instructors to copy the relevant components directly into course syllabi to ensure all students are fully aware of the full participation requirements.

Instructors are also encouraged to be aware of the full range of disabilities students in their classroom may have that would limit full participation. Disabilities may include but not be limited to: mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts. More information on particular disabilities can be found at Student Disability Services at Johns Hopkins University. 

All course personnel, including but not limited to: instructors, graduate and peer teaching assistants, and laboratory coordinators, are required to maintain strict confidence of any disabilities disclosed to them by students.

In the event that a student has not already contacted Disability Resources for Students (DRS) to establish accommodation, the instructor may suggest this to the student, and may require the student to work with DRS if the requested accommodation is beyond the ability of the instructor to provide.

Roles and responsibilities of students

All students are encouraged to make their instructors aware that they need disability accommodation and also to work with DRS to establish reasonable accommodations for course work. Possible accommodations include accessible furniture in classrooms, alternative print formats, alternative testing services, assistive listening devices, classroom relocations, early/priority registration, note-taking services, real-time captioning, and sign language interpreters.   More information on DRS services and accommodations can be found at UW DRS.

Students who have already established accommodations with DRS should provide their letter of accommodation to each instructor in the first week of the course if not before, to assist the instructor(s) in creating accommodations, and to inform and guide a discussion of options if needed.

Students who have not established accommodations with DRS and feel that they have a disability that will interfere with full participation should contact DRS to discuss accommodation options and consider discussing the need for accommodation with the instructor as soon as possible.

Course components that may require accommodation

Course Component Example of Requirement(s)
Field Trip physical conditioning and the ability to make daily hikes of one to three miles in terrain with several hundred feet of relief; the ability to spend 4 hours on a ship at sea to collect data; includes standing for extended periods of time and climbing stairs while the ship is moving; ship’s motion may cause seasickness
Lecture the ability to attend bi-weekly lectures of 75 minutes with approximately 50 other students; the ability to complete weekly in-class quizzes of 5-10 questions
Discussion the ability to participate in weekly, 75-minute discussion sections that include group discussions and in-class written assignments; the ability to give a 10-15 minute presentation to a class of 20-30 students
Lab the ability to participate in weekly 3-hour lab sessions that include using computers, group discussions and written assignments; the ability to stand for extended periods of time, engage in repetitive motion activities, and manipulate lab equipment (pipettes, glassware, microscopes, etc); the ability to use computer programs and modeling software to complete in-lab assignments
Assignments the ability to conduct 1-hour local field observations and write/type 1-page summaries; the ability to complete weekly assigned computer programming-based exercises; the ability to complete a survey and a 3-5 page summary of the research on a chosen topic
Cross-cutting component: all types of courses the ability to work in teams of 3-5 to complete group assignments.

Last modified: April 2018

Dean's Office Contact: