Academic Policy  1520.10 

Reasonable Accommodation and Course Substitution for Students with Disabilities

The University of Arkansas seeks to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in its educational programs. In keeping with this philosophy, it is University policy that students with documented disabilities receive reasonable accommodations when they request them in meeting program and course requirements.

The Center for Educational Access (CEA) serves as the central campus resource for students with disabilities covered by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Students who seek reasonable accommodation for their disabilities must first register and provide documentation to the CEA that meets its approved criteria. The CEA will determine what reasonable accommodations are consistent with each student’s disability and advise academic units regarding those accommodations. Such reasonable accommodation may include extended time for taking exams, a relatively distraction-free environment for testing, and various types of auxiliary aids and adaptive devices such as a reader or scribe or assistive technology. An official “accommodation letter” is then generated from the CEA that verifies those accommodations for which the student is eligible. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that this letter is provided to the faculty member in a timely way, and to contact the faculty member directly to make individualized arrangements for needed accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations for mathematics courses and foreign languages courses are typically provided consistent with the student’s good-faith effort to complete the course successfully, consistent with Fulbright college policy. Course substitution may be the appropriate reasonable accommodation in cases in which the student cannot be successful in the course with reasonable accommodation because of the functional limitations imposed by his or her condition and when an appropriate substitute course can be taken to meet course requirements.

Ultimately, the determination of whether course substitution is reasonable lies with the academic unit. While the University is committed to assisting students with disabilities to participate fully in academic programs, the University is not required to fundamentally alter any programs or activities, including academic programs of study. Faculty members are the recognized experts in their fields and are responsible for identifying and describing the essential elements of academic degree programs.

Course Substitution Request and Implementation Process

As needed, each college and school will identify courses for which substitutes may be offered and courses that may substitute. The request process for course substitution and implementation is stated below.

With the student’s concurrence, the CEA will forward a request for course substitution to the student’s academic dean for approval. For multidisciplinary programs housed in the Graduate School, the academic dean is the dean of the Graduate School.

The academic dean or his or her designee, following consultation with program faculty, will make a decision regarding the request. The dean will also be responsible for obtaining concurrence regarding the decision from the Graduate School for requests from graduate students.

For all students, the dean will be responsible for communicating to the student and the CEA in a timely way whether course substitution is allowed for the requested course and, if so, the course(s) that may be substituted and the process to be followed for implementing the substitution. The process for implementation will include formal notification to the department chairperson and the Registrar of the approved substitution.

Student appeals of the denial of course substitution requests must follow any college or school process that has been established for that purpose. If, at the conclusion of any appeals within the college or school, a student believes he or she has been denied a course substitution in violation of law or University policy, the student may follow the procedure described in Section III.C. of the University’s Section 504/ADA Grievance Procedures, available on the website of the University’s Center for Educational Access and the Office of Affirmative Action.

For other types of academic accommodations, students who believe they have been denied a requested accommodation in violation of law or University policy may pursue the procedure described in Section III.B. of the University’s Section 504/ADA Grievance Procedures, available on the website of the University’s Center for Educational Access and the Office of Affirmative Action.

The Section 504/ADA Grievance Procedures may also be utilized by students to address any other alleged discrimination / violations of law or University policy on the basis of disability.

Reformatted for Web October 2, 2014