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About Us: Policies

Accommodations

Academic adjustments (accommodations) provide equal opportunity for students with disabilities. They are determined, on a case by case basis, by the Director of Disability Services after review of medical documentation. 

Requests that alter the academic standards of the course/program are not granted. Accommodations must be requested in a timely manner.  Students registered with Disability Services must request accommodations for specific courses at least 2 weeks prior to the course start date.

Confidentiality

Students with disabilities have the right to confidentiality and are protected under FERPA and other civil rights laws.  All communication related to disability should be private communication between instructor and student, instructor and Disability Services staff, or instructor and supervisor.  Such communication should be on a need-to-know basis, and should be about the accommodation process, not the disability itself.  A student’s disability or accommodation should never be discussed with other students, or referred to in any way on discussion boards or group communication venues.

Disability documentation

It is the student’s responsibility to provide documentation of disability from a licensed professional along with other application materials.  Ideally documentation will meet the following criteria:

  • Generated by an approved expert in the specific area of disability
  • Sufficiently comprehensive, identifying the testing mechanisms, procedures and findings, and the recommended accommodations
  • Sufficiently recent, typically generated within the last 3 years, to provide an accurate representation of the current disability and its impact on academic endeavors.
  • If the initial documentation does not provide enough information to determine the extent of the disability and reasonable accommodations, the disability services director has the discretion to require additional documentation.  Students are responsible for the costs related to obtaining documentation.
  • A student who is unable to provide professional documentation of disability but believes there is disability-related justification for accommodations is encouraged to contact Disability Services staff to discuss options

Allow 30 days, after submission of all materials, for Disability Services staff to evaluate your application and reply.

Extra time on assignments

Students who have been approved to receive extra time as an accommodation are instructed to send an email to disability@waldenu.edu at least two weeks prior to the course start date with a list of upcoming courses. 

Based on that specific emailed request from the student, instructors are notified.  Instructors are not obligated to provide the accommodation unless they receive an official notice from the disability services email account prior to the course start date. 

Grievances

It is the policy of Walden University not to discriminate on the basis of disability.  Walden University has adopted an internal grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794).  Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The Law and Regulations may be examined in the office of Carolyn Roney, Director of Disability Services, disability@waldenu, who has been designated to coordinate the efforts of Walden University to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504.

Any person who believes she or he has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability may file a grievance under this procedure. It is against the law for Walden University to retaliate against anyone who files a grievance or cooperates in the investigation of a grievance.

Procedure:

  • Grievances must be submitted to the Section 504 Coordinator within 30 days of the date the person filing the grievance becomes aware of the alleged discriminatory action.
  • A complaint must be in writing, containing the name and address of the person filing it. The complaint must state the problem or action alleged to be discriminatory and the remedy or relief sought.
  • The Section 504 Coordinator (or her/his designee) shall conduct an investigation of the complaint. This investigation may be informal, but it must be thorough, affording all interested persons an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to the complaint. The Section 504 Coordinator will maintain the files and records of Walden University relating to such grievances.
  • The Section 504 Coordinator will issue a written decision on the grievance no later than 30 days after its filing unless more time is needed.  In cases where more time is needed, a written update of progress and actions taken will be provided no later than 30 days after its filing.
  • The person filing the grievance may appeal the decision of the Section 504 Coordinator by writing to the Dean/Executive Director of Student Affairs within 15 days of receiving the Section 504 Coordinator’s decision.  The Dean/Executive Director of Student Affairs  shall issue a written decision in response to the appeal no later than 30 days after its filing.
  • The availability and use of this grievance procedure does not prevent a person from filing a complaint of discrimination on the basis of disability with the U. S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights.

Walden University will make appropriate arrangements to ensure that disabled persons are provided other accommodations, if needed, to participate in this grievance process. Such arrangements may include, but are not limited to, providing interpreters for the deaf, providing taped cassettes of material for the blind, or assuring a barrier-free location for the proceedings. The Section 504 Coordinator will be responsible for such arrangements.

Implementing accommodations each term

Students are responsible for contacting Disability Services prior to each new term to initiate implementation of accommodations.

Faculty are only notified of a student’s accommodation if they have an “educational need to know.”

Instructor notification

When faculty members are asked to implement an approved accommodation, they receive official notice from Disability Services.  Faculty are not to provide accommodations for disability unless there is an official request received via the Disability Services email account certifying the student is qualified and describing the parameters of the accommodations. 

Faculty are encouraged to make additional recommendations for adjustments if they believe the student will benefit.

Intake procedure

In Walden University’s online environment, the intake procedure for Disability Services is:

  • Submission of Walden’s Accommodation Request form, along with documentation of disability, by the student.
  • Review of those materials by the Disability Services Director,
  • Exchange of emails between Disability Services and the student clarifying any unanswered questions and
  • Formal confirmation of approved accommodations via email from the Director of Disability Services to the student’s Walden email account.

Students are welcome to request a telephone appointment with the Disability Services Director to provide additional information or ask for clarification of processes at any time.

Using the documentation of disability provided by the student, the Director of Disability Services determines the most appropriate accommodations.

Students receive confirmation of approved accommodations, with instructions for initiating accommodations each term, in the form of an email sent from disability@waldenu.edu.

Students who disagree with the approved accommodations may ask for a review of their application and provide additional information at any time.  However, only confirmed approved accommodations will be provided during the review period.

Walden University is not obligated to provide accommodations until the application process has been completed and accommodations have been officially approved.  Students are encouraged to begin the process early to ensure accommodations are approved prior to beginning coursework.

Interim services

Some students struggle to provide documentation of disability in time to implement accommodations because of delays involving the medical provider’s practices.   If the Director of Disability Services determines, through an initial intake screening, that there is strong evidence of a disability, interim services may be provided while assessment and documentation is obtained. Records are reviewed at the beginning of the subsequent term and services are discontinued if documentation is incomplete or does not meet eligibility requirements for the university.

Legal framework

There is no one law or set of rules and regulations that determines policies and procedures for providing services to individuals with disabilities in American higher education; there are two primary acts, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990.  These acts, in addition to best practices for the industry as continually reviewed and improved with leadership from The Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), inform Walden University’s Disability Services.

Registering with Disability Services

In post-secondary education, it is the student’s responsibility to self-identify disability status and register with Disability Services prior to requesting accommodations.

To register with Disability Services, submit documentation of disability along with Walden University’s Accommodation Request form to Disability Services.

Substitution & waivers

No program requirements will be waived.

In very rare circumstances, substitution of a specific undergraduate general education required course (never a program required course) may be considered as an accommodation.  Students requesting such consideration must provide medical documentation justifying the need for such a substitution and procure agreement from their program’s chief academic officer confirming the content of the substituted course meets the nature and intent of the course for which it is being substituted.

Syllabus statement

Each course syllabus should contain a Reasonable Accommodation statement.  Faculty are encouraged to highlight it for their students early in the term and clarify their own expectations for notification of accommodations.

Temporary medical conditions

Walden’s online courses are designed to allow students ample time to complete assignments even during times of illness or injury.  However, some medical conditions may result in temporary impairment and may require leniency for a limited amount of time. These conditions do not include routine health issues, which should be manageable without any leniency because of the built-in flexibility of Walden’s online courses. Further, not all medical conditions meet eligibility requirements for registration with Disability Services. Though not considered a qualifying disability, some medical conditions which are transitory (lasting less than six months) or are minor may be considered sufficient enough to require leniency and may include surgery, accidents, severe illness, or any other significant medical condition that temporarily impairs regular attendance, academic performance, or certain major life activities. 

See Walden’s Request for Leniency procedure below to address temporary medical conditions. If students feel that they have experienced a temporary impairment that has impacted their ability to meet an assignment deadline or that has had major impact on their performance in a course, they may request that their instructor(s) consider offering them extra time. The instructor determines if any delay in submission is acceptable, whether or not explained by a medical issue. While the duration of the temporary impairment may be a factor, it is not the only factor in determining whether granting short term leniency on deadlines or more extensive accommodations through Disability Services is appropriate.  If a student is unsure whether or not he or she may have a qualifying disability, he or she should contact Disability Services to determine whether an accommodation is available.  

 

Request for Leniency Process:

Each situation under this policy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Faculty will not solicit medical documentation from students but may ask that claims of medical or related sensitive issues impacting a student’s ability to meet deadlines are verified by the university. If so, students should submit medical documentation to medicaldocumentation@waldenu.edu with a request for an e-mail verifying receipt of the documentation. Students are to include their name, student ID, course name and full course number, and name of the instructor. Faculty receiving unsolicited medical documentation from students are asked to avoid reading it and refer students to the above policy. E-mail attachments with medical documentation should be forwarded to medicaldocumentation@waldenu.edu with originals retained to avoid mishandling of medical documentation. Do not send medical documentation directly to faculty.  If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact Disability Services.

Texts in an alternate format

Students who have been approved to receive texts in an alternate format are instructed to send an email to disability@waldenu.edu at least four weeks prior to the course start date with a list of upcoming courses.

Requests received with less than four weeks notice will be honored but will be addressed as time allows; and therefore, related materials may not be available by course start date.  Students are responsible for obtaining their course materials by the course start date.

Copyright laws require students to purchase their own hard copy of those materials provided to them in an alternate format by the university. 

Record retention

Disability Services staff will purge student disability files annually and move files of graduated or inactive students to archived status.  Files will be archived for 5 years from the graduation or dismissal date and then destroyed. 

Students may ask for files to be reactivated if re-enrolled within five years. 

Students returning to the university after a 5 year absence will be required to re-register with Disability Services and provide updated documentation.

Residency accommodations

Students who have been approved to receive special services and/or equipment are instructed to send an email to disability@waldenu.edu at least four weeks prior to the course start date with a list of upcoming residencies.

Requests received with less than four weeks notice will be honored but will be addressed as time allows; and as a result of late notice, requested services and/or equipment may not be available by your arrival date. 

Students are responsible for reserving their own rooms at residencies and negotiating specific room types (accessible rooms) with the hotel staff.