Academic Accommodation is a required adaptation or alteration to the physical and/or instructional environment aimed at providing equitable access to education by lowering barriers for students with documented disabilities. These may include, but are not limited to, the provision of alternate formats and methods of communication, the use of adaptive technology, and adaptations to the examination environment and/or mode of instructional delivery.
Equitable access is provided through academic accommodations by adapting the condition, manner, or duration in which students perform an academic task or tasks. The emphasis is on access, not outcome or success. For example, a student might receive an accommodation but still fail a course if essential course requirements/learning outcomes are not demonstrated to the level required. Academic accommodation should not result in a lowering of academic standards.
Academic accommodations lower barriers by adapting:
Academic accommodations are determined by CAL Instructors based on a confidential review of written medical documentation which confirms a student's disability along with detailed information about its functional impact. A diagnosis alone is not sufficient to support a request for an academic accommodation. The documentation must be current (within 5 years) and must come from a certified health care professional who has expertise in the diagnosis of the condition(s) for which the accommodation(s) and/or service(s) are being requested. Academic accommodations determined by CAL instructors have a logical relationship to student disability barriers/functional impacts. The review of medical documentation and determining academic accommodations at Camosun College aligns with best practice within Canadian post secondary professional accessibility services and with legal expectations and case law.
The decision to disclose disability-related information by a student, is personal and confidential.
In May 2020 Camosun implemented the Academic Accommodation for Students with a Disability Policy. The policy articulates the college's commitments to:
Disability is a protected characteristic under the Human Rights Code. Discrimination is prohibited by the Code and encompasses any adverse treatment of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a protected characteristic. The code is quasi-constitutional and as such trumps all other policies, procedures, collective agreements and laws.
When considering treatment of a student with a disability the College is expected by statute and evolving case law to:
When considered this way, fairness may not mean treating everyone the same.
Disability issues are complex, and require flexibility and creativity in response. What works for one student may not be appropriate for another and what works in one course may not work in another. Academic accommodations are therefore determined on a individualized, course-by-course, term-by-term basis. Course instructors and departments play an important role in this dynamic and consultative process guided by key concepts, key content and some limitations.