Background & Overview for Faculty


Faculty are critical partners in providing access to their courses for all students, including disabled students. This page provides general information for faculty about disability accommodations in Western courses. The DAC is a resource for faculty as well as students; we welcome collaborating with you as we work toward full inclusion of disabled students in all Western courses.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • Accommodations allow a student to participate more fully in your course.
  • Students have the right to request accommodations at any point in the quarter. However, faculty are not responsible for retroactive accommodations.
  • Please respect student privacy. Students are not required to disclose the nature of their disabilities to faculty, classmates, or staff outside the DAC. The fact that a student has a disability and receives accommodations is information protected by the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

If you have questions regarding a specific student, contact the DAC staff member mentioned in the email notice of accommodation you received. Alternatively, you can contact the DAC by calling 360-650-3083 or sending us an email at

Students In Your Class

To review the specific accommodations a student needs to use in your class, either:

  • Login to the DAC Faculty Portal and review all accommodations applied to classes you teach (preferred) or
  • Check your email for a message sent from the DAC regarding a specific student. These emails are initiated by the student and are their first step in a student communicating to you about their access needs.

Disability accommodations align with Western’s values and are required by law

Western’s mission, values, and goals

At Western, we share a commitment to inclusive student success. Ensuring that our classes and services are accessible to disabled students is key to the university’s mission of making a positive impact on the state and world with a shared focus on academic excellence and inclusive achievement. Goals 3 and 4 of Western's strategic plan directly address accessibility.

Goal 3: Western will foster a caring and supportive environment where all members are respected and treated fairly.

  • Support student, staff, and faculty wellbeing, including physical health and wellness, mental health, and disability resources based on universal design.

Goal 4: Western will pursue justice and equity in its policies, practices, and impacts.

  • Western acknowledges that, as an institution, it has failed to meet the needs of people of many races, ethnicities, creeds, socioeconomic classes, gender identities, sexual orientations, and disability statuses. WWU will contribute to redressing these inequities by transforming policies, structures, and practices to ensure meaningful inclusion.

Applicable laws

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Washington law require schools to provide effective services and modify policies and practices so that qualified students with disabilities have equal access to all curricular and co-curricular opportunities.

Under applicable laws, the university is responsible for delineating an interactive process that allows students to self-identify as having a disability and determines appropriate individualized accommodations.

University Policy 1600.03 identifies the Disability Access Center (DAC) as the office responsible for facilitating the interactive process. DAC access managers meet with students and review primary, secondary, and tertiary documentation to determine whether a student has a disability.  

When a student has a disability, the access manager works with the student to determine disability-related barriers and which accommodations are necessary to afford the student equal access to their education and related services.  

The WWU/UFWW Collective Bargaining Agreement, in Section 13.1, outlines the faculty’s compliance responsibilities with respect to University Policy 1600.03 and implementation of the accommodations established by the DAC. Once DAC staff have determined the necessary accommodations required by law, we also serve as a resource to faculty in facilitating accommodations in their classes.

Want to learn more?

Check out the FAQ for Faculty