Disability Accommodation

Disability-Related Accommodations

The College requires every student to complete a series of courses in a world language. If a student believes that completing such a requirement presents a significant obstacle due to a qualifying disability, the student is encouraged to submit a request for reasonable accommodations through the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC). SDAC staff will review the student’s documentation and use an interactive process to determine eligibility and assist the student in implementing reasonable accommodations in the academic setting. Students are encouraged to log into the SDAC Portal to send out accommodation letters to their faculty at the beginning of every semester. Please see the SDAC website for more information on procedures and guidelines related to disability-related accommodations.

SDAC staff are available to assist students throughout the intake and eligibility process. Any questions should be referred to SDAC:

Email: sdac@virginia.edu
Phone: (434) 243-5180
Fax: (434) 243-5188

Student Health & Wellness
550 Brandon Avenue
P.O. Box 800760
Charlottesville VA 22908-0760

World Language Disability Accommodation

Upon the recommendation of the Student Disability Access Center (SDAC), the College of Arts and Sciences provides reasonable accommodations for students diagnosed with a disability which impacts their ability to learn a world language. In order to meet the needs of these students, the College faculty passed the following legislation at its February 1984 meeting:

Students who are diagnosed by approved services, either before or after their admission to the University, as having specific learning disabilities may petition the Dean of the College to receive such accommodation within the structure of required courses in world language as in the view of the department concerned is feasible and appropriate. If an accommodation proves unworkable, the Dean of the College, on the department’s recommendation, may authorize the substitution of other courses dealing (in English) with the culture or literature of a non-English speaking people or with the history or description of language. For every semester of required world language not taken the student will be required to pass an authorized substitute course.

Therefore, a student experiencing exceptional difficulty in a world language class should:

1. Consult immediately with the appropriate World Language Coordinator or world language office

2. Apply for Services through SDAC

  • Students may initiate the intake and eligibility process by applying for services online. Students may contact SDAC if they have questions:  SDAC@virginia.edu or (434) 243-5180.
  • Provide appropriate documentation of qualifying disability. SDAC provides documentation guidelines which may be helpful to students and their clinical providers. In the absence of appropriate documentation, SDAC staff will counsel the student regarding next steps. Often, this may result in the student undergoing neuropsychological testing in order to establish a diagnosis. SDAC will refer the student to approved testing agencies both within the University and the community. The student bears the cost of such testing.

3. Request accommodation

  • Once the student has completed the intake and eligibility process, SDAC will recommend accommodations in the world language classroom (e.g., extended time in class tests, de-emphasized oral or aural components, extra tutorial assistance).
  • Students are expected to submit the accommodation request to both their instructor and the world language coordinator. The coordinator will notify the student's Association Dean in writing of these accommodations. Ideally, accommodations should be in place prior to enrolling in the course.

4. Continue in a course with accommodations

Students must enroll in a world language course and put in a “good faith effort” at succeeding, including using any approved accommodations. This means going to class regularly, doing all homework, meeting with the professor during office hours, etc. 

After six weeks, students meet with their world language coordinator to discuss their progress during this “good faith effort” period. There may be several outcomes:

  • A student is doing adequately well with accommodations. They can continue and earn credit for that course, progressing towards fulfilling the World Language Requirement. 
  • A student has not demonstrated a "good faith effort." They are not engaged in the course – either not attending class regularly, missing homework assignments, or failing to engage in support offered through office hours. In this case, a student would not be recommended for a course modification. 
  • Despite accommodations and maximum effort, the department finds that continuing in the language is unworkable for the student. In such a case, the coordinator may recommend in writing to the student’s Association Dean that the World Language Requirement be modified.

5. Modify the requirement:

  • Upon receipt of a recommendation from the world language coordinator and SDAC, the student’s Association Dean may authorize the modification of the requirement to the student in writing. Students will be notified of this via email and a meeting will be requested with the Association Dean. 
  • After approval of the language modification, students currently enrolled in a World Language course may request to have the course grading option changed to CR/NC (Credit/No Credit). This request must be made in writing to the student’s Association Dean within two business days after approval of the language modification. If the course is completed with a grade of CR, it will count toward the World Language requirement. (This is a one-time exception granted only during the semester of modification; all other General Education classes must be taken on the "graded" basis.) Students who have received a language modification are also advised to consider the option of withdrawal from the course before the withdrawal deadline. 
  • For the semester in which the requirement is modified, if the student remains enrolled in the language course with the “graded” option and receives an F, the failing grade will be converted to NC. If the student receives a passing letter grade, that grade will remain on the transcript and will not be converted to CR or NC retroactively.
  • In addition, if a student is granted the world language modification, a failing grade received in the semester when the student was referred to SDAC for testing, or the student with a prior diagnosis identified him/herself to SDAC, will be converted to NC. 

6. Select Substitute courses

Upon modification, the student will be required to take the appropriate number of substitute courses to fulfill the World Language Requirement. Substitute courses must be three or more credits and must be taken for a grade; performance classes cannot be counted. Only the student's Association Dean can approve substitute classes. As specified in the faculty legislation, these substitute courses should:

  • Form a cohesive cluster focused on one language area, either continuing the work begun in the language class or choosing a new area.
  • Deal, in English, with the culture or literature of a non-English speaking people, or with the history or description of language.
  • Be drawn primarily from:
    • Literature in English translation courses (course mnemonic ending with "TR": e.g., CHTR, FRTR, GETR, ITTR, JPTR, PETR, RUTR, etc.);
    • Anthropology, History, Religion, Art History or anher department courses that deal exclusively with a specific non-English speaking country or culture.

The student must obtain their Association Dean's  approval for each substitute course PRIOR to enrolling in the course. Substitute courses may not be applied toward majors or minors or toward any general education requirements, except the Second Writing Requirement. All substitute courses must be taken for a grade.

[Approved December 10, 1997; Modified Ocotober 25, 2022]