According to the Academic Catalog, “Requests for course substitutions…must contain specific justification for the request.” In some circumstances, a student with a disability may request a course substitution as an accommodation to remove a barrier to access. What follows is the process to request a course substitution. Students are recommended to submit requests as soon as they are aware that a course substitution may be necessary and at least one semester prior to the time that the student is expected to enroll in the course(s) under consideration.
1. The student completes the following form and submits necessary documentation of disability to support the request if the documentation is not already on file with the Access Office. In addition to documentation of disability, the student may be requested to provide transcripts (secondary and/or post-secondary) in order to gather information related to the request (e.g., previous attempts of a course).
2. Once the request and all requested supporting documentation is received, the review process will begin. The first level review will determine whether or not the student has a disability that impacts their ability to successfully complete the essential functions of a course despite the implementation of reasonable accommodations and a good faith effort. The first level review process may take up to 4 weeks because, in some cases, documentation will be sent to the Regents Center for Learning Disorders (RCLD) for review.
All requests for a core math substitution must be reviewed by the RCLD in accordance with USG Policy. For all other course substitution requests, documentation is reviewed based on the type of disability. For learning disorders (e.g., Learning Disabilities, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Acquired Brain Injury, and Psychological Disorders), the documentation will be sent to the RCLD. For disabilities that are physical, medical or sensory in nature, the documentation will be reviewed by the appropriate service provider in the Access Office.
3. If the documentation does not support the request for a course substitution, the student will be notified in writing to include the reasons for the decision so that the student has an opportunity to submit additional documentation if appropriate.
4. If the documentation supports the request for consideration of a course substitution, the Director of the Access Office will notify the student that the process is being moved to the second level review. The second level review is done to determine if the course substitution is reasonable given the specific course of study and, if so, what course(s) would be appropriate substitutions. This review may take an additional 4 weeks to convene a meeting of appropriate academic representatives.
In order to determine whether or not the course represents an essential component of the student’s major/program of study, the Director of the Access Office will convene a
meeting with the following individuals in addition to a representative from the Access Office:
* The Academic Department Head or designee of the course for which a substitution is requested (e.g., the Department Head for Mathematics for a mathematics course)
* The Academic Department Head or designee, such as the student’s Academic Advisor, of the student’s degree program
* A representative from the institution’s committee charged with providing oversight of the general education curriculum if the course is in the Core Curriculum
If the convened reviewers agree that the request is reasonable and a course substitution would not fundamentally alter the degree that the student is seeking, they will determine courses to be used for the substitution. Whenever possible, the recommended course(s) will facilitate the learning of information similar to the information that they would have received in the substituted course. For example, if a foreign language course was deemed required to expose students to information about another culture, the committee may recommend a cultural anthropology course.
5. After the convened committee has determined that a course substitution is a reasonable accommodation that would not fundamentally alter the degree program and has a recommendation for appropriate course substitutions to fulfill the requirement, the Access Office will notify the student and prepare a letter for the Academic Advisor and the Department Head of the student’s major department. The student and the members of the convened committee will be included on the correspondence.
In accordance with University Policy, “Requests for course substitutions or course waivers must contain specific justification for the request and must be approved by the student’s advisor, the head of the department and the dean of the school of the student’s major, and the Registrar. If the substitution or waiver involves a Core Curriculum course, approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs is also necessary. A ‘Request for Course Substitution/Waiver’ form, available in the major’s department, must be completed before approval is official.” The letter generated by the Access Office may be included as supporting documentation to accompany the Request for Course Substitution/Waiver form for final review by the Dean of the school, Registrar, and/or Vice President for Academic Affairs depending on the course being substituted.
* The approval of a petition for substitution does not waive the requirement.
* Students approved for a course substitution during the admission process will not automatically be approved for a course substitution for a core or other course. The substitution will need to be re-evaluated based on the student’s major/program of study.
* If the student changes major/program of study, the substitution may be re-evaluated.