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From the College of Natural Sciences

Supporting our Students with Disabilities or Disadvantages

​Dean Goldbart and other college leaders in diversity and inclusion, undergraduate education, and graduate education reminded College of Natural Sciences faculty about what students may be needing right now.

As we begin to settle into a new routine of online teaching and we become more comfortable interacting with each other in virtual classrooms, we write to remind you of the importance of being mindful of our students who confront additional challenges. For many undergraduate students with disabilities, the online environment and isolation from classmates can make it especially difficult to keep up with course demands and to fully participate in online activities. Graduate students who have had to pause their research are dealing with additional stress. Accommodations that have worked well in the classroom or laboratory may not be as effective in online classes, and the disruptions in routine may exacerbate anxiety and stress. Online instruction may require additional accommodations to ensure equitable access. We ask you to be patient as our students adjust, temper your expectations appropriately, and be creative in making additional accommodations wherever needed. But most of all, we ask that you continue to be kind and let the students know you care about their well-being as well as their academic success.

The online university also increases the impact of socio-economic inequities. Students may be competing for limited computer access and bandwidth with working parents and with siblings who are also students. Let's all work together to keep the University a level field by providing opportunities for students to learn in diverse ways.

Please know that we continue to be enormously grateful for how hard everyone has worked to allow students to continue their education. This has undoubtedly increased your stress levels as well. We gently encourage you to take a moment to do something you enjoy, accept that a class may not go as well as you planned and, as always, let us know if we can help.


Shelley Payne 
David Vanden Bout 
Dan Knopf
Paul M. Goldbart 

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Tuesday, 09 August 2022

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