Information for Faculty 

If you have questions about any student please call the DSS office at 925-969-2182.


Since its inception in 1974, DVC's Disability Support Services (DSS) has grown to serve over 1,500 students with disabilities per year. The purpose of this page is to teach you  about the needs of these students and our collective responsibilities relative to them. In addition, this page serves as a resource to increase your knowledge of DSS services.

The Law

Post-secondary institutions must ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to educational programs. Federal law states that "No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States...shall, solely, by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." The more recent Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 extends federal civil rights protection. It prohibits excluding people from jobs, services, activities or benefits based on disability. 

Working Together

Educational accommodations will vary because each student with a disability will have a different level and style of learning - even within the same disability category. The information in this page is intended to facilitate interaction between you and your student.


All information about a student’s disability is confidential. Thus, faculty should discuss student requests for accommodations in a private space and time, such as during office hours. Faculty should not inquire about a student’s medical condition or have discussions in public.

Faculty can contact the DSS office with questions about the accommodations approved for an individual student or to arrange services such as testing or note taking.

Syllabus statement

For online courses:

Many students are unaware of the benefits available through Disability Support Services. Instructors can help them by explaining the types of accommodations typically offered (such as extended testing time and note taking assistance) and by referring interested students. The best time is the start of the semester, and a syllabus statement is one good method. Consider entering something such as:

“Students who require accommodations due to a specific disability, such as extended time for online tests or captions of live lectures, should request these services through the Disability Support Services (DSS) office. This also applies to assistance with note taking, alternative formats for written materials, adaptive equipment, and other supports or accommodations.

Instructors are only authorized to provide accommodations authorized by the DSS office.

If you have questions, please contact the Disability Support Services office via telephone at 925-969-2185 or see the DSS website.”

For in person courses:

"Students who require extended testing time, assistance with note taking, alternative formats for course materials, or other accommodations due to a specific disability should request these services through the Disability Support Services (DSS) office.

Instructors are only authorized to provide accommodations authorized by the DSS office.

If you have questions, please see your instructor. For more information related to Disability Support Services, you may visit the DSS office in the Student Services Center (SSC-248), contact them via telephone at 925-969-2185, or view DSS webpage.

Description of disabilities:

Other informational links

Referring a student for DSS services

Please follow these guidelines:

  • If a student has a disability and needs to access services, refer the student to the DSS office to arrange an appointment with a DSS counselor.
  • If you suspect students have a disability but they have not informed you they receive DSS services, discuss with them privately the difficulties you notice they are having in class. Offer DSS as one of several support services on campus, including tutoring, office hours, EOPS, and counseling. If the students express an interest in DSS or identifies themself as having a disability, please refer them to DSS.
  • It is likely that there are students in your classroom who need accommodations but who have not told you about their needs. Should you approach the students to discuss their need for services, please be sensitive to the fact that they may either be reluctant to discuss their problems, or they may have difficulty explaining them to you.
  • If you feel reluctant or unsure of how to bring the subject up with the student, we would be happy to discuss this with you. It may be good practice to announce early on in each term that our program exists. We would be happy to provide you with brochures to hand out to interested students.

Testing accommodations 

Students with disabilities that affect manual dexterity, vision, processing speed or perception may be allowed extra time to complete tests. DSS administers exams in the Student Services Center, Room SSC-248, to the instructor's specifications. At the San Ramon campus, testing is conducted in room W148.

Procedure for online testing accommodations

  • Student registers with the DSS office
  • The DSS student requests services through an online form at least 48 working hours prior to an exam
  • DSS staff notifies the instructor of time extensions or other accommodations via email
  • Instructor adjusts time in Canvas or arranges for zoom proctoring by DSS staff 

Procedure for in person testing accommodations

  • Student registers with the DSS office  
  • Approximately one week before each test date, the student will schedule an exam appointment through the DSS Digital Proctor Form, which is located on the DSS Canvas page.
  • Requests submitted less than two school days prior to a test may be denied by the instructor and/or DSS staff if insufficient time exists for accommodations.
  • Once DSS schedules the exam, PHC instructors receive an email from with directions on how to complete the form. SRC instructors will receive a fillable PDF from the SRC DSS office.
  • The Instructor completes the digital proctor form (PHC) or the fillable PDF (SRC). Exam delivery options are:
    • PHC instructors can upload a copy of the exam directly on the digital proctor form (the form will allow up to two uploads)
    • Instructor Drop Off - Bring exam to:
      • PHC office SSC-248 or
      • SRC office W118
    • Emailed Exams - Email the exam to:  
      • Ron Tenty: (PHC) or
      • Irene Swain: (SRC)
  • The student takes the test under supervision of DSS staff.
  • Exam is returned to the instructor via one of the delivery options below:
    • Instructor Pick Up- The exam will be secured at the DSS Testing office until picked up by the instructor.
    • Division Office Mailbox- DSS Staff will deliver the exam to the instructor's Division Office mailbox.
    • Campus Mail- DSS Staff will deliver the exam to the PHC campus mail room.
    • DSS can scan and email exams by the end of the week. 

Note Taking

  • Student registers with DSS office
  • Student requests note taking services for specific course(s)
  • Request is filled in one of several ways:
      • DSS staff contact instructor to request assistance in locating a note taker
      • DSS staff email students in the course to recruit a volunteer
      • DSS staff place another student who is not enrolled in the course as a sit in note taker
      • DSS student borrows a smart pen, tape recorder, or other product to record lectures. The instructor will be notified of this within 2 weeks.

*** These same procedures apply in online courses, even those without synchronous lectures. DSS students do request note takers in these classes, and DSS has a legal and ethical obligation to seek them. If your class does not include lectures, please mention this when responding to DSS staff.

Alternate Media

  • Student registers with DSS office
  • Student requests alternate media (books/materials in digital e-text or Braille) for a specific course
  • Request is filled in one of two ways:
      • Student brings books/handouts to DSS staff for conversion
      • DSS staff contact instructors for copies of materials (e.g. tests, Canvas uploads)

*** These same procedures apply in online courses.

Other Notifications

Generally, DSS does not notify instructors that a student with a disability has enrolled in their course. This information is confidential and protected under federal privacy laws. Instructors will receive notification when:

  • The student requests a specific accommodation (e.g. extended testing time, shared notes, etc.)
  • The student is deaf or hard of hearing and will be using a captioner or ASL interpreter in class
  • The student is blind or has low vision and will require materials in alternate formats
  • The student has a mobility limit that requires the use of a DSS desk or other adaptive furniture

Providing Accommodations not Authorized by DSS

Please do not offer the student accommodations or modifications beyond those that are authorized by the DSS office. This practice places the college at risk of complaints and even lawsuits.  Disability law requires colleges to provide accommodations in a consistent manner.  In other words, our criteria for a student having notes in an otherwise closed-book examination, or double time, should be consistent.  Such accommodations should be based upon the functional limitations of the disability, as well as consistent with accommodations we have provided in the past for students with similar or the same disabilities.  Additionally, it is incumbent on the college to keep records of accommodations administered to individual students with disabilities.  We cannot fulfill this obligation if instructors are providing accommodations not approved by DSS.  If a student asks you directly for an accommodation, such as more time, notes, etc., the best practice is for you to refer the student to a DSS counselor.