Short Term:

  • Consider making your final exams optional, thereby allowing student grades to be based on work completed thus far or provide an alternative to a timed assessment

  • Consider any student requests for incompletes; this has been an unusual time, marked by upheaval and collective trauma

  • Consider allowing extensions on assignments or any work that remains outstanding without penalty for delays in submissions.

Long Term:

Course Construction & Inclusive Learning Styles environments

Faculty frequently face challenges in coordinating alternate and private exam spaces for students or determining whether a suggested accommodation, such as flexible attendance or participation is creating a fundamental alteration to one’s course. DSP would like to encourage faculty, as much as possible, to consider the accessibility of their classroom pedagogy under universal design. By creating accessible learning environments, faculty can minimize the need for DSP accommodations for many students. Here are some common examples of universal design in the classroom:

  • Multiple delivery methods that motivate and engage all learners (lecture, video, PowerPoint, recording of lectures, etc). These materials should be available to students in asynchronous formats and on accessible websites

  • Consider zoom for online participation & attendance even if classes are held in-person

  • Recording of lectures via Zoom or other modalities so that students not able to attend due to disability, access issues such as wifi or access to study space may watch video of lecture

  • Flexible curriculum that is accessible to all learners (assignments may have flexible deadlines or be completed in different ways to meet course learning objectives)

  • Assess student learning using multiple methods (consider take-home midterms or papers, in-class exams with different formats such as multiple choice, short answer, or essay, extended windows allowing for longer completion time of exams).

  • Allow students to turn in parts of a large project for feedback before the final project is due

  • Include examples that appeal to students with a variety of characteristics with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, and interest.

  • Regular, accessible, and effective interactions between students and the instructor. Outreach to students that are not participating/attending lectures or completing online work to check-in with them about the types of barriers they experience. 

  • Consider different alternatives for class projects. For example, a final project can be an 8 page research paper, an 8 page creative writing project, a video, a podcast or a photo essay. This can be individual or group work which is up to the student(s).  

  • Consider alternative assignments or methods of assessing a specific criterion objective such as attendance or participation. Would you allow a student to offer written short essays demonstrating engagement with the material instead of in-class participation or visiting office hours? Must participation be verbally audible, consider use of Slack messaging and keep in mind that i-clickers include timed features for responses and are generally not considered accessible as they do not allow for use of extended time accommodation.

  • Allowances may be granted, at the discretion of faculty,  pursuant to academic freedoms designated under UCOP guidelines.

The Future is Accessible

Annie Segarra, LGBT Latinx disability activist and ambulatory wheelchair user

Essential Elements of an Accessible Syllabus

Basic Information:

Course title, course number, number of credits, current year and term, meeting time and location, your name, location of your office and office phone number, email address, office hours, appointment times, information on teaching assistants, and a syllabus disability statement (sample accessibility statements included below).

Often, faculty choose to include accessibility statements at the end of the syllabus with other administrative protocols such as plagiarism statements, etc. However, DSP believes that including inclusivity statements at the end of the syllabus serves to stigmatize or create negative associations between disability and other procedural but valuable elements of a course syllabus. Shifting statements towards the end of the syllabus may also create the perception or suggestion that disability and access is an afterthought. Society has and continues to marginalize people with disabilities. Consider amplifying the voices of integration and equality by prioritizing the placement of statements of inclusion and access.


Classes, skills, and information required prior to enrolling in course. 

Course Objective:

Information to be covered, general themes, and course activities.

Learning Objectives:

A precise statement(s) linking subject matter and student performance. The objective includes competencies, skills, and knowledge students should acquire by the end of the course. 


Titles, authors, editions, and local book retailers. You should always attempt to order textbooks for which an accessible electronic format is available. For information on the available alternate format of a book, contact the publisher.

Course Schedule:

Supply a schedule of events; include discussion topics, exam dates, assignments, and readings to be completed for each day.

Additional Required Materials:

Any additional course material such as calculator or art supplies that the student has to buy to successfully complete the course. Information on such materials needs to be as detailed and specific as possible. In this time of online instruction, this should include necessary programs and applications, even if those resources are freely available.


Describe how you are going to calculate course grades and provide an explanation of what is required in order to receive a particular grade. If attendance and participation are to be tied to a grade for the course, consider the intended learning objectives for the course and explore the nexus to physically being present in class or participating audibly. It is important to be open to considering flexibility in meeting the course or learning objectives in a manner that does not penalize a student should their disabilities directly impact their ability to physically attend class or participate.

Course Policies:

Specify how you deal with tardiness, absences, late assignments, test/assignment make-ups, and academic misconduct.  Please be mindful of exceptions to policy that you have made for students who are dealing with family emergencies, deaths in the family, or who are participating in athletic programs,  etc. Please consider that the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, does not take kindly to blanket statements such as: “no make-ups will be allowed, maximum of “x” absences allowed per quarter, etc.

Accessibility statements may inform a student’s perception about accessibility in your course. These statements may impact the decision making-process in deciding whether to seek accommodations or ask for assistance. DSP has provided sample language for your consideration.

Example #1

Access and Accommodations: Please submit requests for accommodations often and early. It is never too late to apply for DSP accommodations – our bodies and circumstances are continuously changing. If you have any kind of disability, whether apparent or non-apparent, learning, emotional, physical, or cognitive you may be eligible to use formal accessibility services on campus. To arrange class-related accommodations, please contact DSP. DSP will initiate communication about accommodations with faculty. By making a plan through DSP, appropriate accommodations can be implemented without disclosing your specific condition or diagnosis to course instructors. 

Example #2

Access and Accommodations: UCSB welcomes students with disabilities into all of the University's educational programs. In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, a student with a disability must contact Disabled Students Program by applying online, provide documentation, and participate in an intake interview. If the documentation and interactive process supports your request for reasonable accommodations, DSP will provide you with a Letter of Accommodations. Please share this letter with your instructors. To begin this process, please complete the Registration form on the DSP website.

Example #3

Access and Accommodations: Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disabled Students Program (DSP), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience by sending an instructor letter through the DSP portal and submitting exam accommodations. If you have not yet established services through DSP, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DSP at 805.893.2668 or apply for our services. DSP offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, DSP, and instructors as needed.  It is the policy and practice of UCSB to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Example #4

Access and Accommodations: UCSB is committed to upholding and maintaining all aspects of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If you are a student with a disability and wish to request accommodations, please make sure that you submit an application to Disabled Students Program (DSP) and follow through with any specific requests for accommodations.  Because many accommodations require early planning, requests for accommodations should be made as soon as possible.  At UCSB we strive to make learning experiences as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience barriers based on disability or pregnancy, please contact the Disability Students Program as soon as possible.

Example #5

Access and Accommodations: If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to register with Disabled Students Program (DSP) and provide them with documentation of your disability. They will work with you to determine what accommodations are appropriate for your situation. To avoid any delay, you should contact DSP as soon as possible. Please note that accommodations are not retroactive and disability accommodations cannot be provided until an instructor letter has been sent to me and requests have been submitted via the portal system. Please contact DSP for more information.

As a Gaucho, you pay many fees each quarter that fund a multitude of resources designed to make your life easier, more fun, and provide you aid during difficult times. The following are a few that you should be aware of:

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce your ability to participate in daily activities. CAPS is available to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing.  You can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus.  They can be reached by phone at 805.893.4411, or online at The CAPS building is the pink building next to the Humanities and Social Science building (HSSB)

Food insecurity: includes the Cal Fresh Program and the Associated Students food bank

Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (RCSGD) in the SRB, offers a host of services for LGBTQI+ students including a library and many events throughout the year.

Dream Scholars/Undocumented Student Services Program offers workshops, helps students find scholarships and financial support as well as providing community for our undocumented students.

Campus Learning Assistance Services (CLAS) helps students grow academically by offering workshops, walk-in and pre-scheduled tutoring, and writing help both for native and non-native (ESL) English as a second language speakers. Over 50% of students will stop by CLAS at one time or another.

Student Resource Building (SRB) houses many campus resources offices, including the African Diasporic Cultural resource Center, the American Indian Resource Center, the Asian Resource Center, the Middle Eastern Resource Center, the Non-Traditional and Re-Entry Student Resource Center. 

Multicultural Center (MCC), located in UCEN, hosts a wide variety of cultural events and educational programming throughout the year, including film showings, lectures, musical performances, and more:

Campus Advocacy, Resources, & Education (CARE) offers 24/7 confidential support and advocacy in situations of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking. Located in the SRB, they can be reached at 805.893.4613 or 

Financial Crisis Response Team: If you are experiencing issues of housing insecurity contact the Financial Crisis Response Team at to begin application for assistance.

Health and Wellness: Student well-being is integral to academic success, student development, and life satisfaction.  On this website, students will find links to a range of services related to well-being such as: assistance with basic needs (food, housing, finances); counseling and physical health resources, daily wellness centers and programs; social connection, and personal safety.

If you are a student with a disability (or would qualify as a student with a disability) who will be significantly affected by traumatic course content such as (specific reading/video/blog) or words (imagery/tone/situations) please contact the course instructor and DSP as soon as possible. To contact DSP please email the DSP specialist assigned to work with you or apply for services at: "”

Further Resources:

Source: Chumash Acknowledgement Protocols

The University campus is located on Indigenous land, and it is important that staff, students, and faculty understand the significance of observing protocols in recognizing the traditional custodians of the land at university events and ceremonies. It demonstrates the respect the university has for the Chumash people, the history and culture of the community, and all Native Americans as America’s First Peoples.

Examples for Acknowledgment of Country:

  • Before I commence I wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this place and all land upon which the University is located, and pay my respects to the Chumash Elders past, present and future for they hold the memories,the traditions, and the culture of this area, which has become a place of learning for people from all over the world.
  • I would like to pay my respect and acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which this (meeting/ ceremony/ event/ etc.) takes place –the Chumash people. We understand the importance of recognizing this area’s rich history and culture, both past and present, as well as the significance of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA Native American peoples’ place in the learning and research activities of this university.

*Vetted and approved by Mia Lopez, Chairperson of Coastal Band of the Chumash Nations