Digital Accessibility and OSAS Testing Center

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you had a good summer and I look forward to seeing you on campus soon.

As you are aware, USC is committed to supporting its students with disabilities, and faculty routinely do this through the provision of academic accommodations. I am writing to provide you with two updates on our institutional approach to accommodations.

First, improving technologies impact the way we meet our Digital Accessibility obligations. Digital Accessibility refers to how we make courses accessible for students who may not be able to see materials or hear course content, or who may not use a keyboard or mouse in a typical manner. These students rely on Assistive Technologies such as screen reading software to access course materials.

When a student uses Assistive Technologies, the Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS) can usually secure digital versions of textbooks, articles, and novels from the publisher without any additional work from the faculty member; however, other course materials, such as faculty-created lecture slides and assignments, must be individually remediated. In these cases, the faculty member’s knowledge and direction is needed.

If you have a student with a disability who needs accessible course materials, OSAS will likely ask for a conversation to discuss the technologies the student uses, the nature of your course materials, and the academic requirements of your course. Any remediation plan will be guided by the discipline, the type of materials, and the technologies the student uses. I want to stress you are not required to change your course requirements or lower your expectations. Faculty determine course content, learning objectives, and discipline-appropriate pedagogical approaches. While faculty are expected to reasonably cooperate to make materials accessible, you can also expect support from OSAS, your department, and your school.

For the second matter, I am pleased to provide you with an update on the services offered by the OSAS Testing Center. Historically, UPC faculty in most programs have been responsible for providing extended time exams for their students with 150% extra time accommodations. After much collaborative work between The Office of the Provost, USC Libraries, and OSAS, I am pleased to announce that for those programs currently using the Testing Center, OSAS will also provide services for 150% extended time exams. This change will allow for a more consistent exam experience for our students with disabilities and a simpler exam administration process for most of our faculty.

If you have any questions about Digital Accessibility accommodations, please reach out to Dr. Debbie Jih, Senior Director of OSAS at If you would like to learn more about Digital Accessibility in the classroom, you may reach out for additional support to the Center for Excellence in Teaching or to the Office of Institutional Accessibility. If you have any questions about the OSAS Testing Center, you may contact Ayda Shahi, Testing Center Director, at

Providing appropriate access to our students with disabilities is a shared responsibility, and I thank you for your partnership.


Andrew Guzman

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

cc: Academic Deans