Course Substitution Policy for Students with Disabilities

General Curriculum

Course requirements for degrees granted by Butler University are designed to provide a comprehensive education in both general liberal arts and in the student’s major field of study. In awarding a degree, Butler University is recognizing the satisfactory completion of a set of courses it deems representative of the academic standards it upholds. In addition, all admitted students are regarded as “otherwise qualified” to participate in any program of academic study with or without reasonable accommodations. Therefore, students with disabilities are not excused from degree requirements.

However, in some limited circumstances, substitution of a course requirement may be determined to be a reasonable and appropriate accommodation for a student with a properly documented disability. An accommodation of this nature is considered only when it has been confirmed that the student’s disability makes completion of the requirement impossible. Consideration of a course substitution is done on a case-by-case basis. Course waivers are not typically granted.

Gaining approval for a course substitution is often a lengthy process. Therefore, it is recommended that the student initiate the request early in the academic career. In most cases, it will be necessary for the student to have declared a major before the request can be considered. This will allow a determination to be made as to whether or not the requested course substitution represents a fundamental alteration in the chosen field of study. The University retains the right to revoke a substitution in the event that the student changes majors and the substituted course is found to be essential to the newly declared major field of study. In addition, it is difficult to guarantee a course substitution to a student who is not yet enrolled in the University.

The final decision regarding a course substitution will rest with the dean of the student’s college except when the request involves a core requirement. In the case of a core requirement, the final decision will be made by the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In the event that the student has declared a double major, the final authority regarding the course substitution rests with the dean of the college whose course requirement is in question.

A student with a disability who would like to request a course substitution as a reasonable accommodation should:

  1. Submit the appropriate written documentation verifying a disability that substantially limits the skills required for the successful completion of the required course. Please refer to the University Documentation Guidelines for information as to what constitutes appropriate written documentation. The documentation should be submitted to the office of Student Disability Services in Jordan Hall Room 136.
  2. Complete a Course Substitution Petition and write a statement describing difficulties encountered in past attempts to perform successfully within the subject area. The student should explain how the disability has impacted these attempts. If attempts were made to complete the requirement in a course offered at Butler University, the professor’s comments may be a valuable contribution to the petition decision. Comments might include the professor’s observations about the student’s efforts in the course, whether or not the student made use of the professor’s office hours, and any accommodations that may have been utilized. This statement should be submitted to the Director of Student Disability Services in Jordan Hall Room 136.
  3. Give written permission for the Director of Student Disability Services to share relevant disability related information with appropriate faculty/staff members as part of the decision-making process.

A committee consisting of no less than three but not more than five members of the university community will then review the student’s request. Committee members will include but are not limited to: representatives of the dean’s office, of the department of the course in question, of the students college and the director of Student Disability Services. Other individuals relevant to the requirement may also be included. The committee will be convened by the director of Student Disability Services.

A statement outlining the findings of the committee and suggesting course substitution alternatives, if applicable, will be directed to relevant faculty/staff. This generally includes the student’s academic advisor, the director of Student Disability Services, the dean of the college of the student’s major(s), and if applicable, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The student will be notified in writing by the dean’s office of the final decision. Written notification will be issued within thirty days of the committee meeting. If the petition is not felt to be a reasonable accommodation and as a result, is denied, the student has the right to appeal the decision by following the grievance procedures that are available through the Office of Student Disability Services.

Specific Guidelines: Foreign Language Substitution

A student must follow the general procedure required to request a course substitution. If the substitution is approved, the suggested foreign language substitution is: four 3-credit courses (6 credits of which must be on the 200 level or higher) focusing on the culture of countries other than the United States. Culture is defined broadly, so the courses can deal with history, literature, politics, religion, music, etc. as long as the subject matter deals with non-English speaking countries.

The choice of the courses is suggested by the student. However, core courses which are being used to fulfill the core requirement CANNOT also count as foreign language substitution courses. Similarly, courses taken for the major or minor CANNOT also be used as foreign language substitution courses.

Each individual course taken as a substitution must be approved by the department chair of Modern Foreign Languages. Therefore, each semester the student should make an appointment with the department head to discuss the appropriateness of each course before enrolling in it.

Contact SDS for information on the process for submitting paperwork for each approved substitution course.

If you have any questions please contact:

Student Disability Services
Jordan Hall, Room 136
4600 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208

Phone: 317-940-9308
Fax: 317-940-9036