SPED 500 01: Introduction to Visual Impairment

SPED 500 - Introduction to Visual Impairment

2023 Fall Syllabus, Section 01, CRN 15302

Course Information

You are responsible for knowing this material, so please read carefully. Any changes will be announced in a Blackboard Announcement. You will be responsible for any changes. Your continued enrollment in this course is your implicit agreement to abide by the requirements of this class.

Times and Location

Online – asynchronous

Instructor Information

Dr. Renae Bjorg

Email: renae.bjorg@und.edu

2023 Fall Office Hours:
Tuesday 11:00-2:00 or by appointment. If you would like to schedule an appointment to meet (via phone, audiovisual, or in-person conferences) simply contact the instructor via email. When emailing to schedule an appointment, list several dates and times that you are available.

Office Phone: 701-777-6760

Course Description

A course which provides an overview of the field of visual impairment to include the following areas of emphases: History/Philosophy; Service-delivery models; medical, psychological and educational implications of partial vision or total blindness; curricula methods and materials; current issues/trends.

Key Assessment 

The UbD Lesson Plan is a Key Assessments you will be required to complete as part of our accreditation assessment system The purpose of the Key Assessments are two-fold:  to measure your progress as an educator in meeting CAEP educator standards and to measure the effectiveness of UND’s educator preparation program More specific information will be provided by your instructor about the requirements and expectations for Key Assessments in Bb. Note: Your UBD Lesson Plan must be submitted in Watermark. Students who fail to submit the UBD Lesson Plan in Watermark will receive an Incomplete for the course. Only students seeking Initial Licensure will submit their UBD Lesson Plan in Watermark. 

Course Objectives

By the end of this course the student will be able to: 

Learning Development and Individual Differences 

Develop an understanding of the visual system and how a visual impairment will affect a child’s development, learning, cultural experiences, and cultural identity (ICSI.1.K1, ICSI.1.K2, ICSI.1.K3, ICSI.1.K8, ICSI.1.K9, ICSI.1.K10, ICSI.1.K11, ICSI.1.K12, ICSI.1.K13, BVI.1.K2, BVI.1.K3, BVI.1.K4, BVI.1.K5, BVI.1.K6, BVI.1.S1, BVI.1.S2, BVI.1.S3, CEC Standard 1, InTASC Standard 1, InTASC Standard 2)

Learning Environment 

Understand classroom organization to accommodate materials, equipment, and technology and to create safe, inclusive and culturally responsive learning environments (ICSI.2.K1, ICSI.2.K5, BVI.2.K1, BVI.2.K2, ICSI.2.K8, ICSI.2.K10, CEC Standard 2)

Curricular Content Knowledge 

Identify and prioritize areas of general education curriculum and accommodations, and sequence, implement, and evaluate learning objectives based on the expanded core for individuals with visual impairments (ICSI.3.K1, ICSI.3.K2, ICSI.3.K3, BVI.3.K1, ICSI.3.S1, ICSI.3.S2, BVI.3.S1, CEC Standard 3, CAEP Standard 1, InTASC Standard 4)


Understand the assessment process and how assessment and data collection are used in making educational decisions (ICSI.4.K1, ICSI.4.K2, ICSI.4.K3, ICSI.4.K4, ICSI.4.K5, BVI.4.K1, BVI.4.K2, CEC Standard 4)

Instructional Planning and Strategies 

Prepare a lesson plan utilizing evidence-based practices, resources, and strategies for characteristics specific to individuals with a visual impairment that respond to cultural, and linguistic needs. (ICSI.5.K1, ICSI.5.K2, BVI.5.K1, BVI.5.K3, BVI.5.K5, BVI.5.K6, BVI.5.K7, BVI.5.K8,  BVI.5.K9, BVI.5.K10, BVI.5.K11, ICSI.5.S4, ICSI.5.S6, ICSI.5.S8, ICSI.5.S13, CEC Standard 5, InTASC Standard 8)

Professional Learning and Professional Practice  

Understand historical foundations of education of individuals with visual impairments, and ethical standards and practices as a continuum of lifelong development to inform special education and advance the profession (ICSI.6.K1, ICSI.6.K5, ICSI.6.K6, ICSI.6.K12, ICSI.6.K13, BVI.6.K1, BVI.6.K2, BVI.6.K3, BVI.7.K2, CEC Standard 6, CEC Standard 7) 

Course Materials

Required Reading

Holbrook, M. C., Kamei-Hannan, C., & McCarthy, T. (Eds.) (2017). Foundations of education, volume II instructional strategies for teaching children and youths with visual impairments (3rd. Ed.) New York, NY. AFB Press. ISBN: 780891 286967

Recommended Reading

(Although the books listed below are not required, they are excellent resources.): 

Allman, C. B., & Lewis, Sandra (Eds.) (2014). ECC Essentials: Teaching the expanded core curriculum to students with visual impairments. New York: AFB Press.  

Diversity & visual impairment: The influence of race, gender, religion, and ethnicity on the individual. New York, NY: AFB Press

Milan, M., & Erin, J. (Eds) (Supplemental Materials: The Lessons (in Blackboard) contain various readings, websites, and videos.

Ordering your textbook 

Textbooks are available through the University of North Dakota Bookstore 

Directions for ordering a textbook are in the announcements section of Blackboard. A free virtual copy is available through the UND Chester Fritz Library. I recommend the hard copy as a valuable resource for your professional library. It is an excellent textbook! 

Technical Requirements/Assistance

Whether you’re taking courses in the classroom or online, it’s important to have the right technology and equipment.  Visit the UND Technical Requirements webpage for more information. Students are expected to use their official UND email in the course. For technical assistance, please contact UND Technical Support at 701.777.2222. Visit the University Information Technologies (UIT) website for their hours, help documents and other resources.

Minimum Technical Skills Needed

In order to succeed in this course, at a minimum, you should be able to:

Insert minimum requirements expected and needed. In the bulleted example list below

  • Navigate in and use basic Blackboard functions
  • Download and open electronic documents
  • Create, save, and upload/attach electronic documents
  • Send, receive, and manage email

Course Logistics


This course is set up by lessons. Each lesson has a “To Do List” that describes what you need to do for the lesson. The specific directions for each assignment are located in each lesson. You will need to upload your assignments in the lesson where the assignment is located. These will go directly to the Blackboard gradebook where I will be notified that they are ready for grading. A list of the major assignments and rubrics are located below. 



Discussion Board 10 points each

These are located in Lessons 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, and 14. These discussions will be based on specific articles or videos that will be assigned in addition to your normal readings. Do not wait until the last minute to post your responses. In order to receive full credit, your initial response is required by 8:00 am Central Time on Thursday of the week it is due. Responses must be to at least three other students in the course and are due by 8:00 a.m. Central Time on Monday of the following week.

1-3 Points 4-6 Points 7-10 Points

-Minimal response to the questions

-Are rudimentary and superficial, there is no evidence of insight or analysis

-Contributes no new ideas, connections, or applications

-Posting responds to the questions but does not stimulate further class discussion

-Are generally competent, but the actual information seems thin and commonplace

-Makes limited connections

-Contains few ideas or applications

-Posting fully addresses the questions and stimulates at least one substantial follow-up questions

-Deliver information that is full of thought, insight, analysis 

-Make connections to previous or current content or to real-life situations 

-Contain rich and fully developed new ideas, connections or applications


Is White White? Reflection Paper10

This paper is designed for you to carefully consider your thoughts or feelings about cultural identity after reading the assigned documents and viewing the video clips.

The links to these documents and video clips are in Blackboard.

  Exemplary 2 pts. Proficient 1 pt. Not Met 0 pt.
Introduction Clearly states the purpose of the paper. Write a thesis statement.

Implies but does not clearly state the purpose of the paper.

Thesis statement is not included.

Does not state the purpose of the paper.
Body Tells a story. Includes aspects from the point of view of child, adult, parent. Contains at least 3 paragraphs. Partially tells a story. Includes aspects from one or two points of view. Contains 2 paragraphs. Does not tell a story or include points of view of child, adult, parent. Contains less than 2 paragraphs.
Conclusion Summarizes ideas and experiences. Draws conclusions and makes connections to future plans. Summarizes ideas and experiences. Does not draw conclusions to future plans. Does not contain a summary or draw conclusions.
Organization Uses APA format. Includes elements that are attention getting; uses effective transitions; reflective conclusions Uses APA format. Includes some elements of attention getting; uses some effective transitions; draws some reflective conclusions. Does not use APA format. Does not include organizational elements.

Uses people first language. Uses articulate and appropriate language, sophisticated word choice, and sentence structure.

0-1 errors in: grammar, punctuation, mechanics

Uses people first language. Uses appropriate language, word choice, sentence structure.  

2-3 errors in: grammar, punctuation, mechanics

Uses slang and unsophisticated word choice.

4 or more errors in grammar, punctuation, mechanics.

Total Points /10      


Interview Assignment10

Interview a teacher of students with visual impairments or a vision rehabilitation therapist who has been practicing in the field for at least three years. Interviews (conversations) may be conducted by phone or in person. Components to be found in the scoring rubric below. 

  Exemplary 2 pts. Proficient 1 pt. Not Met 0 pt.

Description of the Interviewee

Includes all of the following elements: 1) name of the interviewee; 2) name of the school & grade level; 3) discusses the interviewee’s background information and interest in the field and 4) years of service in the field.

Includes 3 of the following elements: 1) name of the interviewee; 2) name of the school & grade level; 3) discusses the interviewee’s background information and interest in the field and 4) years of service in the field.

Includes 2 or less of the following elements: 1) name of the interviewee; 2) name of the school & grade level; 3) discusses the interviewee’s background information and interest in the field and 4) years of service in the field. 

Rewarding/Challenging Aspects

Clearly describes the most rewarding aspects of the position, and the most challenging aspects of the position. Uses examples to support statements. 

Partially describes the most rewarding aspects of the position, and the most challenging aspects of the position. Uses some examples to support statements.

Does not address the most rewarding or most challenging aspects of the position. Does not use examples to support statements.  

Time Management in relation to the readings

Given all of the responsibilities of a TSVI laid out in the readings, discusses how the interviewee manages his or her time efficiently. Identifies responsibilities the interviewee feels are the most important and why they are most important. 

Given all of the responsibilities of the TSVI laid out in the reading, partially discusses how the interviewee manages his or time effectively. Partially identifies responsibilities the interviewee feels are the most important and why they are most important. 

Does not address how the interviewee manages his or her time effectively; does not identify responsibilities the interviewee feels are the most important and why they are the most important. 


Thoroughly discusses strategies the interviewee uses to collaborate with other professionals/team members. 

Identifies strategies the interviewee uses to collaborate with other professionals/team members but does not discuss how these strategies are used.

Dose not discuss strategies used to collaborate with other professionals/team members. 


Uses people first language. Uses articulate and appropriate language, sophisticated word choice, and sentence structure.  

0-1 errors in: grammar, punctuation, mechanics 

Uses people first language. Uses appropriate language, word choice, sentence structure. 

2-3 errors in: grammar, punctuation, mechanics

Uses slang and unsophisticated word choice.

4 or more errors in grammar, punctuation, mechanics. 

Total Points /10      

Tactile Graphic Assignment10

Design a tactile graphic that depicts either a social studies concept or a science concept. The tactile graphic should be developed for a student or client who is blind and has no residual vision.

  • Name of graphic with orientation (top view, bottom view) (1 point)
  • Targeted age/grade level (1 point)
  • Legend/Key (2 points)
  • Clarity of Meaning (spacing, labels lines, point symbols areal patterns) (3 points)
  • Feedback from individual who is blind or blindfolded (3 points)

Career Education Assignment10

For this assignment, you may choose from the options below or develop your own assignment based on your interest. 


  1. Choose an age-range (preschool, elementary, middle school, or high school) and develop a career education activity. 
  2. Interview an adult with a visual impairment who is working successfully. Develop a set of interview questions related to the person’s career and report the findings.
  3. Interview a Vision Rehabilitation Specialist about what skills they feel are important in high school students who are blind or visually impaired.
  4. Interview a college level disability support services employee who works with students who have a visual impairment.
  5. Interview a college student who is visually impaired about the challenges they have experienced and overcome in their post-secondary program.


Assessment Quiz10

The quiz addresses information on assessment from the assigned readings. There are 10 questions. Do not use resources during the quiz. 

Lesson Plan

Art Education10

Develop a lesson plan to teach one activity within the art realm. Teach the activity/skill to a student or client who has a visual impairment.  

  • Description of student/client, including eye condition and cultural background (2 points)
  • Activity/skill/materials (2 point)
  • Objectives (2 points)
  • Procedures (steps that you used to teach the activity or skill) (2 points)
  • Evaluation – (what went well/what would you do differently) (2 points)

Independent Living Skills10

Develop a lesson plan to teach one independent living activity or independent living skill. Teach the activity/skill to a student or client who has a visual impairment.

  • Description of student/client (2 points)
  • Activity/skill/materials (2 points)
  • Objectives (2 points)
  • Procedures (steps that you used to teach the activity or skill) (2 points)
  • Evaluation (2 points)

Final Project20

Students will develop a lesson plan using the Understanding by Design template found in the Lesson 16 folder in Blackboard. Select one of the lesson plans you submitted previously, in this course, or develop a new plan. Develop this lesson further to meet the criteria in each area (descriptive data; contextual factors; stage one – desired results; stage two – assessment evidence; stage three – learning plan for unit; stage four – lesson plan; post teaching analysis and reflection. Address each of the sections in the rubric completely and fully. Use professional writing.

This lesson plan is a Key Assessment. After your lesson plan has been scored, you will upload it into Watermark Via.

Course Grading

Percentage Letter Grade
100-92% A
91.9%-84% B
83.9%-76% C
75.9%-68% D
67.9% and below F

Schedule of Topics and Assignments

Week of Reading(s): Agenda/Topic: Due:
8/21 Chapter II – Historical Perspectives
Additional Resources provided in the folder. 
Review Blackboard
Review Syllabus
Historical Perspective
National Agenda
Expanded Core Curriculum
CEC Standards: BVI.1.K4 BVI.1.K5 BVI.1.K6 BVI.2.K2 ICSI.3.K1 ICSI.3.K2 ICSI.3.K3 BVI.3.K1 ICSI.6.K1 ICSI.6.K3 ICSI.6.K12 ICSI.6.K13 BVI.6.K1 BVI.6.K2
Watch the “Encounter” video clips 
Post your mini-biography & a short reflection of the “encounter” video clips on the discussion board 
Initial posts due Thursday 8:00 am, follow post due before Monday 8:00 am CT
8/28 Read Chapter 8: Diversity & Its Implications (handout). Diversity
Watch video clips re: albinism
Complete Is White White? Reflection Paper
9/4 Download & read “People First Language” Visual Impairment Definition
Incidence & Prevalence
Cultural issues: Native American/Multicultural Diversity
CEC Standards: ICSI.1.K9 BVI.1.K5 BVI.6.K3
Watch Audio PowerPoint.
Complete case study: Is WhiteWhite?
9/11 Growth & Development/Impact of Visual Impairment
CEC Standards: ICSI.1.K1 ICSI.1.K2 ICSI.1.K3 ICSI.1.K8 ICSI.1.K10 ICSI.1.K12 ICSI.1.K13 BVI.1.K1 BVI.1.K3 BVI.1.K4 ICSI.2K1
Watch Audio PowerPoint.
Post answers to questions on Discussion Board 
Initial posts due Thursday 8:00 am, follow post due before Monday 8:00 am CT
9/18 Chapter 1
Appendix C
Appendix D
Download & read the following document: What is a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist?
Creating & Nurturing Effective Educational Teams
CEC Standards: BVI.1.S2 ICSI.5.K1
Watch Audio PowerPoint.
Complete Interview Assignment.
9/25 Chapter 2
Download & read the following document: “Test Access”
CEC Standards: ICSI.2.K1 BVI.3.K1 ICSI.3.S1 ICSI.3.S2 BVI.3.S1 BVI.4.K1 BVI.4.K2 ICSI.4.K1 ICSI.4.K2 ICSI.4.K3 ICSI.4.K4 ICSI.4.K5 BVI.4.S2 BVI.4.S3
Watch Audio PowerPoint
Take Quiz
10/2 Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Download & read the following documents: “Effective Classroom Adaptations for Students with Visual Impairments” & "Accommodations & Modifications at a Glance"
Basic Techniques for Modifying Instruction
Planning Instruction in Unique Skills
CEC Standards: BVI.1.S1 BVI.1.S2 BVI.1.S3 ICSI.2.K1 BVI.2.K1 ICSI.5.K2 BVI.5.K3 ICSI.5.S13
Watch Audio PowerPoint 
Post answers to questions on Discussion Board
Initial posts due Thursday 8:00 am, follow post due before Monday 8:00 am CT
10/9 Chapter 12
Download & read “The Braille Literacy Crisis in America” (this is in audio format as well).
Literacy Skills
CEC: Standards: BVI.1.S1 BVI.5.K1 BVI.5.K4 BVI.5.K10 BVI.5.K11 BVI.5.S8
Peruse the three literacy websites located under the lesson.
Complete a web search to determine the Braille law for your state/country.
Post answers to questions on Discussion Board
Initial posts due Thursday 8:00 am, follow post due before Monday 8:00 am CT
10/16 Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Social Studies & Science
CEC Standards: BVI.1.S1 BVI.5.K1
Watch “Tactile Graphics Touching on the Basics” presentation.
Watch Life Science webcasts.
Peruse one of the Perkins Scout websites.
Design a tactile graphic.
Post answers to questions on Discussion Board
Initial posts due Thursday 8:00 am, follow post due before Monday 8:00 am CT
10/23 Chapter 15 Mathematics
CEC Standards: BVI.1.S1 BVI.5.K1
Peruse the Teaching Mathematics to Visually Impaired website. Specifically look at the Project Math Access link.
Look through the APH math resources site
Post answers to questions on Discussion Board 
Initial posts due Thursday 8:00 am, follow post due before Monday 8:00 am CT
10/30 Chapter 16 Art Education
CEC Standards: BVI.1.S1 BVI.5.K1 ICSI.5.S8
Watch What’s Possible? Video clip.
Watch How Museums Use Touch video clip.
Look through Art Ideas & Tactual Art links.
Complete Art Education Lesson Plan 
11/6 Chapter 17
Chapter 20
Chapter 23
Physical Education & Health/ Recreation & Leisure Skills
CEC Standards: BVI.1.S1 ICSI.2.K1 BVI.5.K1 BVI.5.K5 BVI.5.K9
Watch O&M lesson.
Watch Physical Education & Recreation for the Visually Impaired video clips.
Post answers to questions on Discussion Board
Initial posts due Thursday 8:00 am, follow post due before Monday 8:00 am CT
11/13 Chapter 21
Read Parent Guidebook
Independent Living Skills
CEC Standards: BVI.1.S1 ICSI.2.K1 BVI.5.K6 ICSI.5.S4 ICSI.5.S6 ICSI.5.S8
Watch a webcast on mealtime skills.
Watch video clips on Blindness Tips.
Complete Independent Living Skills Lesson Plan Assignment.
11/20 Chapter 22 Social Skills
CEC Standards: ICSI.1.K11 BVI.1.K5 BVI.1.K6 BVI.1.S1 ICSI.2.K5 BVI.5.K6
Watch a webcast on social skills for children & youth with visual impairments.
Watch Standing Tall video clip.
Look at social interaction skills curricula & resources link.
Post answers to questions on Discussion Board.
Initial posts due Thursday 8:00 am, follow post due before Monday 8:00 am CT
11/27 Chapter 24 Career Education
UBD Lesson Plan
CEC Standards: ICSI.1.K11 BVI.1.S1 BVI.2.K2 BVI.5.K7 BVI.5.K8 ICSI.5.S8
Career Education Assignment.
UBD Lesson Plan
12/4 CEC Standards: BVI.1.K2 BVI.1.K3 BVI.1.K4 BVI.1.K5 BVI.1.K6 BVI.1.S1 BVI.1.S2 BVI.1.S3 ICSI.3.K2 BVI.3.K1 BVI.3.S1 ICSI.5.K1 BVI.5.K1 BVI.6.K1 BVI.7.K1 BVI.7.K2 Final Project

Course Policies


Participation is highly valued. Please submit assignments on time unless you make special arrangements with me prior to the date that the assignment is due. If you do not contact me, one point per day will be deducted for late assignments. Should you need an extension to complete an assignment, email me your proposed plan of action with specific dates that you will be submitting your work. If you complete work after the due date, it is your responsibility to communicate that it has been completed. I understand that there are times when emergencies occur in our personal and professional lives. Generally, unless there is a pattern of submitting late work, an extension will be granted as long as special arrangements have been made in advance, and a proposed plan of action to submit the work is in place. 

Incomplete Grades

It is expected that students will complete all requirements for a course during the time frame of the course. For reasons beyond a student’s control, and upon request by the student or on behalf of the student, an incomplete grade may be assigned by the instructor when there is reasonable certainty the student will successfully complete the course without retaking it. The mark “I,” Incomplete, will be assigned only to the student who has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work up to a time within four weeks of the close of the semester, including the examination period, and whose work is incomplete for reasons satisfactory to his or her instructor.  (See “Grading System” in the UND 2020-21 Catalog)

College/Department Policies

Policies for Students in Educator Preparation Programs


The Council of Accreditation for Educator Preparation (CAEP) requires the university to monitor the academic progress and dispositions of every student enrolled in a program leading to an education license or credential.  Dispositions refer to a student’s actions and behaviors in terms of professionalism, ethics and human relations. Should a concern arise about a student’s progress or dispositions, faculty, instructors and/or cooperating teachers may request a one-on-one meeting with the teacher candidate or advanced student to discuss areas of strength or concerns.  Written documentation of this conference may be included in the student’s permanent file.  Specific procedures are delineated on the form, Professional Dispositions for UND Teacher Education.   

Essential Abilities Requirements

Essential abilities are academic performance requirements that refer to those physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the educator preparation curriculum and the development of personal attributes required for professional licensure. The candidate must possess or be able to gain these abilities with or without reasonable accommodation. The essential abilities required by the curriculum are reflected by competencies in the following areas: communication, intellectual, behavioral, social, motor, and sensory (Handbook for Teacher Education).

Reasonable accommodations will be afforded to education candidates with disabilities as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Students who can no longer perform the essential functions of education candidates must report that to the Associate Dean of Student Services and Assessment and suggest any accommodations that they think will enable them to perform as education candidates.  The Associate Dean will then determine if the suggested accommodations are reasonable or if there are any other reasonable accommodations that can be made.  If accommodations cannot be made, the student may not be able to complete their educational program. 

University of North Dakota Policies & Resources

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a serious matter, and any deviations from appropriate behavior will be dealt with strongly. At the discretion of the professor, situations of concern may be dealt with as a scholastic matter or a disciplinary matter.

As a scholastic matter, the professor has the discretion to determine appropriate penalties for the student’s workload or grade, but the situation may be resolved without involving many individuals. An alternative is to treat the situation as a disciplinary matter, which can result in suspension from the University, or have lesser penalties. Be aware that I view this as a very serious matter and will have little tolerance and/or sympathy for questionable practices. A student who attempts to obtain credit for work that is not their own (whether that be on a paper, quiz, homework assignment, exam, etc.) will likely receive a failing grade for that item of work, and at the professor’s discretion, may also receive a failing grade in the course. For more information read the Code of Student Life.

Access and Opportunity, Disability Support, & Medical Services

The University of North Dakota is committed to providing equal access to students with documented disabilities. To ensure access to this class and your program, please contact Disability Services for Students (DSS) to engage in a confidential discussion about accommodations for the classroom and clinical settings. Accommodations are not provided retroactively. Students are encouraged to register with DSS at the start of their program. More information can be obtained by email UND.dss@UND.edu or by phone at 701.777.2664.


UND is committed to maintaining a safe learning environment while providing quality learning experiences for our students. COVID-19’s continued presence within our UND community may necessitate changes in classroom management as the academic year progresses. As such, UND asks students and instructors to be flexible when necessary to promote a safe environment for learning. Please do not attend an in-person class or lab if you are feeling ill, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been directed by health professionals to quarantine or isolate. If you are not able to attend class or lab, please notify your instructor as soon as possible and discuss options for making up any missed work in order to ensure your ability to succeed in the course. If you will have an extended absence due to serious illness or other uncontrollable circumstances, you may request an absence notification through the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Similarly, if your instructor is ill they may need to cancel class or temporarily move your course to online delivery to ensure that you are able to complete the course successfully.  Instructors may require students to wear masks in the classroom or in the laboratory as a preventative measure designed to facilitate uninterrupted classroom engagement and to facilitate health and safety in the classroom.   If your instructor does require masks in class or in a laboratory, you are expected to comply with that request.

UND also strongly encourages all members of the University community, including students, to get vaccinated, seek out testing when needed, and model positive behavior both on- and off-campus to foster a healthy and safe learning environment for all students. Individuals who would like to discuss disability accommodations regarding masks should contact the Disability Services for Students (DSS) office at 701.777.2664 or UND.dss@UND.edu. Individuals who are unable to wear a mask due to a sincerely held religious belief should contact the UND Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at 701.777.4171 or UND.EO.TitleIX@UND.edu.

Religious Accommodations

UND offers religious accommodations, which are reasonable changes in the academic environment that enable a student to practice or observe a sincerely held religious belief without undue hardship on the University. Examples include time for prayer or the ability to attend religious events or observe a religious holiday. To request an accommodation, complete the student religious accommodation request form. If you have any questions, you may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office.

Pregnancy Accommodations

Students who need assistance with academic adjustments related to pregnancy or childbirth may contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or Academic Affairs to learn about your options. Additional information and services may be found at Pregnancy Resources.

Notice of Nondiscrimination

It is the policy of the University of North Dakota that no person shall be discriminated against because of race, religion, age, color, gender, disability, national origin, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, veteran’s status, or political belief or affiliation and the equal opportunity and access to facilities shall be available to all. Concerns regarding Title IX, Title VI, Title VII, ADA, and Section 504 may be addressed to Donna Smith, Assistant Vice President for Equal Opportunity & Title IX and Title IX/ADA Coordinator, 102 Twamley Hall, 701.777.4171, UND.EO.TitleIX@UND.edu or the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Dept. of Education, 230 S. Dearborn St., 37th Floor, Chicago, IL 60604 or any other federal agency.

Reporting of Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

If you or a friend has experienced sexual misconduct, such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, please contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office or UND’s Title IX Coordinator, Donna Smith, for assistance: 701.777.4171; donna.smith@UND.edu; or visit the Title IX webpage. You may also contact the Equal Opportunity & Title IX office if you or a friend has experienced discrimination or harassment based on a protected class, such as race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, pregnancy, marital or parental status, veteran's status, or political belief or affiliation.

Faculty Reporting Obligations Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, or Sexual Misconduct

It is important for students to understand that faculty are required to share with UND’s Title IX Coordinator any incidents of sexual misconduct or of discrimination or harassment based on a protected class that they become aware of, even if those incidents occurred in the past or are disclosed as part of a class assignment. This does not mean an investigation will occur if the student does not want that, but it does allow UND to provide resources to help the student continue to be successful at UND. If you have been impacted by discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, you can find information about confidential support services on the Equal Opportunity & Title IX webpage..

UND Cares Program

How to Seek Help When in Distress

We know that while college is a wonderful time for most students, however, some students may struggle or have issues that arise. You may experience students in distress on campus, in your classroom, in your home, and within residence halls. Distressed students may initially seek assistance from faculty, staff members, their parents, and other students. In addition to the support we can provide to each other, there are also professional support services available to students through the Dean of Students and University Counseling Center. Both staffs are available to consult with you about getting help or providing a friend with the help that he or she may need. For more additional information, please visit the UND Cares Program Webpage.

How to Recognize When a Student is in Distress

The term “distressed” can mean any of the following:

  • Student has significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities.
  • Student has cut off or minimized contact with family or friends.
  • Student has significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular, or social activities.
  • Student describes problems (missing class, not remembering, destructive behavior) that result from experiences with drinking or drugs.
  • Student is acting withdrawn, volatile, tearful, etc.
  • Student is acting out of character or different than usual.
  • Student is talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide.
  • Student has difficulty concentrating or difficulty carrying on a normal conversation.
  • Student has excessive dependence on others for company or support.
  • Student reports feeling out of control of one’s emotions, thoughts, or behaviors.

Land Acknowledgement Statement

Today, the University of North Dakota rests on the ancestral lands of the Pembina and Red Lake Bands of Ojibwe and the Dakota Oyate - presently existing as composite parts of the Red Lake, Turtle Mountain, White Earth Bands, and the Dakota Tribes of Minnesota and North Dakota. We acknowledge the people who resided here for generations and recognize that the spirit of the Ojibwe and Oyate people permeate this land. As a university community, we will continue to build upon our relations with the First Nations of the State of North Dakota - the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Nation, Spirit Lake Nation, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians.

Additional Resources

It is my goal to foster an environment of mutual respect in which everyone feels comfortable voicing their opinions, sharing their stories, and learning about potentially heavy or personally relevant material. If, at any point, you feel like the information covered in this class elicits thoughts, feelings, or concerns that you would like to discuss further, don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or the UND Counseling Center (701-777-2127).

Further, if you experience extenuating circumstances, sexual violence, identity-based harm, or any other personal crisis during the semester, don’t hesitate to reach out to me so we can provide academic assistance and help you in this course, and put you in contact with the appropriate resources and services (if needed).