Jack and Course Substitutions: A Case Study on Academic Advising

Date Updated


My name is Jack. I am a sophomore majoring in Travel/Tourism. I have a learning disability.

Access Issue

I have a one-semester foreign language requirement for my major. Because of my learning disability, I scored low on the Modern Language Aptitude Test and did not take a foreign language in high school. I requested a course substitution; however, the dean denied my request because the foreign language requirement is an integral part of the program. I enrolled in Spanish I as part of my regular course load for the quarter, but I decided to drop the course as my other classes began to suffer. I then petitioned to take the class during summer quarter. However, I soon realized it was a four-week summer session, which I thought would move too quickly for me to successfully complete the class.


My college advisor found a course entitled Introduction to Spanish Conversation Skills, given at a nearby community college. The class was eight weeks long and concentrated on introducing Spanish for everyday use. We proposed this option to the dean, and he was willing to grant me credit for this class. Under these circumstances, I successfully completed the foreign language requirement for my Travel/Tourism major.

This case study demonstrates the following:

  1. Alternatives other than course substitutions may be available for required courses.
  2. Academic advisors need to work closely with students who have disabilities to clearly understand their needs.
  3. Reduced course loads and the timing and pace of academic classes may be important factors to consider in advising some students who have disabilities.