Academic Disruption and Considerations

What are academic disruptions?

Emergent and often unexpected disruptions to learning can be difficult for students to process while maintaining their academic focus.  Students who do not qualify for mandated accommodations for these disruptions and who need short-term academic flexibility can request assistance from Engineering Advising.  These temporary disruptions may include acute illness (common cold and the flu), family emergency, death in the family, personal crisis, and concern for unsettling world events.

What are Academic Considerations?

Academic Considerations is the process in which Engineering Advising immediately responds and assists students who are experiencing a short-term extenuating circumstance and academic disruption. The Academic Considerations process involves an advisor in Engineering Advising sending out a general notification to a student’s instructors on the students behalf notifying them that the student is experiencing an extenuating circumstance and to consider offering flexibility if appropriate. This general notification serves as a pathway for students to connect with their instructors to find possible flexible academic options.

What is the difference between Academic Considerations and Accommodations through Student Disability Services (SDS)?

Academic Considerations are sent out by Engineering Advising. The Considerations outreach is meant to serve as a short-term solution to an immediate academic disruption. The outreach does not continue once it has already been sent to instructors. They will not be sent out more than once for the same disruption. Academic Considerations are not a guarantee for instructors to offer flexibility after an academic disruption, but rather a request for instructors to consider offering flexibility given the current circumstances. 

SDS Accommodations are sent out by Student Disability Services and are long-term solutions to an on-going or chronic condition/challenge. SDS Accommodations do not expire and can be used and referenced throughout the semester. SDS Accommodations are sent out for each semester and assistance is required/mandated by law. Accommodations are arrangements agreed upon by SDS and the student to meet the student's needs.

Please Note: Occasionally, students may initially have an Academic Considerations request with faculty but after three weeks of a continued health matter, students may require additional support. This disruption has now evolved into a long-term challenge that can be evaluated through Student Disability Services for possible Accommodations.

What circumstances qualify for Academic Considerations?

The list below are circumstances that qualify a student for Academic Considerations since they are unexpected and emergent life events:

  • personal crisis, health emergency, traumatic events, short-term physical or mental illness
  • family emergency, death of a loved one
  • distressing world events

Circumstances that do not qualify for Academic Considerations

There may be times when Academic Considerations are not an appropriate support mechanism for students. The list below are circumstances that do not qualify a student for Academic Considerations since they are expected life events:

  • longer-term, chronic, physical or mental illness
  • planned absences for vacation or travel
  • absence due to an internship
  • coordinated absences for health related situations
  • academic and extracurricular events that demand your attendance during a scheduled class, such as attendance at a conference
  • religious belief accommodations (please see below)

In these situations, students must work directly with their individual instructors for support and flexibility, if appropriate.  This flexibility is not guaranteed.  

What about religious belief accommodations?

Cornell is committed to supporting students who wish to practice their religious beliefs in keeping with its institutional values and compliance with New York State law.  The nature and scope of accommodations will vary based on a variety of factors.  Students who wish to practice their religious beliefs and need flexibility to do so should start by contacting the Office of Spirituality and Meaning-Making in Student and Campus Life to learn what options are available.

How to request Academic Considerations

Contact Engineering Advising at or 607-255-7414.  Or, contact your professional academic advisor in Engineering Advising directly to discuss. 

What does the Academic Considerations process look like?

Students are welcome and encouraged to directly contact their instructors with their personal matter, and to discuss options for their academic disruption, without necessarily needing the support of Engineering Advising nor the request for Academic Considerations process.  If your instructors are able to work with you through your situation, then that is perfectly fine.

There may be times when students still need the assistance of Engineering Advising for a request for Academic Considerations.  Below are two examples of how the Academic Considerations process could unfold:

Scenario One - Student Does Not Need Academic Considerations from Engineering Advising:

  • Student encounters a sudden and temporary life event causing academic disruption;
  • Student reaches out to their instructors to further discuss their situation;
  • Instructors are able to work with the student to provide flexible, short-term arrangements.

Scenario Two - Student Needs Assistance from Engineering Advising through Academic Considerations:

  • Student encounters a sudden and temporary life event causing academic disruption;
  • Student reaches out to their professional staff academic advisor in Engineering Advising to further discuss their situation;
  • The professional staff academic advisor meets with the student to outline the Academic Considerations process, encourages self-advocacy, and provides tips for approaching instructors;
  • Engineering Advising sends a Request for Academic Considerations to the student's instructors;
  • Instructors may be able to work with the student to provide flexible, short-term arrangements.

Who can request Academic Considerations through Engineering Advising?

Undergraduate engineering students in the College of Engineering, including those with Bowers CIS majors (Computer Science and Information Science, Systems, and Technology) are eligible to request Academic Considerations through Engineering Advising.  If you are not an Engineering undergraduate student, please contact your home college/department for more guidance.

Administrator on Call through the office of Student Support and Advocacy Services may also connect with Engineering Advising regarding an urgent student situation and request Academic Considerations.

Neither your assigned faculty advisor nor your course instructors are able to make a request on your behalf.