DO-IT Admin: A Promising Practice in Making Student Services Accessible to Students with Disabilities
The DO-IT Admin Model Demonstration Project applied lessons learned by project staff and other researchers and practitioners nationwide to implement a comprehensive professional development program for student services administrators. It was funded by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education (grant #P333A020044, 2002-2006). It was led by the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington in Seattle.
DO-IT Admin was designed to improve the knowledge and skills of postsecondary student service providers in order to better prepare them to fully include students with disabilities in academic programs and student services on their campuses. Student services addressed include admissions, registration, advising, career services, learning centers, libraries, distance learning programs, and computer centers. Responding to the diverse content and scheduling needs of student services administrators, the DO-IT Admin team created and delivered six models of professional development.
- Model 1: A 20-30 minute introduction on legal issues, universal design, accommodation strategies, and campus resources, including distribution of a systemic change checklist.
- Model 2: A 1-2 hour presentation on legal issues, universal design and accommodations, systemic change checklist, and campus resources.
- Model 3: Tailored workshops on legal issues, universal design, accommodations, checklists, and resources for specific student service units (e.g., career services, tutoring centers).
- Model 4: Televised instruction through a series of videos shown online, on site, and on public television. The following videos can be freely viewed: Equal Access: Student Services, Equal Access: Campus Libraries, Equal Access: Universal Design of Instruction, Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone, and Equal Access: Universal Design of Computer Labs.
- Model 5: A distance learning course delivered via email.
- Model 6: Self-paced, web-based instruction with interactive components and video presentations.
The DO-IT Admin project team included disabled student services staff, faculty, and administrators at institutions of higher education in 23 states. The nationwide recruitment process was highly competitive. Applicants for project team membership were rated by DO-IT's Academic Advisory Board. The Board based its ratings on past efforts in this area, team diversity, and the potential to contribute to project efforts.
Project team members conducted focus groups with student services administrators and students with disabilities to explore the means of increasing accessibility for students with disabilities in student services offices. Team members also participated in annual 3-day collaborative meetings in Seattle. At the working meetings, team members discussed student service administrator professional development and technical support issues and strategies, developed professional development materials, made data collection plans, and created project timelines for their home institutions.
Project team member schools each chose an institutional partner in their state. Team members from four-year institutions partnered with a community or technical college, and team members from a community or technical college partnered with a four-year institution. The partner school had demographics (e.g., racial and ethnic diversity, size, location) that are different than those of the project team institution. At the team member campus and partner campus, professional development programs were delivered, materials were disseminated, and strategies for providing additional technical assistance to student service administrators and faculty were explored.
DO-IT Admin team members created and disseminated a comprehensive set of multi-media materials that can help campuses create more accessible student services. Titled Students with Disabilities and Campus Services: Building the Team, these materials are freely available online or purchased using the order form. The project team also created a comprehensive website The Student Services Conference Room that complements materials for other stakeholders in the AccessCollege collection. They created a set of checklists that suggest universal design strategies that can be employed by specific student services offices to make their programs and facilities welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities. These useful publications can be found in The Conference Room and also in The Center for Universal Design in Education.
Evaluation results of DO-IT Admin presentations and materials suggest that the comprehensive set of interventions it employed not only increase awareness of accessibility issues, but also result in specific actions taken by leaders in student services organizations that enhance their accessibility. It is hoped that efforts like this will ultimately increase the postsecondary academic and career success of individuals with disabilities.
For details about the implementation of DO-IT Admin, consult the publication DO-IT Admin: A Project to Help Postsecondary Campus Services Administrators Work Successfully with Students Who Have Disabilities.
Other Knowledge Base articles related to this topic include:
- DO-IT Prof: A Promising Practice in Making Postsecondary Instruction Accessible to Students with Disabilities,
- AccessCollege: A Promising Practice in Making Postsecondary Institutions Welcoming and Accessible to Students with Disabilities,
- Should admissions office staff refer all students with disabilities to the disabled student services office?,
- Angela and Academic Advising: A Case Study on Accessing Standard Campus Services,
- How can student services offices make campus events accessible to participants with disabilities?, and
- How can a financial aid office make services accessible to a student who is blind or has low vision?.