This section shares strategies for implementing faculty and administrator training for the purpose of creating academic programs and services that are accessible to all students. Ideas for promoting systemic change, as well as how to measure change and impact, are included.
Creating a climate that fosters equal access for students with disabilities may require systemic change on your campus. How to best institutionalize change depends on the characteristics of your school. Consider the size of the organization, programs offered, resources available, administrative structure, current availability of training and support for faculty and administrators, and mechanisms to monitor compliance. Review the policies in place that pertain to accessibility and how well they are articulated and enforced.
As you work toward making your campus more accessible, regularly remind yourself of the importance of your work. Human rights and quality of life issues are at stake. Your efforts can result in greater academic and career success for the students you serve, even if changes are small and slow in coming. Keep your ultimate goal in mind and persist in reaching it.
No single solution will apply to all campuses. However, you can learn from the experiences of others. Included in this section are general guidelines, promising practices, and successful experiences from two- and four-year postsecondary institutions nationwide. This advice is given by faculty and staff from institutions of higher education who were part of the DO-IT Prof team. The strategies are organized into eight areas: needs assessment, teamwork, administrative support, professional development, training, promotion, networking, and evaluation. For details about a specific example, contact the appropriate team member listed in the "About the Contributors" section at the beginning of this notebook.
Conduct a needs assessment. Administer surveys and/or conduct focus groups with students, administrators, and faculty members to determine problems and identify solutions regarding equal access to campus programs. A needs assessment can help you share knowledge, prioritize issues, develop goals, and brainstorm strategies. Faculty members can share their experiences and needs for resources and training. Administrators can provide insight into current policies and possible barriers to implementing change. Students can share their personal experiences and observations regarding gaps in support on your campus.
Following are examples of needs assessments conducted by institutions across the country.
Example: Focus Groups
Through the DO-IT Prof, DO-IT Admin, and AccessCollege projects, focus groups of faculty members, teaching assistants, staff members, and students with disabilities were conducted on campuses around the country. Focus groups with faculty and staff examined their experiences working with students with disabilities, their knowledge and level of satisfaction with campus services, and their ideas about effective professional development methods and content. Students shared their experiences on campus and made recommendations for the delivery of professional development to faculty (Burgstahler & Doe, 2002). Focus group results guided the creation of the content and format of the professional development materials described in this publication and available in The Faculty Room at www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty.
Example: Focus Groups
Some campuses conducted focus groups with students without disabilities to gain insights into how the academic climate can be more inclusive of all students, including those with disabilities.
Example: Survey of Staff
The University of Kentucky conducted an online survey of university academic administrators, instructors, and auxiliary service personnel to assess activities, practices, and resources.
Example: Survey of Faculty
Some campuses designed their professional development program after determining faculty knowledge and interests through a campus-wide survey.
Some disability support staff met with groups of faculty, administrators, and/or students from a specific department to learn about needs, experiences, and problems unique to that department. In order to solicit the most honest responses, the three groups —faculty, administrators, and students with disabilities—met separately. Actions were taken in response to the needs identified.
Example: Response to Needs Identified by Students
At the University of Minnesota–Duluth (UMD) students found that the only accessible path to a music classroom and practice hall located on the basement level required the use of a freight elevator. The pathway to the classroom also required going through a performance theater, a dark hallway to the elevator, storage space, and another poorly lit area. With cooperation from the theater department, the storage space was cleared, and a path through the area was created. Working with facilities management, the lighting and door pulls were improved. Staff of the music department instituted a practice to walk the accessible path to class each day to ensure that lights were on and pathways unblocked. While these temporary measures were instituted, students sought and received approval from the chancellor to fund a passenger elevator that made the entire building more accessible.
Know your organization and stakeholders. Who are the leaders and policy makers on your campus? Who are other stakeholders? How can stakeholders become involved in activities and/or in advisory capacities? Who is (or should be) involved in the stages of planning disability-related awareness activities, training, support, policy and procedure development, implementation, compliance, and evaluation? How does policy get formed? Where does funding come from; who decides what it is used for? What are the barriers to change? Who promotes change? Who implements change?
Include all stakeholders in developing campus and departmental action plans for improving the instructional climate and accessibility for students with disabilities. Consider the following as potential stakeholders on your campus when it comes to making facilities, programs, and services accessible to students with disabilities:
- academic departments
- administrative units
It is easier to garner resources, face opposition, and maintain your enthusiasm and direction as part of a group. Look for allies everywhere. Some may be found in these places:
- ADA compliance offices
- community and governmental service providers
- computing services
- disability services office
- disability services offices on nearby campuses
- disabled student organizations
- equity and diversity committees
- faculty and staff development or training centers
- physical plant or facilities units
- teaching assistant organizations
Organize yourselves into a team. Put together a committee to design and implement professional development for faculty and administrators that will result in a more inclusive campus. Not only is there strength in numbers, but more partners and coalitions result in more ideas and more resources to implement plans. Work together as a team to consider and tailor the suggestions in this handbook to the unique needs of your campus.
Example: ADA Task Force
When the ADA was passed, UMD developed an ADA Task Force to ensure compliance. The Access Center (which provides disability-related services) worked with the chancellor to identify a core group of people to assess the needs of the campus. When the initial assessment of the ADA Task Force was complete, the value of supporting ongoing assessment and recommendations was recognized by both staff and students. Task force members now represent all units on campus from collegiate units and facilities management to students, IT, and housing. Representatives are appointed by heads of departments. Access center staff are ex-officio members. The task force continues to identify and resolve access issues on campus.
Garner support from faculty, departments, and service units campus-wide; create linkages and collaborations. Ensure that campus recruiters, admissions staff, financial aid, personnel, staff associations, academic counselors, computer labs, and other campus units are knowledgeable about campus resources available to faculty and to students with disabilities. Let student support units and student organizations know of services. Suggest ways they can contribute to your efforts. Ask to be included on regular meeting agendas. Inform these groups about legal issues, accommodation strategies, and campus resources. Meet with departmental and campus administrators to elicit suggestions regarding how to best reach tenured faculty, new faculty, TAs, and part-time instructors.
Gain the attention and support of the administration. Let key administrators know about campus needs and your efforts and accomplishments. Encourage the administration to distribute written notices across campus that describe the policies, guidelines, and practices that enhance access and the education of students with disabilities.
Example: Evaluating Policies and Procedures
Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU) disability services carefully evaluated their system-wide policies and procedures regarding disability and discovered many inconsistencies. They began the process of working with student affairs, academic affairs, administrative services, and the president to streamline the university policies on disability. From these discussions, a few significant things happened:
- They gained tremendous support from upper administration for the disability support program. Once many of these individuals saw the positive impact and student numbers, they were open to looking at training programs and additional supports for faculty and staff.
- They rewrote their statement of commitment to students with disabilities and to diversity as a whole. Once again, this forced administrators to revisit related issues.
- Campus catalogs, departmental statements, and other campus publications were modified to include the new statement of commitment to students with disabilities.
Example: Web Publishing Policy
The University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW–Madison) developed a policy governing web accessibility (www.wisc.edu/wiscinfo/policy/wwwap.html). The purpose of the UW–Madison policy is to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to the increasing amount of web-based material originating on campus. As part of the strategy to implement the policy, informative letters were sent to all faculty and staff by the vice chancellor for Legal and Executive Affairs and the university's Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator.
Example: Funding and Cooperation
At UMD, the director of Information Technology Systems and Services (ITSS) sets aside a portion of the budget to ensure that computers and computer labs are accessible to students with disabilities. One staff person from the Access Center works with a representative from ITSS to plan for and purchase necessary adaptive software and hardware based on student needs. The director has found that much of the accessible software and hardware is beneficial to other students on campus. Screen enlargement software, for example, has helped many students avoid eye strain when working on computers. Following the model set up by ITSS, other departments are working with the Access Center to project funding requirements to ensure accessibility.
Example: Securing Campus Support
Some campuses use the process of developing a campus policy and/or drafting materials to be distributed as a strategy for working with administrators without scaring them away by stressing meeting attendance.
Example: Departmental Support
The UW–Madison formed a partnership with Macromedia to develop accessible multimedia, specifically Flash. Several department representatives collaborated in this project, which they will ultimately showcase nationwide through the New Media Center Consortia. The university group, E-curb Cuts, has identified training needs for web developers to retrofit inaccessible webpages. The training was piloted with web developers who support instructional webpages. It is available for campus computer support staff using a train-the-trainer model. The trained support staff train others within their colleges, schools, and departments.
Example: Policy Development
The Educational Policy Committee (EPC) at UMD was established by the chancellor to set academic policy. As one of their accomplishments, they developed a policy that listed the essential components for all syllabi on campus. The Access Center worked with the EPC to include a statement in the policy regarding academic accommodations for students with disabilities.
Example: Sharing Accomplishments with Administrators
The DO-IT Prof project director drafted a letter that was tailored to specific campuses and mailed to key administrators selected by team members. The letter emphasized that their selection as a member of the DO-IT Prof team recognized their knowledge, experience, mission, accomplishments, and motivation to address the issue of helping faculty more fully include students with disabilities in their classes. The importance of the project was also emphasized. Several administrators who received letters contacted the DO-IT Prof team member on their campuses with supportive comments such as:
"Congratulations on being chosen as a member of the DO-IT Prof team sponsored by the folks at UW Seattle. Great to be included! As this moves further along, please see that you get on the cabinet agenda to update the cabinet on what the program is up to and our contributions to it. As you know, the chancellor signed the letter to the President (of the United States) indicating that UW–Madison was supportive of his initiatives to provide more accessibility—and that as a university we did work in that direction. This is another way that we can demonstrate that work. Thanks."
Example: Campus Support
On some campuses, written notices are distributed yearly through the president's or provost's office. These notices describe the institution's commitment to diversity, including the full inclusion of students with disabilities in all programs and services. Opportunities for faculty training sessions to help them more effectively incorporate diversity topics into their courses are also announced.
Example: President's Support
The presidents of universities nationwide signed a letter to President Clinton, "Twenty-five Universities Pledge to Increase Research in Computing for the Disabled," which appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education (www.chronicle.com/), on October 6, 2000.
Example: Shared Responsibility
At the UW–Madison the Faculty Senate affirmed that the accommodation of qualified students with disabilities in instructional programs is a shared faculty and student responsibility. To this end, each department has appointed an Access and Accommodation Resource Coordinator to help faculty, staff, and students address issues of access and accommodation in instructional settings (http://adac.wisc.edu/facstaff/coord.html). Collaborative disability-related awareness and training events are coordinated through these department representatives on a regular basis.
Professional Development for Faculty and Administrators
Find out how your campus faculty members and administrators organize (e.g., unions, departments, senates) and arrange to be placed on meeting agendas. Let them know about your goals and activities in creating programs that are accessible to all students as well as how their organization can help. Meet with groups regularly to discuss issues and activities.
Format faculty and administrator professional development offerings to match the customs, organizational structure, and climate of your campus. Some institutions are well-served by presentations at regular division or department meetings where the expectation is that all faculty members will attend. This approach brings faculty development regarding disability issues to a broad audience and requires a minimum amount of coordination on the part of the presenter.
Offer presentations and training tailored to specific audiences. Provide many options for faculty and TAs to learn how to fully include students with disabilities in classes. Options include
- short orientations to legal issues, accommodation strategies, and campus resources at departmental faculty meetings
- tailored presentations to address issues of special importance to a specific group
- comprehensive workshops offered through centralized staff training programs
- accessibility modules integrated into mainstream training sessions (e.g., accessibility guidelines incorporated into webpage development classes; universal design strategies integrated into instructional strategy presentations)
- resources tailored to faculty and administrators available on the web
- instructional videos presented on cable or public television
- distance learning training options provided on the Internet
- a short publication mailed periodically to faculty and administrators that highlights legal issues, accommodation strategies, and campus resources
Example: Integrate Accessibility into Web Training
Many campuses offer workshops to faculty and staff on the development of webpages. Some campuses include a section on accessibility in each of the courses. The video and handout, World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design, included in this notebook can be used for this purpose.
Example: Computer Staff Training
On some campuses, staff who are knowledgeable about accessibility work with the staff at computer labs and support centers to ensure that their facilities, software, websites, and hardware are accessible to students with disabilities. In addition, they make sure staff know what resources are available when special needs arise. Several videos and handouts included in this handbook can be used in this type of training. They include:
- Computer Access: In Our Own Words
- Equal Access: Universal Design of Computer Labs
- Real Connections: Making Distance Learning Accessible to Everyone
- Working Together: Computers and People with Learning Disabilities
- Working Together: Computers and People with Mobility Impairments
- Working Together: Computers and People with Sensory Impairments
- Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology
- World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design
Example: Faculty and Staff Training
The Administrative Council at SMSU passed a mandatory six-hour training session for all faculty and staff regarding sexual harassment, diversity (including disability), and effective communication. A full-time trainer was hired to coordinate this effort.
Example: Orientation for New Faculty and Staff
The administration of Seattle Central Community College (SCCC) in Washington State requires new employees to attend a full-day orientation that includes a brief presentation by the Disability Support Services Office on the ADA and accommodation issues. Similar practices are implemented on many other campuses around the nation.
Example: Administrator Training
Some campuses provide disability awareness training for department heads. Sessions include legal issues, accommodation strategies, and campus resources. These trainings offer materials and speakers to deliver faculty training. Presenters provide suggestions for developing plans and institutionalizing practices in their departments.
Example: Academic Advisor Training
SMSU has a Master Advisor program to train campus advisors. Disability services staff deliver a presentation and participate in this one-and-a-half day training session.
Example: Training for Multiple Audiences
A two-credit course entitled "Issues in Group Leadership" was offered at the University of Rochester (Rochester). Several sessions were devoted to disability awareness and strategies for improving access to cooperative learning groups for those with disabilities. Students in this course were undergraduate and graduate TAs. A secondary audience included faculty members who were team-teaching the course. These instructors came from biology, biochemistry, computer science, and physics departments. The textbook for this training course included a short chapter entitled "Students with Disabilities and the Workshop."
Example: Distribute Current Information
Campuses nationwide have sent printed copies of the brochure entitled Working Together: Faculty and Students with Disabilities (www.washington.edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/teachers.html) to faculty and instructional staff. (Every two years at the University of Washington (UW) all faculty and administrators are sent this brochure.) This brochure, which summarizes legal issues, accommodation strategies, and campus resources can also be used at presentations for specific academic departments. The back panel includes space for tailoring the brochure to include campus resources. A template for this short handout is included in the back pouch of this notebook.
Example: Survey Faculty and Staff
A DO-IT Prof team member from a four-year college worked with her partner school, a community college, to put together a training session for community college faculty and staff. All faculty and staff were required to attend. A questionnaire was sent out ahead of time to identify issues of concern, and these issues were addressed during the training.
Example: Publicize Accomplishments
Some organizations identify local papers, radio stations, and television channels and then send press releases that showcase their efforts to make their campuses more accessible to people with disabilities.
Example: Outreach to New Faculty
Some disability student service offices insert brochures in packets that are given to new faculty members and TAs and deliver presentations at orientations for new faculty and TAs.
Example: New Faculty Luncheon
The ADA Task Force at UMD invites new faculty to a luncheon at the beginning of the year to become acquainted with Task Force members and learn more about academic accommodations for students with disabilities on campus.
Example: One-on-One Training
Providing individualized assistance (on an as-needed basis) to faculty and staff regarding questions on providing accommodations to students with disabilities has been proven to be very effective on many campuses. Sometimes, this one-on-one assistance is provided by faculty mentors who have received in-depth train-the-trainer instruction.
Training for Students
Consider ways to get disability-related topics into course offerings on your campus. Determine how new programs and courses are started at your school (e.g., gerontology, women's studies, ethnic studies) and work toward getting a course or program on disability studies on your campus. Alternatively, locate existing courses on education, engineering, diversity, computing, or other topics where disability issues should be included but are not. Meet with instructors and offer suggestions, videos, printed publications, and speakers to help them integrate this topic into existing classes.
Example: Learning from One Another
Disabled student support staff at Rochester were asked to provide a general disability awareness session for senior biomedical engineering students who were completing projects for children and adults with disabilities (e.g., designing a new tie-down system for wheelchair transportation). The primary audience for this presentation was the group of seniors, but an important secondary audience was the biomedical engineering faculty. One engineering faculty member sent the following email to his students after a discussion about appropriate terminology for people with disabilities (e.g., people words first, disability words second): "I have updated the BME 392 webpages to include links to the sites recommended by [speakers], and several that I have found. If you find particular sites that you think we should all know about, please let me know and I'll try to get them on the page (or start a new page of useful links). I will keep you notified of further changes to the course page."
Example: Disability-Related Engineering Project
The DO-IT director gave advice to mechanical engineering students whose project was to design a fishing pole for someone with a mobility impairment. She shared several case studies of young people with disabilities who might want to go fishing. The students made their inventions usable by the people featured in the case studies.
Example: Teaching Assistants
Some DO-IT Prof team members work with TA training programs to ensure that a component on accessibility for students with disabilities is included. Various DO-IT Prof videos, brochures, and curriculum components included in this notebook can be easily used within TA training programs.
Example: Faculty Website
The Faculty Room, a resource-rich website (www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty), is linked from many campus disability services and departmental websites to provide faculty with an overview of rights, responsibilities, and accommodation strategies as well as access to specialized instructional techniques.
Example: Summer Faculty Institutes
Some campuses provide summer institutes on various topics for faculty and administrators. A potential focus is working with students who have disabilities.
Example: Distribution List
Electronic distribution lists provide an excellent vehicle for sharing information, discussions, common concerns, and providing immediate feedback on ideas, opinions, or problems. Individual discussion groups can be set up for students with disabilities, departmental administrators, and faculty members.
Example: Disability Topics in Courses
Some disability advocates have helped instructors teach disability-related topics in existing courses. They offered videos, sample curricula, and handouts.
Example: Disability Studies Courses
At SMSU, Disability Support Services, in conjunction with Academic Affairs, developed a senior capstone course called Disability Issues for the 21st Century, which deals with disability-related issues in society. All graduating seniors are required to take a capstone course. The course is offered each semester. At Rochester, a disabilities studies project has been funded to develop courses in this area of study.
Example: Student Panels
The disability-related services staff at some postsecondary institutions regularly offers to bring a panel of students into classrooms to address disability issues. The panels have been well received by students and faculty alike. Students with disabilities who use access center services are recruited for these panels.
Example: Usability Testing
The DO-IT Center has developed a partnership with Microsoft and the departments of Technical Communication and Computer Science to incorporate accessibility testing into curricula, student projects, and research related to usability studies.
Raise the visibility of campus disability support services. Create a publication and webpages with procedures and services of the office that supports students with disabilities. Increase the number of disability-related presentations on campus. Work with your campus and community press to get the word out. Issue regular press releases about disability-related topics and events to campus newspapers. Make resources prominent on the campus website. Develop webpages for the office of support services for students with disabilities to include a link to The Faculty Room at www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty. Encourage other campus departments to link to your site.
Example: Teaching Awards
Each year SCCC nominates a faculty or staff member who has provided exceptional and creative accommodations to a student with a disability. Awardees share a traveling plaque engraved with their names on it. The award is presented at a Presidents' Day event that all faculty and staff attend.
Example: Accessible Web Awards
Ohio State University gives awards to departments that produce the most accessible webpages. Recipients are honored with plaques at a special reception.
At SMSU, a marketing plan to promote disability awareness was developed with the help of the marketing department on campus. The plan included the following initiatives:
- Everything is centered around the theme "You Can," with a related logo.
- New faculty, staff, and student brochures and a new website were created.
- Signage was placed in each departmental office and included contact information for the support of students with disabilities.
- A display board with the "You Can" theme was created and displayed at the New Student Festival, orientation sessions, and other activities.
- Department staff wore t-shirts with the "You Can" logo on numerous occasions.
- Staff purchased and distributed magnets, screen sweeps, and stress balls, all of which had the "You Can" logo printed on them.
- Staff are working with the organizational psychology department on campus to develop a high-energy, five-to-seven minute infomercial about campus programs that support students with disabilities to show on the campus television station and in classes.
Example: Online Resources
UW–Madison's website (http://www.wisc.edu/learntech/tech_access/index.htm) was developed by the Division of Information Technology. These pages have become a major resource for the campus. In addition to campus policy resources, DO-IT Prof materials, frequently asked questions, examples of accessible webpages, and online tutorials and resources are posted. A link is provided to The Faculty Room at http://www.washington.edu/doit/Faculty/.
Example: Disability Awareness Day
The student group, Access for All, at UMD works with the Access Center to sponsor a yearly disability awareness program. Administrators, faculty, and students are invited. A bulletin board by the Learning and Resource Center also prominently displays disability-related information. The group is advised by a staff person from the Access Center.
Example: Model Webpage
The Access Center at UMD makes sure that its webpage is a model of accessible design. As other faculty and staff are learning to create accessible webpages, the Access Center's page is used as an example.
Create and promote disability-related events and include people with disabilities in other events on campus. Bring music, dance, art, poetry, and speakers to your campus that celebrate and increase awareness of the wide range of abilities and disabilities in our society. Many campuses have funding for cultural events that increase awareness of underrepresented groups; tap into these resources. Recruit speakers with disabilities to be part of regular campus programs. A presenter who happens to be blind sharing her research on climate trends as part of a campus lecture series may be more effective in changing attitudes about the capabilities of people with disabilities than a lecture on the topic.
Example: Disability-Related Events
Each semester, the UW–Madison holds an "Accessibility Series" as part of the Technology Accessibility Program. The series attracts faculty, administrators, and support staff. Follow-up resources are posted on a website. The Accessibility Series is a collaboration of several departments, including the Department of Learning Technology and Distance Education (LTDE), McBurney Disability Resource Center New Media Centers (NMC), Center for Biology Education (CBE), College of Letters and Science Learning Support Services (LSS), DoIT Media and Communications Technology (MCT), and DoIT Platform and Operating Systems Technology (POST).
Example: Joint Campus Events
The UW–Madison and Madison Area Technical College jointly hosted a spring collaborative "ADA Global Horizons Series," which included a keynote speaker and focus on learning disabilities.
Example: Sports Events
The Access Center staff at UMD work with the recreation sports staff on campus along with two nonprofit organizations, the Courage Center and North County Independent Living, to sponsor a disabled sports event. Teams and instructors for wheelchair basketball, wheelchair floor hockey, wheelchair rugby, and goal ball provide opportunities for people with and without disabilities to play. Plans are underway to create a sled hockey team and to sponsor a tennis tournament for participants with disabilities. The UMD student group, Access for All, helps publicize these events.
Example: Interpreter Services
Some disability services offices work with campus drama departments to have at least one of each of their performances interpreted by sign language interpreters and to publicize these offerings in promotional materials.
Create an electronic discussion list to support dialog and develop awareness of legal issues, accommodation strategies, resources, or events. Each month start a new discussion (e.g., Is your webpage accessible to people who are blind?). Encourage staff from human resources, physical plant, admissions, disabled student services, and other campus services to join the list.
Example: Technology Issues Distribution List
The UW–Madison, Division of Information Technology developed an electronic discussion list to address a variety of technology issues. Accessibility issues quickly surfaced and generated lively discussions and information sharing.
Share expertise by presenting at conferences. Submit proposals to present at campus events and local, regional, and national conferences. Videos, handouts, and visuals included in this notebook can be used for your presentation.
Example: Conference Presentations
National conferences at which DO-IT Prof team members have presented include the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning (www.uwex.edu/disted/conference), CSUN's conference on Assistive Technology, Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), American Association of Higher Education (AAHE), American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), The Teaching in Higher Education (THE) Forum, and the American Society of Higher Education (ASHE). Examples of presentation titles include:
- Accessible Web Design
- Making Distance Learning Courses Accessible to Everyone
- Professional Development for Faculty on Including Students with Disabilities
- Strategies for Making Programs Accessible
- Accommodating Students with Learning Disabilities
- Overview of Adaptive Technology for Students with Disabilities
- Accommodating Students with Psychiatric Disabilities
- Legal Issues Regarding Students with Disabilities
- Helping Students with Disabilities Transition from Two- to Four-Year Schools
Example: Outreach to High School Students
Access Center staff at UMD have been regular participants and planners of a yearly transition fair for high school juniors and seniors called "Rocketing into the Future." They also sponsored their own workshop for college-bound high school juniors and seniors called "Try-It." The workshop featured opportunities to try out adaptive hardware and software available on campus as well as hear information about Access Center services.
Consider outside sources of funding. Check if there are general campus or external state funds available for building your program.
The UW–Madison obtained funds by collaborating with University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire to develop a collaborative database of disability-related resources on all University of Wisconsin campuses (www.uwec.edu/review/ua/UWCamp). Resources from DO-IT Prof are shared statewide through this project.
Some campuses have obtained funds to develop minigrant programs to provide assistance to faculty for developing accessible webpages, employing principles of universal instructional design, and developing accessible online courses.
Example: Community Funds
The "Try-It" workshop was made possible by funding from a local community foundation. After submitting their final report, the UMD Access Center was informed that the foundation was interested in funding additional projects that fit their guidelines.
Connect accessibility compliance with resources. Establish a policy that requires faculty to comply with access issues to qualify for funding of special centrally-funded projects.
Example: Accessibility Requirements
On one campus, policies were adopted that require faculty members who receive special funds to develop distance learning courses to meet accessibility standards. As a result, all funded distance learning courses are accessible to students with disabilities and faculty participants learned to develop accessible webpages.
Network with External Organizations
Develop a regional model with a set of consistent practices. Work collaboratively and individually with postsecondary institutions in your state to help each develop and employ appropriate training strategies, policies, and procedures. Utilize the web and electronic discussion lists to promote communication between faculty and staff from postsecondary institutions across the state. Create a summary sheet of intake and documentation requirements for all state schools and standardize them if possible.
Example: Regional Support Group
The Access Center at UMD was instrumental in developing a network of postsecondary institutions from the northern part of Minnesota and Wisconsin called the Northern Bridge. The group meets two to three times per year with different colleges hosting the meeting. A planning committee helps set programs and agendas. The group has been a valuable resource for new service providers and a good network for those in continuing positions.
Example: State Distribution List
The UW hosts the Internet-based distribution list for postsecondary offices and related organizations that provide support to students with disabilities in Washington State (WAPED). List members share policies and procedures and discuss issues of common interest.
Measure the impact of your activities. Although it is difficult to develop measures that show how your efforts have resulted in greater course completion, higher grades, and more diplomas for students with disabilities, it is still worth the effort to collect statistical data and feedback from stakeholders. Participants in presentations can be surveyed, focus groups can be conducted, and yearly enrollment and graduation figures can be collected and compared.
Example: Document Services Provided
The UMD Access Center has been involved in a quality review project sponsored by the vice chancellor of Academic Support and Student Life. As part of the project, the Access Center has been keeping figures on daily activities with a scoreboard that is shared with the other units under the vice chancellor. Through this process, the Access Center has been better able to document the numbers of students they serve and the services that they provide.
Example: Training Evaluation
DO-IT Prof team members developed long and short evaluation forms titled "Presentation Evaluation." Feedback is used in preparing future presentations. These forms can be found at the end of the "Presentations" section. The two-page form is intended for use in full- or multi-day workshops. The one-page form is intended for use in partial-day workshops. Other campuses are welcome to use these forms to evaluate their presentations.
Example: Institutional Data Collection
DO-IT project team members collect data from their campuses annually. Yearly data is compared to show trends in enrollment and graduation. A sample Institution Data Collection Form can be found on pages 52-54. Other campuses are welcome to use this form to collect data on enrollment and graduation.