Many challenging careers require knowledge and skills obtained through higher education. Although the number of individuals with disabilities seeking postsecondary degrees continues to increase, these students are less successful than their peers without disabilities.
Federal legislation mandates that reasonable accommodations be made to ensure that qualified postsecondary students with disabilities have access to educational opportunities available to others. Administrators, faculty, and staff who are familiar with universal design and accommodation strategies are better prepared to provide services and resources that are accessible to students who have disabilities.
DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) at the University of Washington promotes the success of individuals with disabilities in college and careers through direct work with students who have disabilities and through professional development for educators, service providers, and employers. DO-IT has been recognized with many awards, including the 1995 National Information Infrastructure Award in Education; the 1997 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; the 1999 Golden Apple Award for education; the 2001 exemplary program award from the Association for Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD); a 2001 Bright Ideas Award from the Professional and Organizational Development Network (POD); 2004 Sloan Consortium recognition for an "Effective Practice" in making distance learning courses accessible to students with disabilities; and the 2005 Promising Practice award from the National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth.
The DO-IT Admin Model Demonstration Project applies lessons learned by researchers and practitioners in its professional development for postsecondary student service administrators and support staff. It helps them make their student services accessible to everyone. Funded by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education (grant #P333A020044), DO-IT Admin continues the work of the DO-IT Prof project (grant #P333A990042), whose primary audience was postsecondary faculty. Consult The Student Services Conference Room or The Faculty Room at www.washington.edu/doit/Resources/postsec.html for more information about DO-IT Admin and DO-IT Prof.
DO-IT Admin helps postsecondary student service providers serve students with disabilities on their campuses. Student service areas addressed include:
- recruiting and admissions
- financial aid
- housing and residential life
- tutoring and learning centers
- distance learning programs
- career services
- computer labs
Responding to the diverse content and scheduling needs of student service staff members, the DO-IT Admin team created six models of professional development to share legal issues, universal design, accommodation strategies, and resources specific to their campus.
Model 1: A 20-30-minute introduction to legal issues, universal design, accommodation strategies, campus resources, and including distribution of a systemic change checklist.
Model 2: A 1-2-hour presentation on legal issues, universal design and accommodations, a 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 center).
Model 4: Televised instruction through a series of videos shown online, on site, and on public television.
Model 5: A distance learning course delivered via email and available at www.washington.edu/doit/Conf/dl_index.html.
Model 6: Self-paced, web-based instruction with interactive components and downloadable video presentations on the websites described below.
The Student Services Conference Room is for administrators and support staff. The Board Room provides information needed by college and university presidents, deans, and other high-level administrators. These websites complement The Faculty Room for postsecondary faculty and academic administrators and The Student Lounge for students with disabilities pursuing postsecondary education. All of these specialized websites can be accessed from www.washington.edu/doit/Resources/postsec.html. Campuses are encouraged to link to this page.