A Capacity Building Workshop for Georgia Tech: A Promising Practice for Institutional Change

Date Updated

With sponsorship from AccessComputing, Georgia Computes, GVU Center, and the Institute for People and Technology, Georgia Tech hosted A Capacity-Building Workshop for Georgia Tech. The workshop aimed to increase the participation and success of people with disabilities in computing fields, particularly at Georgia Tech.

AccessComputing worked with Georgia Tech faculty and staff to design a series of module sessions, which allowed participants to come to the sessions most relevant to their specific roles and interests. This flexible format was particularly appropriate for attendees who could not attend a meeting for the full day. The event opened with an Executive Session for department chairs and other university administrators, led by Professor Richard Ladner, the AccessComputing PI, from the University of Washington. The discussion focused on issues for students with disabilities at Georgia Tech and recognition that it is important to engage this group. Session modules included:

  • A presentation emphasizing the role of education and human resource development, in addition to accessible technology, as a key component of increasing the participation of individuals with disabilities in computing.
  • A panel of students and recent graduates with a variety of disabilities discussing their experiences in college and ideas for increasing the participation and success of students with disabilities.
  • A series of short talks from individuals at Georgia Tech about their research projects related to accessibility and assistive technology.
  • A discussion section with participants to debrief and summarize lessons learned from the day’s activities.

Professor Mark Guzdial, one of the organizers and participants, wrote a blog post on his experience of the workshop and the lessons he learned. He wrote, "Overall, the day was really worthwhile for me. I became aware of a lot of issues that I'd never even thought about before, from PDF’s to blackboards. I mostly became aware of how much we need to do."

The Capacity-Building Workshop at Georgia Tech is a promising practice for providing capacity building activities on a university campus that allowed flexibility to accommodate the busy schedules of university faculty and staff, and engaged with high-level administrators. For proceedings of other Capacity Building Institutes focused on increasing the success of individuals with disabilities, consult Capacity Building Institutes.

AccessComputing minigrant activities have been funded by the National Science Foundation as part of the Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program of the Directorate for Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering (CISE) (grant #CNS-0540615, CNS-0837508, CNS-1042260, and CNS-1539179).