The Promoting Equity in Engineering Relationships (PEERs) project at the University of Washington (UW) aimed to improve the experiences of underrepresented undergraduates in the College of Engineering. PEERs integrated NSF-funded efforts to engage a cadre of students, professors, and staff to create positive change toward a more inclusive environment in the College of Engineering, particularly for women, racial/ethnic minorities, and individuals with disabilities.
College students often attend career fairs to prepare for graduation and plan their future in the workforce. Some recruiters set up “virtual job fairs” that take place online rather than in person on a college campus. For students with disabilities, these may provide a way to engage with potential employers without needing to be at a crowded event. But how do they work? Are they beneficial?
When writing a course syllabus, faculty members can take explicit steps that take into account the abilities of the students that will be in their class, encourage students to discuss their disability with their instructor, and make the syllabus more accessible to students with disabilities. Faculty should:
Students with disabilities interested in studying abroad may need to consider how they will secure academic and housing accommodations, deal with health conditions, and ensure accessibility to facilities, technology, and activities. They may find the following resources useful.
How do student designers regard disability? How does designing for both users who are disabled and non-disabled encourage students to think about accessibility throughout the design process? These are the questions researchers at the University of Washington (UW) investigated via a design course study.
Professor Cowen teaches a capstone course in computing. Students are required to give oral presentations discussing their final designs. Professor Cowen is concerned that a student in her class, Amy, will have difficulty with delivering her presentation. Although Amy has not expressed concern about the presentation assignment, Professor Cowen is concerned because Amy is autistic and rarely joins classroom discussions.
The 2016 Engineering Experience for High School Students with Visual Impairments or Blindness at North Carolina State University (NCSU) aimed to prepare students with visual impairments or blindness for college by engaging them in engineering activities, identifying assistive technology that may help them navigate college life, and introducing them to mentors.
The Center for Emergent Materials at The Ohio State University works to recruit students with disabilities for their Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program through EntryPoint! and the Ohio STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Ability Alliance (OSAA). In internships, students engage in experimental and theoretical research in physics and materials science. Part of their training is working with sophisticated lab equipment.
Some students with learning and other types of disabilities may need additional time to complete assignments in lab courses. Described below are examples of how extra time could be provided to an individual student.
Features to make a biomedical lab accessible to people with disabilities could include