The Universal Access Committee was pleased to see the efforts of the Globe to raise awareness of disability-related issues at SLCC in the September 18th issue. As a committee, we think it is important to engage in the conversation that was initiated in the article “New Building Raises Concerns, Requires Patience.” SLCC has demonstrated a commitment to accessibility and formalized that commitment when the President and the SLCC Executive Cabinet established and provided funding for the Universal Access Committee in July of 2012. The purpose of the committee is to encourage cross-college collaboration to ensure all programs, services, facilities, and technologies are universally accessible to people with disabilities.
As a committee, we recognize that challenges exist in relation to accessibility, and we are dedicated to identifying and addressing those challenges. When the committee was formed, one of the first projects we worked on was the Universal Access Study to help identify barriers to accessibility at SLCC. The results of the study will be utilized to develop a college-wide transition plan to address areas of concern. In addition to the study, the committee is in the process of conducting a physical accessibility evaluation at each campus to identify areas of need. The committee will also be organizing focus groups in partnership with Institutional Research to obtain feedback from students and faculty. This information will help prioritize the objectives of the transition plan.
While the article addressed physical access issues which are important, accessibility extends beyond the physical environment. The committee is also working to emphasize the importance of accessible technology and instructional materials. We are developing and providing training for administrators, faculty, and staff in an effort to raise awareness and provide resources that will make SLCC more inclusive to people with disabilities.
Universal access is a large undertaking, and the changes we are advocating will be incremental. Accessibility is a collaborative effort that requires participation from the entire college community. If you have any accessibility concerns you would like to share with the Universal Access Committee, please contact Candida Darling at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mikel Birch at email@example.com. We appreciate the commitment to accessibility expressed by the Globe and anticipate that the college will continue to engage in conversations related to universal access.