New initiatives, resources help improve accessibility in teaching and learning on campus
When it comes to enhancing accessibility on campus, faculty, staff and students all have a role to play.
“You can’t learn, teach or research effectively if you’re facing artificial or constructed barriers that prevent you from doing so,” says McMaster President Patrick Deane. “Accessibility is a process and perspective, not a destination, and can be integrated into any teaching, research, or service activity that we participate in. It needs to be infused into our thinking from the outset rather than an afterthought.”
In recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 17), McMaster’s Equity and Inclusion Office is highlighting a number of initiatives and resources that have been developed over the last year to help faculty and instructional staff create greater accessibility in teaching and learning. It’s all part of McMaster’s institutional commitment to building an inclusive community:
- Accessibility Hub Website: The Hub is McMaster’s one-stop shop for all things accessibility. It includes revampedtraining for Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)and Human Rights Code, with completion required by all McMaster staff, faculty, and student leaders.
- Forward with FLEXibility: Teaching and Learning Resource on Accessibility (FLEX Forward):An e-book to support all campus educators in applying accessibility principles within their teaching contexts and roles as part of McMaster’s institutional compliance with teaching standards set by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act(AODA).
- Accessible Education Workshops and Network: The MacPherson Institute offers in-person Accessibility in Teaching and Learning Seminars through their Educator Enhancement Series, including an upcoming summer session that starts in June. The MacPherson’s new Accessibility and Equity Teaching Network will also be hosting drop-in Accessible Education debriefs on May 28thand 31stfrom 1-3pm.
- Support for all employees with disabilities: The recently established Employee Accessibility Network isa confidential and peer-based networkfor employees with disabilities at McMaster, developed in response to AODAlegislation. The upcoming meeting on May 22nd will focus on the workplace accommodation process.
- Extracurricular activities for students with disabilities: MSU Maccess and the Equity & Inclusion Office host monthly Disability DIScussions during the academic year for all Undergraduate and Graduate McMaster students with disabilities.
- McMaster’s Accessibility and Disability Inclusion Update 2017-2018 will be released in the spring of 2018 to profile accessibility work happening across campus. Submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 22nd.
- To recognize and further honour the accessibility work happening on campus, an Accessibility Award is in development by the McMaster Accessibility Council and the President’s Advisory Committee on Building an Inclusive Community’s Accessibility Working Group. It is set to be awarded in December 2018 in celebration of the International Day of People with Disabilities.
Questions about accessibility projects and resources at McMaster can be directed to staff in the Equity and Inclusion Office: Alise de Bie at email@example.com or Kate Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 905.525.9140 ext. 24644.