Linkage Love: Accessibility Resources

by Kathryn Magura

Access to resources and the diversity of our campuses is a hot topic in higher education. One area that is often neglected is the accessibility of our campuses to students, visitors, and staff with disabilities. Some of our campuses are so old, making them accessible would require a lot of planning and significant financial resources. While it is absolutely the right thing to do, many of us do not know where to begin to make our campuses more accessible.

For my Linkage Love post today, I would like to share some resources I have found regarding many aspects of accessibility. These resources were developed on college campuses, and prove that when education leaders set their minds to it, we can make our campuses accessible for everyone.

ADA: Understanding the American’s with Disabilities Act can be a daunting task. The Staff at the Catholic University of America developed an ADA resource page with their general council that links to checklists for accessibility and case law that impacts institutions of higher education regarding accessibility. The resources provided here are expansive, and make understanding the intricacies and consequences of this law easier.

Seven Principles of Universal Design: Complying with the law is one thing. Ensuring the resources on your campus can be accessed by everyone who wishes to use them is something else entirely. Staff at North Carolina State University have been instrumental in developing what is known as the Seven Principles of Universal Design. Becoming familiar with the principles of universal design will help you gain an understanding of the functional needs of people with a myriad of physical disabilities. This video from Berkeley provides a visual example of the benefits of utilizing universal design elements in construction.

Web Accessibility Guidelines: The revisions to the ADA in 2010 included strict standards for creating accessible websites. For being such a progressive technology, the web is full of pages that are inaccessible. As we work towards making our websites more accessible, staff at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a resource guide to web accessibility. This guide is incredibly helpful for walking you through the steps of creating an accessible website, even if you are not an Information Technology professional.

These are some resources I have found immensely helpful as I have worked to create a more accessible university community. I hope they can benefit you as well.

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