Fostering a Disability-Friendly Campus: What You Can Do
Disability Services & Campus Administration
While the Disability Services (DS) office seems to be the obvious choice for developing a disability-friendly environment, it can't function effectively without the backing of campus administration. Consistent messaging supporting diversity and commitment to accessibility from central administration, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs bolster the work assigned to and generated by DS.
Communication to and from DS about policies, procedures, initiatives, and programs is key to informing the campus and strengthening collaborative work.
Ideas for Disability Services offices:
- Keep up to date on current developments in disability law and trends in working with students from AHEAD and other resources
- Disseminate periodic messages to campus with information such as the number and type of students served, accommodation tips, news about assistive technology, etc.
- Develop or update DS office websites with easy-to-understand explanations for policies and procedures
- Because physical and programmatic accessibility cuts across all campus environments, consider a Disability or Accessibility Resources link on your university homepage. It can connect to the DS office as well as readily-available resources for families and visitors, adjunct instructors, or researchers who need accessibility for parking, events, buildings, campus resources, etc.
- Share reports and messages from DS, as well as disability interest groups of NASPA, ACPA, and other professional associations to divisions and units.
- Incorporate disability in diversity efforts and programming.
- Regularly evaluate the accessibility of campus facilities, programs, information-sharing, and disability awareness.