Jan 23, 2017
By Sarah Lack
As part of its ongoing work to guide accessibility and inclusion efforts at Ohio University, the Presidentially Appointed Committee on Disability and Accessibility Promotion (PACDAP) Leadership Implementation Team will launch a departmental self-assessment tool on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to help University departments reflect on their efforts to incorporate accessibility planning into their day-to-day activities and identify resources needed to further those efforts.
The Departmental Self-Assessment for Inclusion and Accessibility will help individual departments at OHIO determine their readiness in shifting towards a culture of inclusion and accessibility. Once the data is collected and analyzed, PACDAP will release results of the self-assessments including areas of strength and identified areas for improvement.
“As a public institution, Ohio University has an obligation to ensure that we as a community are moving toward accessibility and inclusion for all members of that community,” said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. “The Departmental Self-Assessment for Inclusion and Accessibility is an important step in the process of implementing the University’s Disability Strategic Plan for Inclusion and Accessibility and continuing the progress OHIO has made in improving inclusion and accessibility on our campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors who live with disabilities both seen and unseen.”
The self-assessment tool, which will be administered online through Qualtrics, covers training, policy and procedures, communication, service offerings and physical space. While serving as a reflective teaching tool and helping departments University-wide sustain accessibility and inclusion efforts, the self-assessment will also help OHIO meet its compliance and reporting requirements as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act.
“This self-assessment is designed to help departments think through what they currently have in place, and what they could have in place in the future, to support community members who live with disabilities,” said Dianne Bouvier, director for equal opportunity and accessibility and ADA/504 coordinator in University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance and Leadership Implementation Team co-chair. “Understanding how well departments are doing in terms of providing accessible programs, services and facilities will help determine goals for improvement and give a framework for prioritizing and advocating for resources within the University.”
A link to the self-assessment will be emailed to deans, directors, chairs and department heads, who are encouraged to involve multiple perspectives in the process and to circulate questions in advance of completing the self-assessment to incorporate feedback from team members. In addition, facilitators from the Leadership Implementation Team are available to help departments complete the self-assessment.
“We are encouraging that this be a collaborative process and inclusive of team members within departments who have varied roles,” said Kendall Brown-Clovis, director for administration in the College of Arts and Sciences and Leadership Implementation Team co-chair. “Front-line staff who work directly with students or the public often field questions regarding accessibility and inclusion and may have feedback for the self-assessment that differs from managers and other administrative employees. That kind of insight is very valuable.”