The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came into effect on July 26, 1990. 31 years later, UCCS is working to exceed the standards it has set for access and inclusion.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed 31 years ago and provides protection for people with disabilities in the areas of employment, transportation, public housing and communication. At UCCS, work to promote access and inclusion will continue – from cross-campus advocacy to international faculty research.
Some efforts focus on student support services, such as the work of the disability services.
“UCCS is committed to providing the best possible education for all students,” said Ida Dilwood, director of disability services and the University Testing Center. “UCCS has made continuous strides to achieve the goals of ADA and protect the rights of people with disabilities. Disability services are here to support students and provide housing while ensuring the integrity of academic programs and services, but we should all think beyond the ADA and create a campus that is truly accessible to all students, staff, and faculties. “
Further efforts focus on promoting research and science in the area of disability assistance.
“UCCS is home to great researchers who actively work to improve access and inclusion for people with disabilities,” said Scott Kupferman, Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning.
UCCS research activities range from researching university support for veterans with disabilities to cybersecurity career opportunities for young adults with autism. Kupferman’s own research at the College of Education, in collaboration with technology companies such as Apple and Microsoft, focuses on access to educational and assistive technology for students with disabilities. At the international level, Kupferman recently completed a US State Department project with scientists in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates on the topic of international disability policy.
“These research activities flow directly into our university’s efforts to not only meet the standards set out in the ADA, but to exceed them,” said Kupferman.
Learn more below about UCCS ‘work to empower access and inclusion for all people, including those with disabilities.
Universal design for inclusive teaching
Universal design is a teaching approach that takes into account the needs and abilities of all learners and removes unnecessary hurdles in the learning process. It involves creating flexible classroom dynamics where information is presented in different ways, students participate in learning in different ways, and options are given to students to demonstrate their learning.
The UCCS Faculty Resource Center currently provides proof of eligibility for faculty members who implement universal design strategies in their teaching through the Universal Design for Inclusive Teaching program. Participants in the program will be paired with a teaching designer from the Faculty Resource Center to redesign a course for inclusive teaching. The faculty work goes through three modules: basics of inclusive teaching, design of courses with a view to accessibility and inclusive teaching practices. Digital badges are issued after the requirements have been successfully met. Each badge includes a time commitment of 24 to 36 hours. Learn more about Universal Design for Inclusive Teaching on the Faculty Resource Center website.
Working group for digital accessibility
UCCS ‘Digital Accessibility Working Group is working to implement digital accessibility across campus so that websites, mobile applications and electronic documents can be easily navigated and understood by a wide variety of users, including those with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive impairments Disabilities.
The group is working on a variety of digital accessibility standards:
- Curricula, textbooks and other course materials
- Compliance with web content accessibility guidelines
- Subtitling and audio description of audiovisual materials
- Digital signature
- Procurement of goods and services
- Procedure for providing access when there are known barriers to entry
The aim of the working group is to create a uniform commitment to inclusion on the entire UCCS campus and to increase awareness and empathy at the university in order to improve the campus climate for all people with disabilities. Learn more about the goals and initiatives of the Digital Accessibility Working Group.
Disability committee of the faculty assembly
The UCCS Faculty Assembly’s Disabilities Committee provides information for the UCCS Faculty regarding disabilities, with an emphasis on better inclusion and accommodation of students with disabilities in the classroom. The committee hosts a number of guest speakers. Learn more about the Faculty Assembly’s Disability Committee.
In addition, at the University of Colorado system level, a new committee on disabilities and access was approved as an ad hoc committee of the faculty board. Learn more about the new committee.
Certificate programs in Disability Studies are available at UCCS for those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of historical and modern topics. The Women’s & Ethnic Studies program offers a degree in Disability Studies, and the Sociology Department offers a Bachelor’s degree in this field. Learn more about the Certificate of Completion and Bachelor Certificate options.
For those interested in learning more about the ADA and the history of disabled accommodation, Kupferman has compiled one of the largest private collections of historical artifacts related to disabilities, including items from the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 Send an email to schedule a tour of his collection.
For more information on ADA resources at UCCS, please visit the Ethics and Compliance Program website. To learn more about disability services, watch this introductory video.