Ensuring that campuses are as accessible as possible to everyone has long gone beyond installing wheelchair ramps and braille signs. Every advance in classroom technology needs to be examined to determine its accessibility to students of all abilities. For years this role has been handled by an assistive technologies office for UMass, but the consortium’s colleges lacked similarly focused employees, and instead relied on collaborations of IT and accessibility staff members. That changed with the hiring of Rob Eveleigh as electronic and information technology (EIT) accessibility coordinator.
Eveleigh previously served as an access technologist at UMass Amherst and Harvard University and brings years of expertise, technical direction, assessment and implementation support to the new position. As the EIT accessibility coordinator--a position supported for its first three years by the Davis Educational Foundation--he is helping the campuses implement sustainable IT goals and strategies that address the accessibility of existing and emerging technologies to people with disabilities.
“I was attracted by the campuses’ strong commitment to harnessing the promise that accessible technologies hold for all students, staff, faculty and guests, regardless of ability,” says Eveleigh. “I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in and help develop a new progressive program that proactively addresses technology accessibility at four distinct small liberal arts colleges.”
Examples of Eveleigh’s work include:
- Expanding captioning programs that make audio and video media more accessible;
- Expanding and upgrading campus-wide assistive technology programs;
- Conducting EIT accessibility trainings;
- Negotiating savings for EIT accessibility program purchases; and
- Improving and streamlining collaboration among campuses to address EIT accessibility needs.