Tackling Consent Decree – Atlantic Cape Community College
It was very daunting but it was something that, in looking at it, it was kind of a blueprint into making the college, the ideal to making the college completely accessible. I realized that 100 percent accessibility is really difficult and probably not attainable. We had a blueprint in front of us that sort of spelled out exactly how we should do it. So, it enabled us to sort of reach out to other institutions that had been there before us, that had done it really well. It enabled us to reach out to some consultants in the industry that had worked with other universities on figuring all that stuff out. So, we just jumped headfirst into this world and started from the ground up. We didn’t really know how to really test a lot of this stuff. So, we hired a blind student to test everything. So, we brought in a student, we paid him as a consultant, and he came in and in the very beginning we ran everything we did through this student. We had started training. That was really the first thing we tried to do is to educate the faculty and to start to teach them how to make their content accessible. I guess at that point, we were relying 100 percent on the office accessibility checkers but there was really no validation or they weren’t using office for some reason. We looked at the process though and we looked at where we needed to implement different stages of the process. Also, they brought on a part time employee just for the academic side of things. So, just for faculty support. That helped me out a lot as opposed to just coming directly to one person. Now, we have a few people, then instructional technology was helping out a lot with giving direction. We made a web page strictly for resources where faculty can read up on things on their own, so they didn’t have to keep reaching out to us especially for things that we felt were a little more simpler, concepts to really understand and get. So, that helped out. So, all these different channels and buckets we really started to fill. Once those buckets got filled a little more, it was easier to get things done and then we just kept educating ourselves. So, we went through professional development for ourselves. We have two people on staff now that are certified for accessibility. So, we took courses in professional development, we spoke to vendors, we brought vendors in, we went to conferences, all these different things, anything that we could do to gain more experience quickly. Once we’d gain that, we’d bring it back and disseminate that information as much as possible. That was really the plan. We just keep going with that, I guess. Right. The process doesn’t end. No, it never ends and it never will. That’s a message we say to faculty too about their courses. It’s never going to end. You’re not just going to be fully accessible one day because anytime you bring in a new piece of equipment, you want to have accessibility in mind. Whatever that content might be. Now, we have a whole system in place that’s really enabling us to ensure these students have access to fully accessible content. Then if they don’t, there’s a process for making that accessible, both in the student side and the faculty side. Join the tour along with the rest of the Ally community at tour.ally.ac. You can catch the latest updates on Instagram and Twitter at #AllyTour2019. And listen to stories of inclusion from our Community Champions on the Ally Tour 2019 podcast series, available on SoundCloud or in your favorite podcast app. We look forward to seeing you at the next stop on the road to IncluCity.