Initiative spurs user-friendly technology

Sacramento State is stepping up efforts to make its information technology services and instructional materials accessible to persons with disabilities.

The move is part of the CSU system’s Accessible Technology Initiative. The three priorities of the initiative are: web accessibility, which will bring all campus web pages in compliance with accessibility standards; instructional materials accessibility, which will provide for textbooks and printed material, as well as electronic presentations, to meet accessibility standards; and accessible electronic and information technology procurement, which ensures that all products purchased will adhere to accessibility standards.

“Our goal is to have these services ready for all students, faculty, staff and the campus community, regardless of disability, before they need to ask for them,” says Spencer Freund, chair of the University Committee on Information Technology Accessibility. “For example, we would like the faculty to have their course syllabi, textbooks and non-print media in an accessible electronic format available for students to purchase before classes begin. Having our university web pages accessible to all members of the campus community is a priority as well.”

The University Committee on Information Technology Accessibility has established three sub-committees to address each of the three priorities. Each sub-committee must provide a plan for implementation to the Chancellor’s office by mid-June.

“Sacramento State is all about diversity and inclusion, and the University Committee on Information Technology Accessibility has taken its charge very seriously,” says Dean Emir Jose Macari, the deans’ representative to the committee. “The ideas that the faculty, staff and students have put forth have been incredible and have become the foundation for the committee’s work.”

Melissa Repa, acting co-director of Services to Students with Disabilities and co-chair of the Electronic and Information Technology Procurement sub-committee, agrees. “The committee is creating awareness of the Accessible Technology Initiative through campus-wide participation and coordination,” says Repa. “And the initiative will make the campus more accessible to everyone, regardless of abilities or disabilities.

“Accessible technology can be compared to curb cuts on sidewalks. Curb cuts make sidewalks accessible not only to people using wheelchairs, but those using wheeled book bags or on bicycles. And accessible technology such as captioned videos benefit people who are deaf, as well as those whose first language is not English.”

Future steps for the University Committee on Information Technology Accessibility over the next two years include product implementation and assessment.

For more information, visit www.csus.edu/accessibility.