New Electronic and Information Technology Policy Helps University Ensure Accessibility
The University of Arkansas is implementing a new policy for campus regarding accessibility to electronic and information technology as part of its commitment to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities.
The policy is designed to help the university ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state laws, as well as technical standards published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the Worldwide Web Consortium. The policy also charges all employees on campus with responsibility for accessible electronic and information technology.
"Electronic and information technology" refers to information technology, equipment or interconnected systems used to create or maintain data or information. Examples include websites, digital content, eBooks, databases, learning management systems and classroom technology such as clickers.
"What we want to ensure is that people with a range of disabilities can navigate the university's electronic spaces and use digital learning materials with as close to the same ease of use and functionality as people without disabilities," said Donald Judges, vice provost for distance education. "Not only is maintaining accessible technology legally required, it's also the right thing to do to provide equal access and opportunity to our students, employees and community."
Judges led a committee of campus representatives in the development of the new policy.
Provost Jim Coleman has appointed an EIT Accessibility Committee to oversee implementation of the policy, develop procedures for addressing complaints regarding EIT accessibility, work with the university's general counsel on identifying accessible electronic and information technology to be procured by the university and conduct annual evaluations of the university's status regarding accessibility efforts.
The committee members represent key constituencies from across campus:
- Mark Rushing, University Relations (chair)
- Heidi Ann Scher, Center for Educational Access, Computing Activities Council
- Shelly Walters, Global Campus
- Debbie McCloud, Human Resources
- J'onnelle Colbert-Diaz, Equal Opportunity and Compliance
- Becky McCoy, Procurement
- Beth Juhl, University Libraries
- Paige Francis, Information Technology Services
- Chris Nixon, University Relations, Digital Communications Council
"Everyone deserves equal access to university resources, and the University of Arkansas is committed to providing that access," Rushing said. "Our role as a committee will be to ensure that university policy and guidelines in this area become reality across campus."
John Post, director of academic communications
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