Accessibility Statements

It’s almost that time of year when philosophers involved in teaching will begin preparing for the new semester. For some people, the tasks include writing an accessibility statement, the main purpose of which is to inform disabled students of the various provisions and services available to enable their learning. Shelley Tremain has some great reflections on accessibility statements over at Discrimination and Disadvantage:

Accessibility statements can be mechanisms that promote social justice and equality for disabled people or they can be mechanisms to constrain such social change. Faculty must begin to recognize the transformative potential of these statements, rather than continue to regard them as rudimentary university policies. Think about your accessibility statement and what it does. Search the web to find examples of the accessibility statements that experts in the area of disability and accessibility in higher education (such as disability studies scholars Jay Dolmage, Margaret Price, and Stephanie Kerschbaum, among others) use in their courses. Devote time to compose an accessibility statement that conveys to your students that each of them is valued equally. Discuss your accessibility statement and its implications and assumptions with members of your classes at the beginning of each semester and on other occasions over the course of the semester. Review and revise your statement often.

Does anyone know if accessibility statements are required in the UK? I’m UK-based and I’ve not been asked to produce one…

Read the rest of Shelley’s excellent post, and go join in the discussion here.

3 thoughts on “Accessibility Statements

  1. I’m not sure if they’re required. I was an American student and I know that every syllabus I got for classes here contained them. I studied abroad for a semester at Trinity College in Dublin and I can’t recall whether or not they were included there. I do know that they offer services to students with disabilities that are easy to access. I have JRA so I use services occasionally. I feel it would never hurt to let your students know that you value all of them regardless of the various challenges they may face :)

  2. It’s not required to my knowledge. When I started at Manchester, at induction DSO came out and gave a bunch of frankly insane requirements with no support of any kind (all our materials had to be accessible to 6 distinct kinds of disability but no training!). It was just clearly words. I suggested that they supply accessibility statements etc. and they suggested I provide them with one.

    Not good.

    They are v. good reactively. That is if you get the student to them they will support them fairly well (at least in my experience). But strategic stuff like this doesn’t seem to be their metier.

  3. It’s worth noting that some colleges and universities that do require them have “standard” statements. I added more language to the one on my syllabus than my college requires, and received a request from the Dean to use the standard statement (which I thought was insufficient).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s