How can faculty be encouraged to include accessibility topics in computing curriculum?

Date Updated

A variety of strategies to encourage faculty to include accessibility in the computing curriculum have been reported by students, faculty, administrators and other stakeholders. For example, this topic was discussed at Building Capacity to Increase the Participation of People with Disabilities in Computing, an AccessComputing-sponsored Capacity Building Institute (CBI) that was held December 5-7, 2016 in Seattle, WA. The CBI focused on making classes, departments, and organizations more welcoming and accessible to students with disabilities and encouraging educators to include accessibility in the computing curriculum. Attendees included computing faculty members and graduate students, computing students and professionals with disabilities, disability services professionals, and industry professionals from across the country.

When asked to identify specific strategies that could be used to encourage faculty to include accessibility in the computing curriculum their responses included the following:

  • Encourage department heads to promote accessibility and encourage faculty to follow suit and make it a priority.
  • Determine how accessibility can fit into already existing curriculum and courses and advocate for making small changes to these courses rather than designing new courses.
  • Offer faculty professional development on the topic.
  • Hire accessibility specialists that can work with faculty to change curriculum.
  • Identify staff who can serve as accessibility champions to prioritize and encourage change in departments.
  • Consider accessibility in tenure and promotion decisions. 
  • Bring people with disabilities into classes and department meetings to share their perspectives.
  • Present an award or recognition to faculty that have added accessibility to the curriculum. 

For more information about this topic, consult Teach Access.  You may also wish to consult the following Knowledge Base articles, Where can I find examples of engineering senior design projects that help individuals with disabilities?, How can you prepare engineering students to work with people with disabilities?, and What are some examples of engineering courses that teach about disability, accessibility, or universal design?