Leading the Way in Accessibility for All
From being the first university to devote a program to rehabilitating children and young adults with disabilities to recently ranking first in the nation in an assessment of how accessible its websites are to people with disabilities, the University of Iowa has a long history of working to provide equal access for everyone on campus.
The UI has high standards for accessibility on campus, supported by the implementation of its Measuring Accessibility Points Plan and Standards (MAPPS) program. The program goes beyond compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and embraces the concept of universal design, or thoughtful problem-solving through design, for all aspects of a building. The model includes an extensive checklist of seven guiding accessibility considerations and provides a thorough project design framework that includes a rating system. Facilities Management has developed an online training program called Universal Design for Physical Space to help provide the university community with a better understanding of what the concept entails and the benefits of designing a built environment focused upon being inviting and supportive to all people. This training is available through UI Employee Self Service.
In addition, the Hawkeye Accessibility Ambassador (HAA) Program allows students with disabilities the opportunity to advance their leadership and advocacy skills by creating university facilities that are more universally designed, inclusive, and supportive of individuals with disabilities. Since the program’s inception in 2012, ambassadors have reviewed facilities within the College of Pharmacy, Main Library, College of Engineering, University Counseling Services, Lindquist Center First Floor Renovation, Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, and College of Law. HAA founders and advisors include Brian Manternach, facilities accessibility coordinator for Facilities Management; Carly Armour, disability advisor for Student Disability Services; and Mike Hoenig, program coordinator with the Center for Disabilities and Development. The program was launched with support from the Chief Diversity Office Diversity Catalyst Seed Grant.
“The UCS made several changes to our physical environment as a result of what we thought was a very thorough and very thoughtful process,” says Dr. Barry Schreier, director of University Counseling Service. “Many of the changes had ease to them in terms of costs and process. Highly recommend this!”
The Disability Planning and Action Committee (DPAC), convened by the ADA coordinator within the Chief Diversity Office, coordinates all the UI’s efforts to provide access to members of the university community with disabilities.
An overview of programs, student groups, and resources may be found online at Diversity at Iowa Community of Persons with Disabilities: diversity.uiowa.edu/disability-resources, accessible through the University of Iowa footer.
Learn more: now.uiowa.edu/2013/04/bringing-people-hearing-assistance-needs-loop
Discovering campus through a different lens: tinyurl.com/kfow2wz
Campus accessibility map: maps.facilities.uiowa.edu/accessibility/
Hearing Loop map: maps.uiowa.edu/amenity/hearing-loop-system
Access and Construction Alerts: facilities.uiowa.edu/closures
Student Disability Services: sds.studentlife.uiowa.edu/
Hawkeye Accessibility Ambassador Program: uiowa.edu/haa/