DELTA is excited to announce the official launch of its new accessibility team. Several DELTA staff members have been working together since the spring of 2021 to organize an official team devoted to leading DELTA’s accessibility initiatives, providing more accessible learning environments and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion throughout DELTA.
About one year ago, some DELTA colleagues began noticing a need for more concrete resources and processes for NC State faculty and DELTA staff to use when faced with accessibility-related issues. While DELTA has always prioritized accessibility as a whole and through individual leadership, DELTA staff felt it was time to make accessibility a more coordinated effort.
“Instead of having just one department responsible for the accessibility of our organization, we’re taking a cross-team approach,” says Instructional Designer and accessibility team member Caitlin McKeown. “We aim to be more collaborative and proactive with accessibility as a unit instead of being reactive when issues arise.”
By collaborating as a team, DELTA colleagues understood that they could combine their cross-departmental perspectives to broaden their knowledge of accessibility and better solve problems.
“Our team started off as casual conversations with people within DELTA about accessibility topics, and the more we talked, the more we realized how different our perspectives were and how much the other people were already solving problems we were having,” McKeown says. “Because DELTA does so many different things, it would be hard for one person to have expertise in every area of DELTA, so we’re bringing together people from across DELTA.”
Each of the four core team members bring their own unique expertise to the table. As an instructional designer, McKeown brings her experience in applying a universal design approach and an accessibility focus to meeting course learning objectives. Multimedia Development Team Lead David Tredwell brings his knowledge of multimedia design and development. Instructional Technologist Jill Anderson brings knowledge of NC State faculty needs and student engagement expertise. Associate Director of Data, Integrations and Custom Applications Jonathan Champ brings his knowledge of academic technology, accessibility guidelines and the technical side of the process.
Throughout the fall semester, the team has focused on developing its goals, plans and resources. The team is excited about its official launch with plans to be both proactive and reactive with accessibility initiatives.
To be proactive, the team plans to write articles for the Teaching Resources website and build the accessibility-related resources on the site. There are also plans to offer Lunch & Learn sessions on an ongoing basis, make presentations for the university’s digital learning team and create guides and templates as resources for DELTA colleagues. The team plans to be available to DELTA staff to review learning tools that DELTA considers adopting and provide feedback on their accessibility. The team plans to work with their colleagues in DRO and OIT to be an additional resource for NC State faculty who need help ensuring their course content is accessible to all students.
The new accessibility team encourages any DELTA staff member that is interested to get involved. The team plans to hold open meetings in the future for those who would like to join the conversation and share feedback. The team is creating an intake form for faculty and staff to request a consultation or review for accessibility.
“Our goal is to help our DELTA colleagues in any of the ways they feel they need support because these can be tricky and technical questions. We want to support and empower people to solve accessibility challenges and help make learning at NC State even better for all our students,” McKeown says.