Voices from the Field: Purdue University Calumet
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Web Accessibility Coordinator
Purdue University Calumet
Purdue University Calumet launched its formal Web Accessibility initiative in earnest in January, 2012. University Relations Web developers had been incorporating accessibility whenever they could, for years, but now we have an official Web Accessibility Policy handed down by our parent school, Purdue University in West Lafayette. The Policy is based on Section 508 and it includes very definite goals, milestones and deadlines. The initiative has full support from Chancellor Thomas Keon and senior leaders, as well as the Office of Equity & Diversity and Human Resources. And, importantly, we were given a budget which allowed for the hiring of a Web Accessibility Coordinator, two part time workers, and the purchase of an automated evaluation tool (HiSoftware's Compliance Sheriff) to help in documentation and benchmarking. We formed two committees and began efforts to raise awareness and provide training for staff and faculty. And we reached out to Web site owners and content editors.
- Twice a month email from the executive sponsor to the entire campus, detailing progress and spotlighting a culture change
- Periodic articles in the campus newspaper and the Chancellor'rsquo;s electronic newsletter
- An "Accessibility Awareness Day" as part of the observation of Indiana Disability Awareness Month in March.
- Introduction to Web Accessibility sessions to explain what we're doing and why -- open to all
- Classes on creating accessible documents
- Information and instruction about creating accessible multimedia
- Web Accessibility principles emphasized in training on the use of our content management system (WordPress)
- Meetings with small groups, departments and individuals to help them bring their sites into compliance with our Policy, to show them how to use Compliance Sheriff, and how to evaluate their own sites
- Part time workers caption short videos and retrofit documents on request
- A Web site with best practices, tips and resources is kept up to date
- Web Accessibility Partners are recognized each week and each month--a site team or an individual who has found a way to solve a problem or has shown commitment and dedication to making their sites compliant gets the spotlight
- Five students with expertise in the use of various forms of assistive technology are on the committee as advisors and three were hired part-time to help us evaluate Web content
- Future plans include self-guided online training courses in Web Accessibility principles