CfDC Minutes — January 2, 2013

Attending: Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (serving as Chair in Jack Bernard's absence); Jane Vincent; Barb Shoffner; Paul Guttman; Lloyd Shelton; Margaret Goebel; Joyojeet Pal; Christa Moran; Carolyn Grawi; Els Nieuwenhuijsen; Sally Lindsley.

Anna read the Mission Statement of the Council. Goals for the future were discussed: See listings below.

Mission

As we conclude our second decade, we look to our revised Mission Statement as a guide:

  • Promote the development of a physical and social environment that provides full access of programs, services, and facilities to every person in the University community (students, faculty, staff, guests).
  • Advance the University’s commitment to the quality of experience for all persons, including those with disabilities.
  • Act in an advisory capacity to recommend University programs and policies that assure full opportunity and access to qualified individuals with disabilities.
  • Advocate for the concerns of members of the University community who have disabilities.
  • Educate the University community by increasing our awareness of and sensitivity to all issues related to individuals who have disabilities.

Strategic Plan

The CFDC recently developed its first strategic plan, which contains the following key objectives:

  • Increase Awareness and Education, by:
    • Increasing general awareness about disability, and accessibility through education of various populations
    • Increasing specific information about disability among leadership, including University leadership and University Facilities leadership
    • Substantiating issues related to disability and accessibility
    • Mobilizing Resources
  • Promote Consistent University Disability Policy Interpretation, by increasing consistency in baseline interpretation of University policies related to non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation of faculty and staff with disabilities

View the entire plan »

Goal #1: Opening up meetings to interested individuals on other UM campuses

Information was presented about linking in Council meetings remotely to UMFlint (and possibly later UMDearborn as well). We will proceed slowly at first in beta mode and then see what works best. We could have Conference Call as backup if the primary method doesn't work. Joyojeet suggested Google Hangout (we would bring two computers with cameras to the next meeting and use screen in the room for projection). Other possibilities mentioned by Maureen Candy of SSD include Web Access, GooglePlus, and Skype. Carolyn mentioned a room in Mason Hall that UMInDS uses to connect with Flint with use of multiple screens. Mention was made of signing (SSD?). Joyojeet described Google Hangout being like "the Jetsons" or Skype with 5 or 6 people taking turns; if there were a presenter a PowerPoint could be sent in advance. Jane mentioned accessible classes at SSW and this could be a part of that project. Accessibility re: Palmer Commons was discussed should we choose to have set-up there (room is free and technical help is excellent).

Goal #2: Obtaining cross-pollination with other groups with common goals re: disability

We need to collaborate and unite with other groups such as MSA-DAC as well as various other UM units that work with topics related to disabilities (students at Festfall or MSA listing of mission statements), Adena's ADACO. We have to find commonality with diverse organizations and individuals, such as with mental health advocates. The AA community and the UM should have closer ties. We are very fortunate to have Councilwoman Sally Petersen as a member but we also have to do our own part to promote these closer ties.

Goal #3: Communication about accessibility issues with the rest of campus on their own terms

We need to get feedback from consumers as to what their immediate and long-term needs are. We need to try new social media to interest students in responding quickly (Twitter/texting/FaceBook), etc. when they want to give immediate feedback about accessibility issues or related areas of concern. We should also publicize our presenters this way. We could put future presentations on our website so that they would be noticed. Perhaps short tips in The Daily or The Record as to what the Council is doing or what we will have as a special presentation. Christa gave example of giving out chocolate kisses for captions in UMHS or praising a webmaster for an accessible website. Carolyn offered to blog in annarbor.com. We may need to establish a FaceBook page, perhaps or a Twitter address to aid in communicating.

Goal #4: Making the Council even more recognized and disability issues even more prominent

We should make an effort to contact the 3-D's (Deans, Directors and Department Chairs) to emphasize accessibility for all. If this is on their radar, the word will spread around campus. Law School has a good policy about accommodations, but for the other campus units it is optional, advertising accommodations seems to be not required. We would like to invite Regent Mark Bernstein to give a presentation, but we would need a bigger venue than the Huetwell Room because the audience would be much bigger than just our CfDC members. We might spread out our events throughout the year instead of just during the one Investing in Ability Week. Re: publicity in University Record and Michigan Daily--writing Letters to Editor would help.

There is a class on accessibility being proposed for the School of Information. If you are interested in seeing the contents of the curriculum when it is ready, please write a note to <joyojeet at umich.edu>. There will also be a speaker on Technology and International Development Regarding Disability Issues. Please send suggestions for speakers to Joyojeet

After the meeting, there were requests that this conversation be continued at the next meeting, as well.