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University and Athens communities invited to discuss disability strategic plan

The Presidential Advisory Council on Disability and Accessibility Planning (PACDAP) invites the Ohio University community to provide their comments and feedback on a proposed 10-year strategic plan aimed at addressing improvements to the University’s accessibility efforts.

The PACDAP group was re-charged in 2012 by President Roderick J. McDavis with the aim of identifying ways in which Ohio University can comply with state and federal disability laws to remove barriers and to enhance the OHIO experience for individuals living with disabilities, both in educational and employment settings.

The Council has drafted the Ohio University Disability Strategic Plan for Inclusion and Accessibility 2014-2024 and now invites the University community and the Athens community to join in the conversation. A public forum will be held Tuesday, May 13, from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Baker University Center 242. The forum will be streamed live at http://www.ohio.edu/mediaserver/live.cfm?videoid=7e1714f38d2c for those unable to attend in person. Public comment may also be made through the PACDAP webpage for two weeks following the forum.  

The strategic initiative priorities outlined in the 2014-2024 plan include:

1.  Leadership: To develop sufficient leadership within Ohio University that is inspirational in its practice, collaborative in its approach and resolute in its commitment to create pathways for those living with disabilities to experience themselves as welcomed, wanted and needed members of the Ohio University community.

2.  Assessment: To develop a comprehensive assessment strategy, including the identification and utilization of the criteria in the measurement and review of progress, towards the realization of Ohio University’s vision of inclusion and accessibility through its goal-planning process.

3.  Inclusion Goal: To create a national and international recruitment and retention program specifically focused on reaching those living with disabilities who desire to be students and those living with disabilities who choose to be employees of Ohio University.

4.  Communication: Develop and implement an ongoing communication strategy that encourages, engages, educates and empowers all Ohio University community members to embrace the emerging paradigm for the work of inclusion and accessibility.

5.  Universal Design and Assistive Technology: To incorporate universal design principles and assistive technology resources as fundamental components of all planning and delivery aspects associated with the operations of Ohio University so that the University experience is qualitatively seamless for persons of all abilities.

6.  Funding and Resources: To develop and sustain a funding stream that meets the needs and exceeds the expectations of students, faculty and staff, enabling all to have the opportunity to fully participate in the Ohio University experience.

The plan provides initiatives for each priority and strategies that describe how they could be realized.
Smaller feedback groups were conducted with several units and departments across the University, as well as community agencies, in advance of the public forum. During those sessions, the smaller groups were asked to consider if any initiatives or strategies were missing from the plan, if individual areas were sufficiently represented in the plan, and if any upcoming opportunities in their units might align with the PACDAP strategic plan.

“The vetting process has been inspiring,” said Dianne Bouvier, interim executive director in the Office for Institutional Equity and PACDAP co-chair. “Many conversations began with department leaders expressing their interest in being involved and ended with them naming action items they can take the lead on -- before the Plan is even completed. This is exactly what we hoped would happen.” 

Members of PACDAP now ask the University and the community to consider the same questions and bring their feedback to the May 13 open forum or provide their input through the PACDAP webpage.

“Input from as many individuals, departments, and organizations as possible is key to the success of the plan. We hope to hear many voices at the forum and to see further involvement of those participants once the plan is finalized,” added Carolyn Lewis, instructor in the Scripps College of Communication and PACDAP co-chair.