Action Item (as stated with DEI strategic plan launch in 2016)
The university will convene a DEI Facilities Working Group to establish campuswide guidelines for new construction and existing facilities that support a more accessible and inclusive physical environment. The working group will partner with units across campus whose missions support accessibility and inclusion.
DEI 1.0 Evaluation Update
Over the course of the five-year DEI Strategic Plan (DEI 1.0), the DEI Facilities Working Group expanded into the U-M Student IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) Board. The Student IDEA Board was formalized in Year Three, and is executing a wide array of initiatives to ensure that U-M’s infrastructure supports students (as well as faculty and staff) who are or may be impacted by barriers within the university culture relating to disability, accessibility or ableism. Using an approach the Board referred to as Universal Design for Living, members set about the work of creating an institution that is both accessible and proactive in all aspects. During Year Four and Year Five, the Provost Office planned and engaged key strategies to implement recommendations from the Board. While the work is ongoing, a number of recommendations have already been advanced:
- The university is centralizing disability resources into a single hub in a new central URL: disability.umich.edu. This clearinghouse of accessibility and accommodations for disabled students, faculty and staff offers comprehensive guidance for all units and individuals.
- A map of general fund buildings shows accessible routes, parking and building features. Training accessibility modules were introduced for new building project reviews, building inspectors, Facility User Network, and campus design managers.
- The Division of Public Safety & Security (DPSS) and other entities worked both independently and in collaboration to ensure greater accessibility to safety and emergency response.
- The Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT), in partnership with community members, developed and delivered numerous presentations on digital accessibility for instructors. Universal Design for Learning principles were introduced to LSA’s Science Learning Center, Sweetland Writing Center and Comprehensive Studies Program.
- Oluwaferanmi O. Okanlami, M.D., M.S. was named the new Director of Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) and oversees Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD), U-M Adaptive Sports & Fitness Program, and Testing and Accommodation Centers.
- The SSD improved communications through regular newsletters, emails from the director, and frequent updates to the SSD website. Three additional staff members were hired to reduce the student-to-advisor ratio. Implementation of the Accommodate data management system significantly advances the accommodations process and reduces the need for disclosure.
- To provide equal access to physical fitness and adaptive sports for all students with disabilities, the Division of Student Life (DSL) partnered with SSD to launch a new initiative: the Adaptive Sports and Fitness Program.
- New information on accessibility and accommodations for both prospective and admitted students was added to all Office of Undergraduate Admissions websites and brochures as well as to the recruitment/admissions websites of several schools and colleges.
- Additionally, the University presented a colloquial series entitled “Toward an Anti-Ableist Academy” in October 2021. This series included 11 sessions which “invite[d] the campus community to learn more about creating a welcoming University climate that actively works toward embracing disability culture and experiences” through open dialogue and discussion. The University will be presenting a mini series in October 2022 with the intention of continuing the conversation and efforts toward creating a more inclusive and accessible university community.
Responsibility: Office of the Provost and the Office of University Facilities and Operations