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Information Technology

Digital Equity & Inclusion Week 2023

Explore, engage, and learn with us to enhance equity and inclusion through technology!

In collaboration with campus partners, UMass Amherst Information Technology is hosting its second annual Digital Equity and Inclusion Week this February. Between February 13 and 17, 2023, members of the campus community will have the opportunity to learn more about steps we can take to make UMass Amherst a more inclusive and accessible campus. This year’s schedule will focus on awareness and engagement.

 
  • Awareness: Elevating digital equity, accessibility, and inclusion as topics of campus-wide discussion.
  • Enablement: Expanding the range of activities, resources, and learning options to improve digital accessibility awareness, knowledge, and action.
  • Dialogue: Providing opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to engage in meaningful discussions and learning activities related to disability equity and digital inclusion.

Connect on Social Media

Follow IT on Twitter or Instagram to learn more throughout Digital Equity & Inclusion Week!

Share with friends and colleagues to spread the learning and help make our community better for everyone.

Schedule of Events


Keynote Speaker: Kate Sonka

Mark your calendar for our keynote session on Thursday, February 15 at 2 p.m.

Join Kate Sonka, Executive Director of Teach Access, to develop a further understanding of why teaching accessibility to our students is as important as teaching accessibly. Teach Access envisions a fully accessible future in which students enter the workforce with knowledge of the needs of people with disabilities and skills in the principles of accessible design and development, such that technology products and services are born accessible.

Kate Sonka has served as the Executive Director of Teach Access since 2019. She holds a Master's degree in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from DePaul University and has worked in higher education since 2009. Previously, Kate was the Assistant Director of Inclusion and Academic Technology at the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University where she worked to improve teaching and learning with technology through accessible course design and support, experiential learning, and training and mentorship for faculty members and students.

Kate's teaching experience includes an introduction to accessibility in the humanities course; first-year writing course for non-native English speakers; a study abroad program to China about language acquisition and global English; a study away program where students explored and met leaders in the film and creative industries in Los Angeles, USA; and the Teach Access Study Away program where students engaged with tech companies about accessibility in Silicon Valley, USA.

Kate Sonka

Monday, February 13

Digital Accessibility Toolkit: Join the Spring Makeover Challenge

Register for the Makeover Challenge

Asynchronous - available online during the Spring semester.

Join the challenge to explore accessibility strategies and apply them to one small chunk of content in your course. We also encourage you to share your reflections, strategies, and examples with your peers in the asynchronous discussion. In the new Digital Accessibility Toolkit, you will find accessibility strategies, on-demand tutorials, and resources in these accessibility categories: Course structure, Text and documents, audio and video, plain language, images and tables, colors and animation.


Creating an Accessible Podcast

Register for Creating an Accessible Podcast

10 a.m. In-person in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library Calipari Room

73 million Americans, or 26% of the US population, listen to podcasts monthly, and 17%, or 48 million people, listen weekly. If you’ve thought about doing your own podcast to promote your scholarship or research, but don’t know where to start or how to make it accessible, this workshop will walk you through the basics. We’ll cover how to plan, record, publish, and promote your podcast in a way that is accessible for all listeners.


 

UMass Allies for Illness and Disability Access (UMAIDA)
Employee Resource Group - February Meeting

Join UMAIDA's February Meeting

Noon Online

UMass Allies for Illness and Disability Access (UMAIDA) Network Promoting a supportive network and work environment that is inclusive and accessible for all individuals with lived experience of disability, deafness, illness (chronic and mental), injury, neurodiversity and their allies. The group also focuses on ways to support the recruitment, retention, professional development and career advancement of employees with disabilities.

 


 

3D Printing for Accessibility

Register for 3D Printing for Accessibility

3 p.m. In-person in the Digital Media Lab

The Digital Media Lab's 3D Print Services will introduce 3D printing, review 3D printed accessible objects, and review projects with a Q & A to follow.

Tuesday, February 14

Intro to Assistive Tech - In Person Hands On with ATC Tools

Register for Hands on Assistive Technology

10 a.m. In-person in the Assistive Technology Center (ATC)

This session is intended to introduce students, faculty, and staff to Assistive Technology (AT). Participants will learn more about AT and have access to explore some of the AT with Assistive Technology Center staff.


Lights, Cameras, Access: Tools and Tips for Digital Media Accessibility

Register for Lights, Camera, Access

1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Online

Accessible digital media is essential for people with disabilities, and is useful for everyone. In this workshop, participants will go beyond capturing audio and video to explore the barriers inaccessible digital media creates and how to avoid or remove them. Through activities and discussions, participants will learn how to identify accessible media and how to make new audio and video accessible from the start. Participants will also learn about tools and resources for creating accessible audio and video.

Wednesday, February 15

Drupal Book Module

Register for Drupal Book Module

10 a.m. - Noon Online

This presentation is intended for UMass web communications staff responsible for maintaining Drupal websites. The goal of the presentation is to showcase a way to recreate electronic documents, such as word and PDF files, as html pages using the book module. More often than not, electronic files aren’t accessible and can be a barrier to users of all levels. Recreating these files as web pages provides the largest benefit allowing them to be more easily edited and updated for administrators and more easily accessed by users.


Access in Tech Panel

Register for Access in Tech Panel

1-2:30 p.m. Online

We invite you to join a Conversations For Change panel discussion exploring accessibility in technology. The panel will feature three leaders working at the intersection of education, industry and accessibility to create technology that is broadly accessible and creates spaces that are truly inclusive to all. The discussion will address current accessibility challenges, areas of activism around accessibility, and ways to continue improving technology to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Thursday, February 16

Intro to Web Accessibility

Register for Intro to Web Accessibility

10 a.m. Online

Join ATC staff, Samm Delorey, to learn the basics of web accessibility. A quick content overview which can apply to websites, online courses, documents and social media.


Keynote Session: Kate Sonka

Register for Keynote

2 - 3 p.m. Online

Join Kate Sonka, Executive Director of Teach Access, to develop a further understanding of why teaching accessibility to our students is as important as teaching accessibly. Teach Access envisions a fully accessible future in which students enter the workforce with knowledge of the needs of people with disabilities and skills in the principles of accessible design and development, such that technology products and services are born accessible.

Virtual Presentation will be followed by Q & A

This session will be recorded and shared with registrants.

Friday, February 17

Catch the WAVE: How to perform web accessibility audit with WAVE Chrome extension

Register for Catch the Wave

10 a.m. online

Learn how to use the free Chrome extension WAVE to test your web work and make it more accessible.


Disability Celebration

Register for Disability Celebration

2 p.m. In-person celebration with food for participants

Join us to celebrate disability as diversity and share what we've learned and what we can proactively do to make our family more equitable for our disabled community.

 

UMass Amherst Stories

 
Marcie Savoie

Marcie Savoie

Digital Accessibility and Assistive Technology Specialist
UMass Amherst Information Technology

“Accessibility is important to me because by designing with accessibility in mind, whatever we create is likely to benefit a much larger group of people. I strongly believe that accessibility benefits us all.

Whether we are zooming in on a document to see it better, using the automatic door opener to get the door open because our hands are too full, or using the curb-cut into the sidewalk to enter or exit the street on a bicycle to avoid going over the curb, we all benefit from the accessibility.”

 


 

Samm Delorey wearing a shirt that says 'I wanna see feisty disabled people change the world'

Samm Delorey

Digital Accessibility and Assistive Technology Specialist
UMass Amherst Information Technology

“I am Samm Delorey. I run the Assistive Technology Center and have been part of UMass since I started my undergraduate career in 2006. I identify as having an invisible disability for which I rely on technological and social accessibility.

Sometimes it is a challenge to fully disengage from technology when I take a break. I know my mom-inbox grows throughout the workday so I will take a walk, get some sunshine, and use VoiceOver to read my emails to me. I rely so deeply on technical and social accessibility to perform at my best. Getting off the screen of my phone, even if I am still actively using it helps me lessen my stress even if I am still on mom duty.”

 


 

Lisa Modenos and her son

Lisa Modenos

Senior Lecturer
UMass Amherst University Without Walls (UWW) Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

“I have always loved teaching and transforming student perspectives, and have really prided myself in learning as much as I can to be a better instructor and be as inclusive as possible. And then I had a disabled son, who showed me how much more work I needed to do to reframe my own ableist perspectives and teaching methods and strategies too.

Apollo has helped me become a better teacher and continues to show me how important true accessibility is – that it is more than just including folx at the table, but instead about building a completely new table for all.”

Connect with Communities at UMass Amherst

See the Office of Equity and Inclusion for more information.
 

UMass Allies for Illness and Disability Access (UMAIDA) Network | Employee Resource Group

Promoting a supportive network and work environment that is inclusive and accessible for all individuals with lived experience of disability, deafness, illness (chronic and mental), injury, neurodiversity and their allies. The group also focuses on ways to support the recruitment, retention, professional development and career advancement of employees with disabilities.

UMass Faculty and Staff of Color Network | Employee Resource Group

Fostering connections and developing community for employees from underrepresented groups at UMass Amherst, and promoting an inclusive work environment.

UMass International Staff/Faculty Network | Employee Resource Group

Building connections, assisting in the transition to the University, and promoting a community and working environment for both new arrivals and long-time residents of the U.S., that is both welcoming and nurturing.

UMass Veterans Network | Employee Resource Group

Working to make UMass Amherst a workplace of choice for veterans, reservists, and guardsmen, while fostering a community to support and encourage networking, career development, and mentorship.

University Women's Network | Employee Resource Group

University Women’s Network (UWN) is a longstanding organization on the UMass Amherst campus that dedicates itself to promoting the personal and professional development of its members by networking, educating and supporting, and also collaborating with other campus organizations throughout the state, such as Massachusetts Women in Public Higher Education (MWPHE). Established in 1981 by then Vice Chancellor of University Relations, Deirdre Ling, UWN has maintained a tradition of support and encouragement for all University women in their endeavors and aspirations for over 40 years.

 

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