SLT Profile: College Accessibility Team

GRCC’s College Accessibility Team (CAT) team formed in 2016 as part of our accessibility efforts on campus. The CAT is a cross-college team including representatives from faculty, IT, facilities, administration, DSS and others.

Team members include:

  •   Lina Blair, Student Life and Conduct
  •   Cathy Kubiak and Jessica Berens, Human Resources
  •   Dave Anderson, Nathan Hamilton, and Simon Kittok, Information Technology
  •   Dave Selmon, Academic Outreach
  •   Don VanOeveren and Katie Vandermeer, Computer Information Systems
  •   Lori Cook, Enrollment Center
  •  Jim Vandokkumburg, Facilities
  •  Leah Nixon, Communications
  •  Kimberly DeVries and Deven Swanigan, General Counsel
  •  Misty McClure-Anderson, President’s Office
  •  Rebecca Allington, Disability Support Services
  •  Sarah Rose, Occupational Support
  •  Scott Mattson, Job Training
  •  Steven Putt, Library and Learning Commons
  •  Victoria Janowiak, Finance and Administration
  •  William Faber and  Meegan Willi, Center for Teaching Excellence

This team is tasked with monitoring accessibility concerns and progress across campus and reporting those issues back to the cross-college group. The team communicates about potential areas of improvement and has collaborated on improving some of these areas.

The team has discussed and suggested improvements on methods for tracking accessibility concerns, routing of accessibility questions, and website improvements to aid in directing those who have questions. Various areas who work directly with accessibility, like facilities and DSS, often provide updates on their work so the team can help spread the message about progress and improvements.

Last year the team facilitated a community member’s request for a ramp near the Ford Field House; through the CAT, this request was forwarded to facilities, who examined the feasibility of the request and ultimately had the ramp constructed in response. Communicating this request through the CAT enabled the broader team to see the process, provide input, and spread the word about the improvement.

The team also discusses big-picture concepts related to college goals, including several conversations about universal design, the idea that an area be accessible to anyone as is, without having to institute specific accommodations. Last winter the team took a trip to the new Mary Free Bed YMCA to view the universal design concept of their building. After the tour, representatives from the developers came to visit our team to discuss how to incorporate universal design into our long-term facility planning.

Any questions or suggestions for the CAT can be directed to Kimberly DeVries, Director of Equal Opportunity and Compliance, at (616) 234-2120 or kimberlydevries1@grcc.edu. We are always happy to accept input on topics. You can also contact us if you are interested in joining our work!

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