August 2005 Office Report

Inclusion of Students With Disabilities in College and University Sponsored Activities Project - Guide Now Available

At the end of March, 2005 we completed the Inclusion Project. This one year initiative was supported through a contribution agreement from the Government of Canada's, Social Development Partnerships Program (SDPP). The project looked at the accessibility of extra-curricular activities for students with disabilities in Canadian colleges and universities. The project team – led by Chris Gaulin and Jennifer Dunn, with Jennison Asuncion as advisor – conducted focus groups with campus activity programmers and students in different regions of the country, developed and distributed two questionnaires across Canada, and held both a training session and a workshop during the weekend of the “Right On!” conference. An excellent publication has been developed called “Making Extra-Curricular Activities Inclusive – An Accessibility Guide for Campus Programmers.” This guide is available online -- in HTML, Word and PDF formats along with a project activity report -- and from the office: Partners in the project were the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities, and members of our board were on the advisory group. We will be promoting the guide throughout the next year. An article on the Inclusion Project, written by Jennifer Dunn, appears in the Spring 2005 issue of the NEADS Newsletter.

Access to Academic Materials For Post-Secondary Students With Print Disabilities Project - Final Report Now Available

The project Access to Academic Materials for Post-Secondary Students With Print Disabilities was also funded with support from the Social Development Partnerships Program. It was a sixteenth month initiative, starting in December, 2003, developed as a partnership between the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), the Council on Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadians and the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada (LDAC). The Canadian Association of Disability Service Providers in Post-Secondary Education (CADSPPE) and Adaptech also participated in the project as advisors. Our steering committee included students (representatives from our board), librarians and disability service providers. Board member reps. were Rachael Ross, President and Robin Drodge, our previous Newfoundland and Labrador Rep. The research team was led by consultants Liam Kilmurray, Neil Faba and Laurie Alphonse. The overall goal of the project was to address issues relating to the acquisition of academic materials in formats of choice. Activities of the project included: meetings of the steering committee, a workshop at the national conference, the development of questionnaires that were distributed across Canada to students and service providers, a request for submissions from stakeholder groups: producers, service providers and NGOs; and research into the “current state” of alternate format materials production and distribution in the Canadian post-secondary system.

A final report was completed in May. It is now available on the NEADS website in Word, PDF and HTML versions: Copies can be ordered from the office. Now that the report is released, we will be continuing to work with all stakeholders, including the Council on Access to Information and Library and Archives Canada, LDAC and CADSPPE to see that the report and its recommendations are promoted.

NEADS Online Work System (NOWS)

Registration in our job site NOWS is growing steadily. We now have 52 employers that have joined NOWS and over 800 students and graduates with disabilities. A very successful demonstration of the NOWS site and its capabilities was delivered in Toronto in the middle of March at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel. About 55 people participated through the day in the employer luncheon and student dinner. We also made a presentation on NOWS at the June conference of the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers held in Ottawa.

2004 National Conference – “Right On!”

Our 2004 national conference was a great success, with over 200 delegates participating. Thanks to our conference planning committee and Chair Jason Mitschele for putting on such a terrific event. A complete proceedings report is available on our conference website: along with audio and PowerPoint files from workshop presentations. An article on the conference, prepared for Jobpostings Magazine, appears in the Spring 2005 newsletter.

Funding From BMO Nesbitt Burns Through "Equity Through Education": Job Search Strategies Forums

In May BMO Nesbitt Burns announced it would be providing NEADS with a generous donation through its Equity Through Education Program. The proceeds raised on May 11th for Equity Through Education will be shared with seven non-governmental organizations in Canada and the United States that support education and diversity. The other groups in this country are the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation, the Foundation for the Advancement of Aboriginal Youth and Pathways to Education. The funding from BMO Nesbitt Burns will be used by NEADS to support a series of “Job Search Strategies” workshops across the country over the next two years.

During our board of directors meeting, held in June in Ottawa, NEADS board members welcomed Stephen McDonnell, Senior Manager, Diversity and Workplace Equity, BMO Financial Group and Murray McGuire, Director, Product Management, Trade Finance Internal Group, BMO Nesbitt Burns. Stephen and Murray presented NEADS with a cheque representing our portion of the proceeds raised through Equity Through Education. Thank you BMO Nesbitt Burns!

For more information on this exciting project and announcements about upcoming forums keep checking our website.

Frank Smith, National Coordinator
National Educational Association of Disabled Students
Rm. 426 Unicentre, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6
tel. (613) 526-8008