Enhancing Accessibility in Post-Secondary Education Institutions
Designing PSE Institutional Disability Policies Resources
The following resources and references are best practice examples derived from Canadian colleges/universities and disability organizations on how to design and develop responsive disability policies within PSE institutions.
- Humber College has two policy documents:
The institutional policy was created by Humberís Manager of Human Rights and Diversity in consultation with the Accessibility Committee which consists of representatives from faculty, administration, staff and students with disabilities. It was developed to reflect the standards of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the accessible customer service standards of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. To view Humberís AODA Customer Service Policy and other AODA related documents such as Humberís Customer Service Accessibility report visit http://hrs.humber.ca/aoda/
The creation of Humberís departmental policies and procedures document, that covers the specifics of academic accommodation, was a two-year process involving all members of the Disability Services team. Initial research was conducted by surveying existing policy documents of colleges and universities in Canada and the U.S. The staff ensured the policy kept with the principles of the Ontario Human Rights Code and the specific directives of the Ontario Human Rights Code Guidelines to Accessible Education. Close attention was paid to ensuring that the document was written in plain, accessible language, and that it covered all parties involved in the accommodation process. Final approval of the policies and procedures document was granted by the Collegeís administration. The complete policies and procedures manual can be found at http://www.humber.ca/disabilityservices/pnp/
- At Memorial University, Ruth North (nee Walsh) and Dr. Donna Cox completed an analysis of institutional policies for students with disabilities at 47 Canadian universities. They then created a framework for higher education disability policy development and comparison which was used to develop Memorialís Policy. It was also published in the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability.
Reference: Cox, D. & Walsh, R (1998, Summer). Questions to consider in policy development for postsecondary students with disabilities [Special International Issue]. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability (2), 51-66.
During the policy development stage, Memorial held broad consultations with students, faculty, staff, the administration, and the Dean of Student Affairs and Services Advisory Committee for Students with Disabilities which includes representatives from student groups, selected university departments, provincial government departments, and local cross disability community organizations. Between 2007 and 2009, the policy and procedures were reformatted according to the new template that was adopted by the University through the Policy Office. For more information, see: http://www.mun.ca/policy/
- Western University has an overarching ĎAccessibility at Western policyí which seeks to ensure all persons with disabilities, including staff, students, faculty and visitors have open and unhindered access to all aspects of the University. Additionally, Western has a policy on Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities which summarizes the process of requesting, granting and making arrangements for academic accommodations. See both policies here http://accessibility.uwo.ca/policies.htm.
- The British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development developed the following Guidelines for the Accommodation of Students with Disabilities Attending Post-Secondary Education in British Columbia, released in 2009. http://www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentaidbc/schoolofficials/documents/disability_services_framework.pdf