About the Office of Accessibility and ADA Education
The Office of Accessibility and ADA Education works to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment at the University of Missouri (MU) for people with disabilities, free of physical, programmatic, informational, and attitudinal barriers. This environment includes the University's governing policies and procedures, access to employment and employment services, academic programs, physical facilities, information technology, and other University programs, activities, and services.
Toward broader goals of inclusion, we emphasize universal design so that University programs, activities, and services are readily available to as many people as possible. In other words, we support the full integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of University life. These are diversity issues, which is why the position is organizationally located within the Division of Inclusin, Diversity and Equity.
Our role is collaborative and supportive. It's also based on the responsibilities MU has under the law. These laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Missouri Human Rights Act. The ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require MU to designate a coordinator of compliance activities. The director serves in both these capacities.
We listen and welcome your insights and advice. Our staff listens to individuals in the campus community who have recommendations, questions, concerns, or require information about disability-related issues at MU.
We take action. The Disability Inclusion and ADA Compliance Manager helps address and resolve campus-wide, group, and individual matters related to disability and disability compliance. Our staff advocates for people with disabilities at MU through many committees, projects, events, programs and activities throughout campus including the Chancellor's Committee for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD), Campus Planning Committee, MU Career Services Council, Chancellor's Military and Veterans Committee, Celebrate Ability Week Planning Committee, Campus Mediation Service, and the University Hospital Patient-Friendly Advisory Council. The director also serves on several City of Columbia boards and commissions, and networks with social service and civic organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce, United Way Safety Net Committee, Columbia Northwest Rotary, and major area and state disability support and advocacy agencies.
We work with major MU Units on accessibility issues. We maintain regular contact with Campus Facilities, the Division of Information Technology, Residential Life, Parking and Transportation, Human Resource Services, and other campus disability support resources, including the Disability Center, Adaptive Computing Technology Center, Great Plans ADA Center, and the Employee Assistance Program.
We provide leadership and assistance with job accommodation requests from faculty, staff, and students. We work across the campus to receive, analyze, gather documentation, and make recommendations for disability-related job accommodations. These can range from the acquirement of ergonomically suitable equipment, to ensuring employees receipt of job-related information in accessible formats, or coaching and training about working relationships affected by disability. Persons seeking job accommodations should contact our office.
We provide education and training services. We provide tailored education and training about all disability-related issues to any campus unit, including student organizations.
We provide additional support for students with disabilities. The director serves as the advisor to an umbrella organization of MU students with disabilities, supports Tiger Wheelchair Basketball, and welcomes any other opportunities to provide similar support.
We have a long way to go to achieve this vision, but here's what we hope to see in the not-too-distant future:
MU is a recognized leader in postsecondary education for students with disabilities, and also a recognized leader in employing people with disabilities. Academic accommodations are commonplace, as are expectations and results for successful academic performance by students with disabilities. In fact, we rarely use the term “accommodations.” Much of this is achieved through adoption of Universal Design principles, so that accommodations as such are much less frequently needed.
The percentage of enrolled MU students who have disabilities approximates the percentage of enrolled postsecondary students in Missouri who have disabilities. Students with disabilities who graduate from MU join the mainstream of working Americans with college or graduate degrees. The percentage of MU faculty and staff who have disabilities approximates the percentage of people with disabilities in Missouri as a whole, and these percentages are reflected from the top ranks down.
Students, faculty, and staff with disabilities feel comfortable and confident in discussing their disabilities, because people with disabilities are welcomed rather than stigmatized at MU, and because workplace flexibility is readily provided, typically, as with students, through adoption of Universal Design employment practices, and family-friendly employment practices. MU is a model employer of faculty, staff, and students with disabilities.
MU alumni and visitors with disabilities consistently recognize and appreciate the accessibility of campus programs, activities, and services. They feel welcomed at MU.
Disability is as important an element of anti-discrimination, inclusion, and diversity initiatives at MU as are race and gender. The importance is reflected in the University's resource allocations. Compliance with the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act receives ongoing top-level institution-wide attention.