Making CAFNR More Accessible

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

In recognition of October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we would like to share some information and resources with our CAFNR community. Helping create a diverse and inclusive community in CAFNR is one of our Strategic Priorities, and inclusion of and accessibility for those with disabilities is something we can all help with!

Mizzou has a number of resources to help make sure our CAFNR environment is accessible, whether virtual or in real-life. In addition, we encourage everyone to learn more by listening to a podcast from Cornell University on Disability Employment Awareness. (Transcript is also available online.)

Accessible work

To start, Mizzou’s Disability Center has a great list of ideas to help with digital accessibility and accessible considerations for events. Do you help create events or flyers, web content, emails, social media and/or videos? This page has tips and tricks for you. [One “must” we’d add here in CAFNR Communications is to make certain that if you have an image with text on it for an event invitation email, for example, that you repeat that text also in the body of the email. Screen readers can’t read text that is part of an image – it just reads it as a generic image. (This also helps anyone who can’t download the image for any reason!)]

Mizzou’s Division of IT has also put together a “Digital Access” site with many additional resources for specific project types – spreadsheets, PDFs, presentations, etc. They have also a number of training opportunities, both within Mizzou and external.

Accessible workspaces

The Office of Accessibility and ADA is here to help with workplace accommodations, accessibility evaluations and improvements. (For students, the Disability Center is their resource for accommodations.) The office can provide trainings on Disability Awareness 101, Reasonable Accommodations (for supervisors or a quick overview for staff), making your events accessible and on service animals. Evaluations can be performed to help plan the accessibility of an event, evaluating a space to ensure wheelchair accessibility and emergency planning walkthroughs to discuss procedures for faculty, staff or students with disabilities. You can even report a campus accessibility barrier with a quick form online.

The Adaptive Computing Technology Center on campus has many resources to share to help make certain work stations are accessible to those with specific needs. Employees can make free and confidential appointments with experts to assess what might make a workspace more accessible in regards to abilities, technology skills, medical needs, etc. A written summary of recommendations and resources can be emailed to the employee’s supervisor upon request. We encourage all supervisors to share this resource with any new (or existing!) employees. The center also offers ergonomic evaluations. Mizzou Parking and Transportation provides accessible parking information.

Get involved!