Acadia Accessible Learning Services is hosting Accessibility Week March 11-14. This is the second year for them to host the event and the week’s goal is to bring awareness on accessible learning on and off campus. Events and presentations are open to students, faculty, staff and community members.
“We wanted to develop events that allow for us to learn collectively about accessibility,” says accessible learning coordinator, Abu Kamara.
Accessibility Week promotes inclusion and strategies that make accessible learning possible in a university setting. Discussions focus on accessible technology such as screen readers, and software that translates text into speech and vice versa, as well as other technology utilized as learning tools in higher education.
Acadia’s Accessible Learning Services organized Accessibility Week for the first time last year, receiving positive feedback. This year, organizers hope to attract more people and delve deeper into important discussions about accessible learning in a variety of settings. Themes explored this year include disability access in higher education, libraries, and the labour force. Kamara says these are important themes that explore accessibility both inside and outside higher education.
“Last year we had a guest speaker from the provincial government come and talk about the implications of the new accessibility legislation,” says Kamara. “This legislation gives direction on how the province will identify several key areas of focus, such as ensuring physical spaces are accessible to all and making sure the way we communicate is inclusive.”
Kamara says the discussion continues to be relevant this year as the new legislation not only applies to education but also tackles the transition from higher education into the labour force from an accessibility perspective.
Presentations this year include an update from the Town of Wolfville Accessibility Advisory Committee, and presentations from Autism Nova Scotia and the Neil Squire Society, among other guests.
See the full schedule and presentation details below:
DISABILITY ACCESS IN HIGHER EDUCATION: CONSIDERING ITS MEANING AND REALIZING ITS PROMISE
CYNTHIA BRUCE, SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
MONDAY, MARCH 11, 2019
ELLIOT HALL, ROOM 303
Acadia is in the midst of a process of strategic planning; and like many Canadian universities, we are grappling with how to meaningfully realize our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Commonly absent from discussions of diversity is disability. We talk about how to accommodate its presence in university spaces, and we often engage in contentious debate related to the mitigation of its demands on teaching and evaluation. This session aims to expand understandings of access beyond academic accommodation as a means of opening conversations about what it means to seriously consider disability as diversity. How can we, as faculty and staff, contribute to the valuing of disabled identities through our teaching and engagement with students? In what ways can we lead Atlantic Universities in making space for disability by understanding it as a social, cultural, and political issue and phenomenon? How is this relevant to the everyday work of teaching and learning? Come join the discussion on March 11 and become part of the vital work of disability access at Acadia and beyond!
AUTISM NOVA SCOTIA READY, WILLING AND ABLE INITIATIVE
TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2019
FOUNTAIN COMMONS, ALUMNI ROOM 206
Holly MacLellan from Autism Nova Scotia will be giving a presentation describing the Ready, Willing & Able initiative. RWA is a national initiative designed to increase the labour force participation of people with intellectual disabilities and people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and to develop inclusive and effective workplaces. Holly will explain how the project works, what it looks like locally, and how employers and job seekers can participate in the project."
After speaking about RWA, Holly will also give a brief run-down of the other programs and services offered through Autism Nova Scotia.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION WORKSHOP ON CAREER BULIDING
TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2019
ELLIOTT HALL, ROOM 303
Meaningful work. Diversity and inclusion. Career opportunities. Innovation and collaboration. Leadership. Mobility. If this sounds appealing, the Government of Canada has what you are looking for! We offer thousands of opportunities in a variety of fields, in numerous federal government organizations, across the country.
Full-time student looking for a full-time or part-time work opportunity? Explore your interests, enrich your academic program and get insight into a career as a federal public servant, apply to the Federal Student Work Experience Program.
Graduate or graduating soon? The Post-Secondary Recruitment (PSR) program is a virtual gateway, offering college or university graduates career opportunities throughout the year with a peak in the fall. We are currently hiring in science and engineering and technical fields, trade and labour.
Representatives from the Public Service Commission (PSC) will be available to answer your questions regarding the recruitment process.
ACCESSIBILITY IN THE LIBRARY: PROJECTS AND PARTNERSHIPS TO FURTHER ACCESS AND INCLUSION FOR ALL
MAGGIE JEAN NEILSON
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2019
As the information hub of Acadia University, the Library plays the main role in connecting its students, staff, and faculty with the materials and resources they need for coursework and research. A part of this crucial responsibility is ensuring that the Library is accessible and inclusive both physically and digitally. As the EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Coordinator of the Library, Maggie’s work revolves around exploring and implementing ways through which the library can provide the best service to a wonderfully varied patron base. In this session, Maggie will chat about a number of projects and initiatives that are taking place in the library, from an eBook partnership with the Accessible Learning Office to off-site reference service for Indigenous students. Please join us to learn more about how we can meet the needs of our diverse campus together!
TOWN OF WOLFVILLE ACCESSIBILITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13
Members of the Town of Wolfville’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC) will reflect on their journey that led to the creation of the Town’s first Accessibility Plan. They will speak about their successes, challenges, and future opportunities. They will also address practical matters, such as the composition of the AAC, the community consultation process, and the limitations of the committee’s advisory role.
COURTNEY CAMERON & CHARLES LEVASSEUR
THURSDAY, MARCH 14
The Neil Squire Society is the only national not-for-profit organization in Canada that has for over thirty years empowered Canadians with disabilities through the use of computer-based assistive technologies, research and development, and various employment programs. Through our work, we help our clients remove barriers so that they can live independent lives and become active members of the workplace and our society. During our presentation we will share a brief history of our organization, give a demonstration of some common assistive technologies while highlighting their positive potential for users in education and in the workplace, talk about our Makers Making ChangeInitiative and end by talking about our own Assistive Technology device, LipSync, a mouth controlled input device which enable people with little or no hand movement to operate a touchscreen device.