Students, faculty, staff and visitors at NIU expect and should be afforded the opportunity to fully participate in campus-wide activities—inside and outside the classroom. NIU has an established the goal of a campus that ensures a safe and welcoming environment to all who study, work and socialize here, above and beyond what is required by law.
The design and maintenance of any built environment should address the diversity of the groups served by such physical spaces. NIU is proud of its commitment to diversity in terms of student, faculty, and staff recruitment and retention, and is equally committed to serving the diverse physical, sensory, learning, attention, and communicative needs of our constituents.
Physical barriers are not the only impediments to full access; sometimes the first barriers to remove are the ones in our own minds. This tutorial invites our academic community to become more aware, knowledgeable, and comfortable when working with students who have disabilities. At NIU, between 2011 and 2013, the number of students who registered for disability support services more than doubled. Learning disabilities have become the most common challenge to address.
I invite my colleagues to consider accessibility at the inception of their course design and classroom strategies. Please use the resources identified in this tutorial and NIU's Accessibility Portal to help remove barriers wherever you may find them.
Douglas Baker President Northern Illinois University