Advancing Accessibility in Procurement with the HECVAT


Presented at 2:15pm in Penrose 2 on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.



  • Kyle Shachmut, Director, Digital Accessibility , Harvard University
  • Eudora Struble, Director, Technology Accessibility, Wake Forest University

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Interactive/Discussion
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: General Conference


Learn how campus purchasers and vendors can use a free toolkit to streamline information sharing while working toward digital inclusion! Consensus best practices for evaluating product accessibility are now in the Higher Ed Community Vendor Assessment Toolkit (HECVAT), a popular tool also assessing risk for security & privacy. Combining these multi-discipline reviews amplifies the importance of each, while sharing a data reporting toolkit streamlines the process for schools and vendors alike.


The session will share the HECVAT collaborative process and discuss the resulting questions, their themes, and the rationale behind them. This presentation and discussion are of interest to all institutions that procure technology as well as any businesses that provide technology to purchasers with accessibility requirements, like higher ed campuses.

Beyond technical reviews, presenters will share topics of organizational effectiveness and ways to use this framework as a catalyst for collaborating across IT domains with accessibility professionals within higher ed institutions. Many opportunities for feedback and discussion will be provided through facilitated group discussion.

This session will share updates to the HECVAT made in 2023–the first updates since accessibility was incorporated into the Toolkit. Feedback from institutions who use it for this purpose as well as vendors will be discussed with opportunities for discussion. 2023 areas of improvement to be unveiled before AHG include (1) Getting started help so that new users to the HECVAT may find easier ways to get started and use a tool that can be intimidating to newcomers (2) Analyst Support. Because the HECVAT was developed first with security in mind, many of the analysts that interpret results have an IT security background but are less familiar with accessibility. Additional supports have been included to help make novice accessibility reviewers more confident in interpreting and acting upon the data gathered from vendors through the HECVAT (3) Accessibility of the tool itself.

While the focus of the session will be the HECVAT, session leaders will reiterate frequently that using the HECVAT itself is not a requirement to follow any of the well-established practices that will be discussed in this session. Using the tool would make it easier to do so, but anyone attending will be able to take away insights that they can put into practice at their institutions should they choose.


  1. Twelve simple questions anyone can ask to assess if vendors can sustainably support campus accessibility
  2. Learn the latest HECVAT updates to support accessibility and how they help higher ed stakeholders & vendors
  3. Benefits of accessibility & security partnerships in product reviews, plus best practices for collaborations.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Administrative/Campus Policy, Procurement, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Kyle Shachmut

Kyle Shachmut is the Director of Digital Accessibility at Harvard University, providing strategic direction to digital accessibility efforts across Harvard’s schools. He frequently works at the intersections of information technology, disability inclusion and academic administration. He led creation of Harvard's Digital Accessibility Services team and collaborates with institutional leaders to guide governance of the University's Digital Accessibility Policy. Previously, his focus area included a universal design approach integrating accessibility into at-scale learning experiences through HarvardX—Harvard’s initiative that creates online courses through the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning. Beyond Harvard, Kyle is co-chair of the EDUCAUSE IT Accessibility Community Group, the largest affinity group for accessibility professionals in higher education. He has advocated for greater accessibility in community and professional associations for over a decade, advising local state and federal policymakers. In 2021, he received the 'Rising Star Award' among higher ed technology professionals from Educause. Kyle frequently consults speaks and writes about matters related to digital accessibility, public policy, technology in education, universal design and more.

Eudora Struble

Eudora Struble is Director for Technology Accessibility at Wake Forest University, facilitating engagement to make Wake’s vibrant digital environment more accessible for the entire community. Her work expands the accessibility skills and awareness of staff, faculty, and students, and informs campus strategy and policy. She is committed to leveraging accessibility to support diversity, inclusion, and a better future. Eudora currently serves as Co-Chair and a member of the Steering Committee for the EDUCAUSE IT Access Community Group and is Co-Chair of the North Carolina Higher Ed Digital Accessibility Collaborative.