Building Interdepartmental Relationships that Promote Change

Handouts Media

Presented at 9:15am in WB I on Friday, November 16, 2018.



  • Christa Miller, Associate Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, Virginia Tech

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference


Changing campus climate to better support disabilities requires a multi-pronged effort including policies, procedures, and requirements. However, it is nearly impossible to create change without building relationships with those who can make those changes. This session will focus on developing an action plan, identifying needs, and partners.


Creating a campus climate that embraces accessibility and designs for disabilities from the beginning is an on-going goal for many in the accessibility profession. Whether it is a large public institution, small private institution or multi-campus community college, building relationships is a continuous process. Furthermore, developing interdepartmental relationships to advance the agenda of inclusion and accessibility is often messy. And yet lasting change is possible when a cooperative group of people are making an effort on various fronts.

During this working session, participants will identify 1 to 3 specific and measurable accessibility gaps on their campus. They will also develop a map describing existing relationships and potential relationships with the departments or units who may be of the most assistance in closing the gap. Lastly, participants will explore common barriers for developing positive, meaningful interdepartmental relationships.


  1. Building relationships with departments across campus takes time and self-awareness
  2. Developing a map of existing relationships and identifying critical gaps is a starting point
  3. Creating interdepartmental partnerships is a team effort

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy

Speaker Bio(s)

Christa Miller

Christa Miller started at Virginia Tech in 2006. After many years of accessible educational material development and alternative format production, she transitioned to a training-focused role. Her experience includes reading/writing Braille, developing captioning workflows, and working individually with instructors to create accessible content. Today she conducts one-time and semester-long training on accessibility and supervises the creation of accessible media. She also runs accessibility software pilots, collaborates on accessibility initiatives in other departments, and leads bi-annual cohorts of individuals preparing to become certified in accessibility core competencies. She is currently the Associate Director of Services for Students with Disabilities


Slide Deck Link: Interdepartmental Relationships Handout: Relationships-Building