Building Interdepartmental Relationships that Promote Change

Handouts Media

Scheduled at 9:15am in WB I on Friday, November 16 (2018).



  • Christa Miller, Director of Inclusive Media Design, 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

Administrative/Campus Policy, Faculty Instruction/Accessible Course Design

Speaker Bio(s)

Christa Miller

Christa Miller is a proud Virginia Tech Hokie and is currently the Director of Inclusive Media Design. She first became interested in assistive technologies (AT) while earning her BS in Electrical Engineering. Her passion for accessible technology and universal design then led her to pursue her MS in Industrial Systems Engineering, concentrating in Human Factors.

Between 2006 and 2018, Christa has worked in many roles for Assistive Technologies, part of Technology-enhanced Learning and Online Strategies (TLOS). Notable among these was as the lead Braille Transcriber for Braille Services. Her unique knowledge of the tools and technologies needed to produce Braille for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses has led her to consult with disability service providers from many other post-secondary institutions and share that knowledge at national conferences.

In her current role, Christa has enjoyed co-leading a many professional development programs aimed at providing teaching faculty, instructors and graduate teaching assistants with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to create inclusive learning environments.


Slide Deck Link: Interdepartmental Relationships Handout: Relationships-Building