Developing Faculty Who are Accessibility Champions

Handouts Media

Scheduled at 2:15pm in Cotton Creek I on Thursday, November 16 (2017).



  • Christa Miller, Director of Inclusive Media Design, Virginia Tech
  • Hal Brackett, Director of Accessibility and Universal Design, Virginia Tech

Session Details

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


How do you develop a lasting interest in accessibility among faculty? This session will explore lessons learned from using two different methods of professional development a cohort and a stand-alone workshop method to develop faculty who go forward and advocate for accessible design.


We will address motivating faculty to make accessibility a priority and the messages that develop lasting commitment to inclusion by design. Although, accessible instructional materials and media are a legal mandate, many faculty avoid making instructional materials accessible until a student with a need enrolls. Some of the common reasons given are lack of: time, recognition, institutional policies, and promotion and tenure rewards.

Developing faculty who care and plan ahead--faculty who are intrinsically motivated to achieve accessibility in their classrooms--is not a one-step process. Such transformation only happens through interdepartmental partnerships designed to develop and support training on accessibility. It is not only the presence of training, but also how the training develops a community of practice that makes the difference. This must be combined with tangible short and long term benefits to Faculty (i.e, grants, equipment, awards and certificates). We will share the professional development materials and results from two different methods of professional development, a cohort and a stand-alone workshop method.


  1. Interdepartmental partnerships are key to promoting accessible practices.
  2. Faculty need short and long term benefits, rewards, and awards for adopting accessible practices.
  3. A support system or community of practice must exist to provide opportunities for continued growth.

Disability Areas


Topic Areas

Faculty Instruction/Accessible Course Design, Including Accessibility in Curriculum, Information Resources, Uncategorized

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.

Hal Brackett

Hal Brackett is the Director of Accessibility and Universal Design of Assistive Technologies at Virginia Tech. He provides AT accommodations to students referred to by the Services for Students with Disabilities and to university employees referred by the ADA Services. Hal provides one-on-one trainings to those referred and has expertise in crafting solutions for computer access and access to classroom equipment. He also presents faculty professional development workshops on creating teaching environments that are welcoming to all students.