Expanding Access through University-wide AT software licensing


Presented at 3:30pm in Windsor on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.



  • Carlos Herrera, Expanding Access through University-wide AT software licensing, Queensborough Community College
  • Shivan Mahabir, Manager, CUNY Assisitive Technology Services, Queensborough Community College
  • Bill Kilroy, Senior Sales Director, Northeast, VFO Group
  • Michael Wood, Strategic Accounts Manager - Education, VFO Group

Session Details

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


The City University of New York (CUNY) and leading assistive technology (AT) software manufacturers are leveraging the power of a package of AT software tools to increase access and other benefits to all CUNY students, Faculty and staff. One year after entering into this precedent setting agreement, we will discuss the goals and objectives of the pilot.


In 2017 CUNY in collaboration with VFO Group rolled out an unprecedented university wide licens for a suite of assistive technology software. This software included screen reading, screen enlargement and reading and writing products commonly used by students with disabilities throughout higher education institutions. With this licensing arrangements, any user with an active cuny.edu email address received access to this software on any devices and locations.

We will discuss how we arrived at this decision and how deployment has been managed. In addition, we will address issues such as:

  • How did we expand usage of AT software across student populations?
  • What challenges arose in implementing this concept?
  • Who were campus allies who helped expand the utility of the software across student population?
  • How did the campus community become aware and proficient in the use of the software?
  • What were the major obstacles?
  • A year into the launch what lessons did we learn? What could we have done differently?


  1. accessibility support across the enterprise
  2. technology support and collaborations across departments
  3. universal design as an underlying factor in Faculty curriculum design and student support

Disability Areas

Other, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Assistive Technology, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Carlos Herrera

Carlos Herrera - Assistant Director, Services for Students with Disabilities; Coordinator CUNY IT Accessibility Task Force Queensborough Community College Carlos has over 30 years of experience in the workforce development and education field. His tenure at CUNY has been marked by an expansion of awareness and collaboration in student accessibility services. Formerly Manager of the CUNY Assistive Technology Services Project (CATS) , Carlos was the driving force behind the creation of CATSweb an online AT resource and website as well as the annual CUNY Accessibility Conference which brings together hundreds of disability services and assistive technology professionals every year.

Shivan Mahabir

Shivan serves in a crucial role providing assistive technology services to the 24 CUNY campuses and leading the team of University AT professionals. They are an integral part of keeping the University up to speed on AT trends and best practices and research best solutions for use by students with disabilities. They are involved in training AT staff and in the production of the annual Accessibility conference.

Bill Kilroy

Bill has spent 25 years in the assistive technology industry serving those with vision loss and is an original team member of Freedom Scientific when formed in 2000. . Bill's goal is to ensure that anyone with a vision loss has awareness of and exposure to the appropriate tools and services that will help them achieve their goals for education, vocation and independence.

Michael Wood

Michael has been working in the Assistive Technology field for 13 years. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing before beginning his career in AT. Currently his position has him focusing on supporting students and educators in the Blindness, Low Vision and Reading/Writing areas by providing software and hardware to help individuals succeed with independence.