Finding Our Place: Creating a Culture of Accessibility at the University of Texas at San Antonio

Handouts Media

Presented at 2:00pm in Virtual Room 1 on Thursday, November 18, 2021.



  • RaLynn McGuire, Teaching & Learning Consultant, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Vanessa Garza, Learning Experience Accessibility Specialist, University of Texas at San Antonio

Session Details

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


Can a university shift from a stand-alone accommodation model to a proactive approach to accessibility? This presentation will focus on the journey of creating the role of accessibility specialist, increasing campus-wide partnerships and visibility, gaining support for new initiatives, and creating an accessibility policy.


Universities are struggling to find a way to address issues related to the digital accessibility of online course content. This presentation will examine the increased accessibility efforts at the University of Texas at San Antonio over the last 3 years and provide a look at our future plans. The presenters will discuss the university’s evolution to date, detailing a shift from a stand-alone accommodation model to a proactive approach to accessibility utilizing the Universal Design for Learning framework to create a more inclusive learning environment.


  1. History of our university’s approach to accessibility.
  2. Identification of areas of impact and gaps in current roles/resources.
  3. Creating partnerships to increase awareness, create policies, and creating a roadmap for the future.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas


Speaker Bio(s)

RaLynn McGuire

Rachel Elliott, based in San Antonio, Texas, is a seasoned Teaching & Learning Consultant at The University of Texas at San Antonio, where she has significantly contributed to enhancing faculty engagement and knowledge retention. With a Master of Arts in Rhetoric & Composition from Texas State University, Rachel has over four years of experience in professional development facilitation, stakeholder management, and Learning Management System (LMS) support.

At UTSA, she has implemented diverse learning methodologies aligned with emerging research trends. Rachel is skilled in developing effective training strategies that connect learning to business priorities, driving desired outcomes. She has also been instrumental in analyzing course evaluation data to improve the content and effectiveness of various initiatives, including grants and faculty development programs.

Vanessa Garza

Vanessa worked as an educator, developer, and instruction designer before developing a passion for creating accessible content in higher education. Vanessa currently focuses on training and supporting faculty to create accessible content and promoting a culture of inclusive education.