FIU’s personalized approach: Designing an Accessible Database Management System for Disability Services

Handouts Media

Presented at 8:00am in Windsor on Thursday, November 21, 2019.



  • Joanna Lindsay, Access Consultant, Florida International University
  • Reynaldo Castilla, ,
  • Martha Wong, ,

Session Details

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


This session will focus on the positive effects a fully customizable Database Management System has on disability services in higher education. Removing barriers while providing equal access to education is directly impacted by a DMS, so we will discuss how FIU’s DRC has adopted a new system at FIU while advancing the university strategic plan.


Florida International University recently implemented a new cloud-based CRM called, “Access Resource Manager.” This database helps to increase efficiencies in the department while obtaining a consistent method for data input, user functionality, and reporting features. By using updated and customizable technology, disability services can increase effectiveness, maintain operations, and gain a better understanding of the data collected for the purpose of strategic initiatives. We will discuss the process taken to negotiate the accessibility features and usability enhancements with vendors prior to implementation. In order to answer any questions about reporting, accessibility testing and insights to how the framework came into place, the developer will be present.

In summary, we will describe how FIU addressed the accessibility of local and third-party applications from RFP to deployment while sharing the importance of an inclusive technological environment at a university.


  1. Attaining a consistent method of data input, user functionality, and reporting
  2. Expanding DRC procedures to increase effectiveness in implementation of accommodations through technology
  3. How to negotiate with vendors and engage companies on including Accessibility Language in Contracts

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Administrative/Campus Policy, Assistive Technology, Procurement, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Joanna Lindsay

Joanna Lindsay serves as one of the Access Consultants at Florida International University’s Disability Resource Center. She earned a bachelor’s degree from FIU in Liberal Studies while continuing her employment at FIU. She later earned a master's degree in Higher Education Administration from University of South Florida. When her degree was completed, Joanna started her second professional role in higher education working with the Disability Resource Center's state grant program, the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology, where she worked for three years before being promoted to a permanent position as an Access Consultant. During her time with the Disability Resource Center, she attained a secondary degree in Mental Health and Rehabilitation Counseling from Barry University. Additionally, she has taken on roles and projects within the division as a member of several committees and task forces for the betterment of student success, graduation, and retention. In her capacity as the freshman Access Consultant, Joanna focuses on expanding her knowledge and professional development opportunities that support accessibility, student inclusive programming, and collaborative coaching. Joanna has been a crucial part of the Access Consultant team, not only because of her commitment to students but because of her impressive skills. Her hands-on approach to solving issues related to technology, developing student leadership and self-determination, advocacy, and diversity are only some of the skills that make Joanna such an indispensable part of the team. Joanna strives to ensure that students are offered the resources and technology that will help them be successful in the university setting.

Reynaldo Castilla

Reynaldo Castilla serves as the Adaptive Technology Specialist for Florida International University’s Disability Resource Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in English. Reynaldo Castilla started as a Student Employee with Florida International University’s Graham Center’s Audio/Visual Staff and then transferred over to the Disability Resource Center immediately after completing his bachelor’s degree. Reynaldo has continued to take advantage of opportunities to expand his knowledge by attending conferences, webinars and online courses dealing directly with new, old and adaptive technology. As part of his role, he facilitates all the adaptive technology needs for students registered with the Disability Resource Center at Florida International University while working with Florida International University’s IT department to ensure security and university compliance of all this technology. In addition to his role at the Disability Resource Center, he has assisted in the development of Florida International University’s CRM “Access Resource Manager,” helped the Florida Board of Governors provide a fully accessible version of the Theodore R. and Vivian M. Johnson Scholarship to the public, assisted Florida International University’s Online Web Based Courses team with enhancing the user interface of Canvas to be more accessible, and has taken on roles and projects within the division as a member of several committees and task forces such as the New Professionals in Student Affairs and Professional Development in Student Affairs. Reynaldo has also represented FIU at the 2018 Accessing Higher Ground: Accessible Media, Web & Technology Conference in Denver, CO. In fulfilling FIU’s mission within the Next Horizon Strategic Plan, Reynaldo strives to ensure that the technology offered in the department advances the university’s plan.

Martha Wong

Martha Wong serves as the Associate Director of Florida International University’s Disability Resource Center. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Miami Dade College in Exceptional Student Education with a Reading and ESOL Endorsement, while accomplishing the milestone of being the first college graduate in her family. She then earned her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, while she simultaneously worked full time at FIU leading two critical departments throughout this time. Martha started as a Fiscal Operations Supervisor at FIU’s Office of the Controller and then transferred over to the Disability Resource Center during the latter part of her degree to her current position. Martha has continued to take advantage of opportunities to expand her knowledge by completing additional graduate studies in Speech and Language Pathology, Academic Advising and Life Coaching, and the field of HR Management. She is actively engaged in providing consultation to the university community by promoting a vision of disability services as a university-wide responsibility to support accessibility and diversity while facilitating awareness through partnerships, training, and information sharing. She currently oversees all HR and budget operations along with policy writing, legal matters, and technology for the DRC. As part of her activist role, she has presented at several conferences and been mentioned in several publications regarding accessibility and the social justice framework. In addition to her duties at the DRC, Martha has taken on roles and projects in the division as member of several committees and task forces such as Mid-Manager’s in Student Affairs, Student Conduct Committee, and Emergency Aid Lab Innovation Team. Martha has also participated in several of the university’s critical groups such as Leadership Education Advancement Program and represented FIU at NASPA’s Mid-Manager’s Institute in Atlanta, GA. In fulfilling FIU’s mission within the Next Horizon Strategic Plan, Martha strives to ensure that the department is advancing the university plan in the areas of student success, engagement, quality, and growth.