Going Beyond: Leveraging Partnerships to Expand your Institution’s Accessible Media Efforts


Presented at 9:00am in Matchless on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.



  • Korey Singleton, ATI Manager, George Mason University
  • Lori Kressin, Coordinator of Academic Accessibility, University of Virginia
  • Mark Nichols, Senior Director of Universal Design and Accessible Technologies, Virginia Tech

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 3-hr
  • Format: Panel
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


The Virginia Higher Education Accessibility Partners (VHEAP) is a collaboration group of a11y professionals in K-12, higher ed, and public entities across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Between 2018-2022, VHEAP partnered with vendors to develop and implement statewide captioning and transcription contracts. Any public entity across the state could take advantage of these contracts, which featured a mechanism for public entities to pool their collective spending in order to reduce overall costs.


In this session, the VHEAP panel will take an extended look back at how each institution (GMU, UVA, and VT) began addressing accessible media on their respective campuses, strategies for building institutional buy-in, how our accessible media efforts evolved beyond our campus communities, and the groups’ collective efforts to develop collaborative statewide contracts.

In the first hour, we provide an overview of our respective accessible media processes, how the services were established, our failures, our successes, strategies for building buy-in, and all of the costs associated with making accessible media a possibility at your institution.

In the second hour, we will discuss the evolution of the Virginia Higher Education Accessibility Partners, commonly referred to as VHEAP, and the initial efforts to develop and implement our first statewide, post-production captioning and transcription contract. The initial contract featured 3 vendors, bringing each institution under the same pricing structure, enabling smaller institutions to leverage the spend of larger institutions. Additionally, vendors offered a tiered pricing structure that aggregated all minutes used to drop pricing for all participants using that vendor’s services.

In the final hour, the panel will highlight the latest iteration of these statewide agreements. Eight vendors were included in the updated contracts. These vendors entered into agreements with the University of Virginia (UVA), agreeing to state terms and conditions, UVA’s data protection addendum, and have undergone a UVA IT Security Review. UVA serves as the administrator of these agreements while the Virginia Higher Education Procurement Consortium and the VHEAP Captioning Committee manages these contracts. Panelists will describe the work to identify vendors, the benefits of participating in the initiative, and how institutions outside of Virginia can also take advantage of the cooperative contracts now in place.


  1. Establish win/win partnerships with vendors to improve your institution’s digital accessibility efforts.
  2. Strategies for promoting the adoption/creation of accessible media.
  3. Building and leveraging strategic partnerships can lead to reductions in overall accessible media costs.

Disability Areas

Cognitive/Learning, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Psychological, Vision

Topic Areas

Accessible Educational Materials, Captioning/Transcription, Uncategorized, Universal Design for Learning, Web/Media/App Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Korey Singleton

Korey Singleton earned his Master's in Assistive/Special Education Technology at George Mason University in 2006 and his Ph.D. in Education (concentration: Learning Technologies Design Research), with a focus on integrating UDL into the online course development process in 2017. He has worked for over 14 years as the Assistive Technology Initiative (ATI) Manager for George Mason University (GMU). The ATI operates under GMU’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and is tasked with guiding and implementing a university-wide strategy for addressing the information and communications technology accessibility needs of students, staff, faculty, and visitors with disabilities. For over 25 years, he has advocated for technology accessibility and the use of assistive technology by individuals with disabilities at home, at work, and in the classroom.

Lori Kressin

Reporting under the Executive Vice President and Provost, Lori Kressin is in her ninth year as the Coordinator of Academic Accessibility, having served the University of Virginia for over 30 years in a variety of positions. Her role is to assure the accessibility of the academic experience for all, including the built, digital, and attitudinal environments. Focusing on coordination of effort across the University, Lori relies on the connections she has made during her tenure to create key partnerships across departments to further accessibility efforts University wide. She has presented at a variety of regional, national, and international conferences and workshops including Accessing Higher Ground, the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, and the NADP Conference in England.

Mark Nichols

Prior to coming to Virginia Tech in 2017, Mark spent 15 years within Loudoun County Public Schools supervising Assistive Technology services and building a culture of proactive design and innovation. Mark also worked for Assistive Technology Works providing a diverse array of consultations, trainings, and installations of software and hardware technologies across consumer and institutional environments.

Mark is an active member of the National Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) Center Advisory Committee, Ex-Officio of the Virginia Higher Education Accessibility Partners (VHEAP), and Secretary/Treasurer of the UDL Higher Education Leadership Team. Mark has a special interest in the maker movement and connections to the field of Assistive Technology.