How to Encourage Faculty to Teach about Accessibility in Their Courses




  • Sheryl Burgstahler, Director, Accessible Technology Services, University of Washington

Session Details

  • Length of Session: quick talk
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: Pre-conference


Learn how accessible/inclusive/universal design and other proactive design practices can be integrated within computing and other courses and thus increase the pool of future professionals that know how to apply accessible/universal design in their career fields.


Many Accessing Higher Ground attendees struggle to encourage IT companies to make their products accessible to individuals with disabilities. On the other hand, some companies are complaining that they cannot find IT professionals that know how to design accessible products. Similarly, many other professions could benefit from employing staff who are aware of challenges individuals with disabilities face and accessible/universal design solutions.

Participants in this session will learn about how accessibility/inclusive/universal design topics can be integrated into your computing or other course or how you can encourage faculty in a wide variety of fields to include these topics in their courses, without major revisions to their curricula. We will share promising practices from a variety of fields of study and explore key issues related to promoting the teaching of inclusive design strategies in courses in postsecondary environments. Resources will also be shared.


  1. • It is important that companies hire professionals who know how to design accessible products.
  2. • IT and other faculty can help meet this need by teaching accessible/inclusive/universal design practices.
  3. • Universal design topics can be integrated into curricula, without making major revisions.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Faculty Development & Support, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Sheryl Burgstahler

Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler founded and directs Accessible Technology Services, which includes the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center and the IT Accessibility Team within UW-IT at the University of Washington (UW). These units promote (1) the success of students with disabilities in postsecondary education and careers and (2) the development of facilities, IT, services, and learning activities that are welcoming and accessible to individuals with disabilities through the application of a Universal Design (UD) Framework. ITAT focuses efforts at the UW; the DO-IT Center reaches national and international audiences with the support of federal, state, corporate, foundation, and private funds. Dr. Burgstahler is an affiliate professor in the UW College of Education. She developed and continues to teach a graduate course in applications of universal design in higher education at City University of New York.