Promoting a Culture of Accessibility One Person at a Time


Presented at 8:00am in Colorado G-H on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.



  • Stephanie Richardson, Instructional Designer, University of Florida
  • Laura Jervis, Instructional Designer, University of Florida

Session Details

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


As an instructional design unit at the University of Florida, we have been contributing to an accessibility culture shift by engaging in outreach, offering professional development, and having individual conversations with instructors. These actions help us create buy-in, reduce resistance, and promote awareness for implementing accessibility strategies. In this conference session, learn about our successes and pitfalls in approaching conversations around accessibility in higher education.


Many of us are familiar with the barriers to promoting accessibility in higher education. Some of these hurdles are a lack of time, knowledge, and —unfortunately— interest in creating accessible content. Despite this, we have seen changes at our institution and course materials are becoming more accessible. Our instructional design unit at the University of Florida is contributing towards this change in several ways: large-scale outreach, small-scale professional development, and individual conversations with stakeholders.

Our outreach efforts have included online presentations and events, incorporating accessibility into discussions about our services, and the creation of an accessibility community of practice. We regularly offer professional development for small cohorts or individuals to target knowledge gaps in the form of facilitated and non-facilitated trainings and personalized consultations. Finally, our team has built accessibility into our workflow more broadly, which allows us to have ongoing conversations with instructors about the accessibility of their content. We will discuss both our successes and setbacks to identify what types of outreach are effective at a large, decentralized university. For example, we have found that more generalized or large-scale outreach efforts are an effective way of building basic accessibility skills; however, personalized and individual conversations have been more effective in changing instructor’s attitudes towards accessibility and encouraging them to engage with it in a meaningful way long-term.

Through a combination of these three specific aspects of our accessibility visibility strategies, we are actively working to promote change at our university. Join us as we explore what has worked for us and what hasn't, and participate in an open conversation about the different tactics are institutions are using to build a campus culture that routinely considers the needs of students with disabilities.


  1. Professional development with small groups makes effective change.
  2. One-on-one accessibility conversations are crucial to creating buy-in with faculty and staff.
  3. Institutional change requires a variety of strategic conversations at multiple levels (large and small-scale).

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Accessible Course Design, Administrative/Campus Policy, Faculty Development & Support, Teaching about Accessibility in Curriculum, Uncategorized

Speaker Bio(s)

Stephanie Richardson

Stephanie Richardson has a bachelor's of science in sports management and a master's in ESOL/bilingual education. She has worked within Information Technology at the University of Florida since 2014 in education technology and is currently an instructional designer with the UFIT Center for Instructional Technology and Training. She loves to teach and help faculty and staff within the higher education community how accessibility impacts everyone at all stages of life.

Laura Jervis

Laura Jervis has a bachelor’s of science in journalism and a master’s in bilingual/bicultural education from the University of Florida. Before finding instructional design, she taught academic English to post-secondary language learners. Now she applies her teaching experience and her passion for equity and inclusion to the work she does to support UF faculty.