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Recording and Handout Available: Rethinking Accessibility as Community-Building

In early November, Disability and Accessibility Services and the Hub partnered to host Dr. Margaret Price for a virtual keynote and an in-person workshop. Margaret Price is an Associate Professor of English (Rhetoric & Composition) at The Ohio State University, where she also serves as Director of the Disability Studies Program, as well as co-founder and lead PI of the Transformative Access Project. Her award-winning research focuses on sharing concrete strategies and starting necessary dialogues about creating a culture of care and a sense of shared accountability in academic spaces. Dr. Price’s book Crip Spacetime: Access, Failure, and Accountability in Academic Life is forthcoming from Duke University Press in Spring 2024. 

If you missed the November 1st keynote you can view the recording here:

I encourage you to watch the video because Dr. Price develops the concept of “access” as an interactive, ongoing process that doesn’t conform to a checklist. Dr. Price suggested we consider Jay Dolmage’s idea that access is not a place we arrive or a thing we achieve; rather, it is a “way to move.” 

At the lunch workshop the following week, Dr. Price demonstrated that “way to move” by building an interactive community of access at the workshop. I love occasions when I can experience what it feels like to be a student in our classrooms; at the workshop, I felt welcomed into using space and accessing learning in the ways that work the best for me. For example, Dr. Price demonstrated with us her strategy of giving students notecards so that they can jot down the number of the size of group they would like to work with from 1-3 where 1 means that a student wants to work individually that day.

Check out her handout for other ideas, such as a check-in at the beginning of every class which creates that ongoing, interactive process of access:

Margaret Price Handout Cultivating Communities of Access 11.9.23.docx

The handout also has a rich list of useful resources.

One thing that I took away from the keynote and workshop is that the relational process means that sometimes we will fall short. If it were as simple as a checklist, we could mark everything off and be done with it. But a relational, ongoing process means that we should be constantly asking ourselves and our students what’s working in order to build on that. We shouldn’t let fear of failure stop us from engaging our students in the process of working towards access and working towards learning experiences that are welcoming to all students.

An important part of the Q&A was the offer from staff in the Disability and Accessibility Services office to work with faculty on issues of access. Faculty can reach out to with concerns or questions about access, even if the student doesn’t have an official accommodation letter. And stay tuned to hear from your faculty colleagues; there are Accessibility Department Liaisons that can share strategies for your specific discipline:

  • Harmony Reppond, Behavioral Sciences (CASL)
  • Maggie Rathouz, Mathematics and Statistics (CASL)
  • Jing Kong, Accounting and Finance (COB)
  • Christine Fischer, Management Studies Department (COB)
  • Furat Al-Obaidy, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (CECS)
  • Ara Sanjian, Department of Social Sciences (CASL)
  • Natalie Sampson, Health and Human Services (CEHHS)
  • Foyzul Hassan, Computer and Information Science (CECS)
  • Mike MacDonald, Language Culture and Arts (CASL)
  • LaShorage Shaffer, Education (CEHHS)

Image used with permission.