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Teach Access Announces 2024-2025 Digital Accessibility Grant Winners

By May 20, 2024 No Comments

Teach Access Grants program, now totaling more than $350,000 since inception, supports educators in creating innovative course materials that develop a workforce skilled in making technology usable by people with disabilities.

 

To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 16, Teach Access proudly announces the winners of its 2024-2025 Grants program, supporting 25 faculty members from diverse U.S. institutions in their development of digital accessibility concepts for their existing course curricula.

Teach Access is a national non-profit disability advocacy organization dedicated to bridging the digital accessibility skills gap between education and industry. Its free programs and resources help educators teach and students learn about the fundamentals of disability and accessibility. Teach Access programs have educated more than 500,000 students on digital accessibility since the group’s founding in 2016, and the group has awarded more than $350,000 in grants since 2018.

The Teach Access grants are a core element of the organization’s programs. Each winner receives a $2,000 grant that funds their work to incorporate teaching about accessibility into their existing courses. Grant recipients, in turn, contribute their teaching materials (such as lesson plans, assignments, tests and discussion prompts) to the free and open-access Teach Access Curriculum Repository, multiplying the impact of the grants.

“The Teach Access 2024-2025 grant recipients have shown exceptional dedication to the cause of accessibility,” said Kate Sonka, executive director of Teach Access. “Their curricular enhancements, prepared during the summer months, made possible with the generous support of our sponsors, will inform and inspire students about the fundamentals of accessibility, ultimately creating a more inclusive digital landscape.”

 

Graphic announcing the 2024 Faculty Grant Winners of Teach Access who are recipients of $2,000 towards accessibility-infused curricula. Angela Thering at SUNY Buffalo State University, Bridget Marshall at University of Massachusetts Lowell, Catherine Beaton at Rochester Institute of Technology, Destini Kirkwood at Gray Harbor University, Donna Schnupp at John Hopkins University, Emily Whiting at Boston University, Evelyn Zayas at Rasmussen University, Heather Leavitt at Yavapai College, Herbert Lewis at Stony Brook University, Hongmin Li at California State University East Bay, José G. Montañez Orengo at Inter American University, Katie Ducett at SUNY Cortland, Kristen Cole at San Jose State University, Lisa Dunkley at East Tennessee State University, Marie Frank at University of Massachusetts Lowell, Rua Williams at Purdue University, Sandra Watts at The University of North Carolina, Shari Lanning at Colorado State University, Shavonda Jackson at Alcorn State University, Shelly Stewart at Hillsborough Community College, Soyoung Choi at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Suhasini Kotcherlakota at University of Nebraska Medical Center, Suparna Chatterjee at New Mexico State University, Susan Pramschufer at University of Maryland, Tim Gorichanaz at Drexel University. Sponsored by Verizon, Microsoft, and Reader’s Digest.

The 25 winners of the Teach Access grant program are:

  • Angela Thering, SUNY Buffalo State University
  • Bridget Marshall, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Catherine Beaton, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Destini Kirkwood, Gray’s Harbor College
  • Donna Schnupp, Johns Hopkins University, School of Education
  • Emily Whiting, Boston University
  • Evelyn Zayas, Rasmussen University
  • Heather Leavitt, Yavapai College
  • Herbert Lewis, Stony Brook University
  • Hongmin Li, California State University, East Bay
  • José G. Montañez Orengo, Inter American University of Puerto Rico, San Germán Campus
  • Katie Ducett, SUNY Cortland
  • Kristen Cole, San José State University
  • Lisa Dunkley, East Tennessee State University
  • Marie Frank, University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Rua Williams, Purdue University
  • Sandra Watts, The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Shari Lanning, Colorado State University
  • Shavonda Jackson, Alcorn State University
  • Shelley Stewart, Hillsborough Community College
  • Soyoung Choi, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Suhasini Kotcherlakota, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Suparna Chatterjee, New Mexico State University
  • Susan Pramschufer, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Tim Gorichanaz, Drexel University

Winners of the prior 2023-2024 Teach Access Grants program Karen Caldwell, assistant professor at SUNY Potsdam’s School of Education and Professional Studies, and Laura Perry, director of academic technology & support at SUNY Potsdam, reflected on the impact of receiving support to create material that can be used by people with disabilities.

“The Teach Access Grant and resources (Teach Access by Design for instructors, the Student Academy, online materials) both inspired and informed our collaboration to embed concepts and principles of accessible, inclusive design into three quite different course topics: leadership, human capital development, and instructional design,” said Caldwell. “Our emerging proof of concepts demonstrates that students are able to recognize and apply their learning in real-life contexts beyond the boundaries of our semester-long courses,” added Perry.

Grant winners are instructors teaching an existing course during the 2024-2025 academic year that can incorporate curricula designed to impact a student’s knowledge of fundamental accessibility concepts and skills, and the ability to implement the principles of accessibility in technology. Teach Access focuses on colleges and universities nationwide, including community colleges and four-year institutions. Additionally, they have a strong commitment to recruiting educators from Minority Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs).

“Teach Access’s work is ceaseless. As we celebrate the 2024-2025 grant winners, we also prepare to call for proposals for our next grant round in February 2025,” Sonka said. “We encourage faculty members from all disciplines that can incorporate accessibility concepts to apply. Let’s together ensure the future workforce inherently understands accessible design principles, creating a world where technology is inclusive regardless of ability.”

To learn more, please visit https://teachaccess.org/.