14 Community Building and Engagement at McMaster

Michelle Sayles. (2018). Open Accessibility: An Illustrated Story of
Disability Advocacy at McMaster

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021

The DIMAND Working Group under the President’s Advisory Council on Building an Inclusive Community (PACBIC), facilitated an entire week of events for the 2021 December 3rd, International Day of Persons with Disabilities series of events with numerous on-campus partners. On Wednesday, December 1st, there was a full day of Flash Presentations to highlight critical disability research and teaching, supported by the Office of the Vice-President Research, the MacPherson Institute, and the Equity and Inclusion Office (EIO). MSU Maccess in partnership with the EIO hosted a Disability DIScussion on the 3 Fs of Food (In)Accessibility, partnering with the Interfaith Working Group, The MSU Food Collective Centre, and Cultivating Change. Finally, DIMAND and Student Accessibility Services held a panel on Assistive Technology, with a focus on Lived Experiences and Uses. All events were made as accessible as possible through inclusive design principles and CART professional captioning.

Contributors: Disability Inclusion, Madness, Accessibility, and NeuroDiversity (DIMAND) Working Group  

Partners for National Accessibility Week 2021

Continuing from a successful week of events for December 3rd, 2021, DIMAND, the Equity and Inclusion Office, and numerous on-campus and international partners hosted another full week of events for National Accessibility Week 2022.

On May 30th, there was a panel discussion titled Managing Websites with Accessibility in Mind, co-hosted with University Technology Services.

DIMAND offered two sessions on inclusive design with the Faculty of Science and the Equity and Inclusion Office, including Accessible Presentation Techniques and Resume Design. The MacPherson Institute also offered teaching and learning sessions focussed on accessibility in Avenue to Learn.

For their Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) speaker series, and alongside the Faculty of Health Science, Faculty Affairs hosted a panel discussion on Reframing Disability in Healthcare with speakers from the Faculties of Health Sciences and Humanities, and the School of Social Work.

A special talk to highlight research completed by McMaster scholars and the University of Cologne also occurred to discuss relational access in education for disabled people.

The Student Success Centre also ran several sessions open to students and alumni with disabilities to discuss how to navigate hiring and employment environments with a disability.

These events saw over 400 attendees during the week from McMaster, Canada, and international a11ys.

Contributors: Disability Inclusion, Madness, Accessibility, and NeuroDiversity (DIMAND) Working Group, Student Success Centre, University Technology Services, Faculty of Science, the Equity and Inclusion Office, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, the School of Social Work, MSU Maccess, Student Accessibility Services, McMaster Library, and the MacPherson Institute

EDI Film Festival 2021-2022

The UTS EDI Committee hosts an EDI Film Festival (EDIFF) each year focusing on various Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) topics that raise awareness and continues discussion in our community. This year we held a session on Neurodiversity. Several members and friends of the McMaster community attended the event where we watched two films; What ADHD Feels Like – An Animation and A. S.imple D.ate (short film). Both films are written and produced by people who are neurodivergent, and they share a very personal and powerful perspective of what it is like to live with Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder  (ASD). After the films, we provide a safe space for the group to discuss their response and facilitate conversation around what stood out to them. For this session, we talked about what we learned from the films and shared personal experiences related to the film’s topics and themes.

Contributors: University Technology Services Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee (UTS EDI Committee) 

Age-Friendly University (AFU) Network

In 2017, McMaster joined the Age-Friendly University (AFU) network, a global body comprised of higher education institutions committed to becoming more universally accessible. In 2019, a committee was formed to develop ongoing strategies to ensure McMaster is a welcoming space for older adults. In 2022, the committee has transitioned to a community of practice, encouraging members to share their own experiences so that we can learn together. This year the committee has heard from Dementia Friendly Hamilton and Halton, and Human Resources at McMaster. These presentations have spurred useful discussions about how we can continue to ensure McMaster remains accessible and welcoming for older adults. Improving access for older adults will improve access for everyone and supports the University’s efforts to foster an accessible university community.

For more on Age-Friendly University Initiatives visit MIRA’s Age-Friendly University page.

Contributors: McMaster Age-Friendly University Committee

Spring 2022 Faculty Affairs EDI and Indigenous Health Equity Speaker Series

The Spring 2022 Faculty Affairs EDI and Indigenous Health Equity Speaker Series focused on Accessibility in Healthcare and featured experts internal and external to McMaster in five sessions throughout April to June 2022.  Featured sessions included: Two sessions on Accessible Digital Content on Accessible Communication Techniques and Accessible Design Techniques; Colonialism and Accessibility to Healthcare; Reframing Disability in Healthcare: A Presentation and Panel Discussion; and Accessibility in Practice and Work.

Contributors: Faculty of Health Sciences Faculty Affairs, FHS Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Indigenous Reconciliation Committee’s Training and Professional Development Working Group (FHS EDI), and Indigenous Health Equity Speaker Series Scientific Planning Committee 

2022 Community Award from the Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers

Digital accessibility experts and advocates Jessica Blackwood & Kate Brown received the 2022 Community Award from the Canadian University Council of Chief Information Officers (CUCCIO) for Amplifying Digital Accessibility in Education at McMaster University. CUCCIO is Canada’s community of information technology leaders in higher education. Jessica and Kate’s award primarily focused on the work leading up to the creation of the Accessible Digital Content Training and we are thankful for the support from campus partners, such as: the User Testing for Web Accessibility Team, Library Accessibility Services, Faculty of Social Sciences, the Student Success Center, and University Technology Services.

Contributors: Kate Brown (Equity and Inclusion Office), and Jessica Blackwood (Faculty of Science) with sincere thanks and attribution to Library Accessibility Serivces, Faculty of Social Sciences, the Student Success Centre, University Technology Services, and the Pilot User Testing Group for their support and ongoing contributions to digital accessibility education and community development at McMaster


The Annual Accessibility and Disability Inclusion Update Copyright © 2022 by McMaster University. All Rights Reserved.

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