Provost’s office promotes accessibility with help from Innovative Learning Team

Assistive technologist Dean Brusnighan discusses creating accessible documents in a workshop hosted by the Innovative Learning Team. The Innovative Learning Team staff can create a custom workshop to help department or college staff and faculty learn how to make documents, presentations and web sites accessible to all.

In her job as an administrative assistant in the Provost’s Office, Se’Andra Johnson says that while she’s constantly working with Microsoft Word and .pdf documents, she hadn’t thought much about making them more accessible to people with disabilities.

“But it was easier than I thought to get started,” Johnson says, after attending a customized accessibility workshop put on by the Innovative Learning Team’s assistive technologists. “It seems much more possible now.”

Each semester the learning team’s assistive technologists host open workshops and training on a variety of subjects, such as how to make accessible documents or web pages. They are also available to develop customized programs for academic and other campus units, all with the specific goal of helping to create a more accessible Purdue.

“The goal,” says assistive technologist Dean Brusnighan, “is to help people realize that with a few small changes, they can create an end product that’s not just accessible for people with disabilities, but more useful to everyone.”

In January, staff and administrators from across the Provost’s office – including Johnson – attended a customized 90-minute workshop dedicated to creating new documents. Besides learning specific skills, they also discussed the importance of accessibility for both practical and legal reasons.

“We have more than 20 websites that we manage, and hundreds of documents,” says Russell Query, front-end web developer for the Provost’s office. “This isn’t an area that falls within one person’s responsibility; it takes everyone on the same page working together.”


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Writer: Dave Stephens, technology writer, Information Technology at Purdue, 765-496-7998,

Last updated: February 20, 2019