The Disability Resource Center (DRC) leads the University in a progressive and proactive approach to campus accessibility. Our goal is to ensure that disabled students, employees and visitors, have a similar, if not identical, experience to that of their non-disabled counterparts. In addition to facilitating individual accommodations, DRC works proactively to impact the systemic design of our campus environments to be seamlessly accessible, reducing or eliminating the need for any individual accommodations or modifications.
What informs our work?
Social Justice | Disability Studies | Universal Design
Social Justice - Disability is an aspect of diversity, integral to our society and to the University of Arizona (UA) community. All disabled students and employees are valued members of this community and should have equitable access to everything they want and need. DRC works to ensure that access is provided seamlessly, with a minimum of additional burden on the disabled individual.
Disability Studies – Disability Studies is a multi- and interdisciplinary academic field of inquiry that defines impairment as naturally occurring on the continuum of human difference and argues that individuals are disabled by their environments, not by their impairments.
Universal Design - We are committed to universal design (UD) which strives for experiences to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for individual adjustments. Identifying and removing barriers to access in the design process can result in enhanced participation and minimize the need for individual accommodations.
UD at UA:
Curricular - Disability Resources’ staff works proactively with instructors in re-imagining the design of their courses, using concepts from universal design for learning. Our goal is to encourage faculty to think broadly about all the different characteristics students may bring to the classroom and to create educational experiences that will maximize engagement. When we are successful in this partnership, students will have access without the need for individual classroom accommodations.
Physical - UA employs design standards for all new construction and renovation that go far beyond Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance. UA Design Standards encourage and requires, when possible, the implementation of a universally designed built environment.
Technology & Information – The University of Arizona is committed to achieving full accessibility of all electronic and information technology to ensure equitable experiences for everyone.
Campus Events – DRC staff consults on all major events on campus to ensure that access is in place.
Workplace - DRC staff consults with employees and supervisors on potential solutions to create inclusive and accessible workplace environments.
Vision & Mission
We envision a campus that is not only accessible, but welcoming to all disabled and non-disabled students, employees and guests, where community members are invested in the inclusion, representation and participation of all.
We ensure that UA curricular, workplace, physical, information, technology and policy environments are usable, sustainable, welcoming, and accessible through individual consultation, strategic partnerships and consistent outreach.
What Sets UA DRC Apart?
UA has a longstanding commitment to disability access. The DRC was founded over 40 years ago, pre-dating the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by nearly twenty years.
Commitment to Universal Design over ADA compliance - In addition to staff who respond to requests for individual accommodations, we have several dedicated staff positions to address systemic design. Our goal is for our campus environment to be universally accessible and reduce and potentially eliminate the need for individual modifications or accommodations.
Leadership in Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) - With almost 3000 American and international members, AHEAD is a professional organization for individuals who work in disability services in colleges and universities. DRC staff consistently present pre-conference and concurrent sessions at AHEAD conferences. We have current and recent representation on the Board of Directors.
- Department of State has invited UA to participate on two recent delegations:
- 2013: Ukraine to discuss best practices with respect to the teaching and engagement of deaf college students.
- 2016: Beijing, CH to explore disability-related access to increase participation in education and employment.
- Regular contact with Mobility International (MIUSA)
- Individual invitations to speak and consult:
- Cambridge University
- Singapore Management University
- Consistent collaboration with Study Abroad to accommodate UA students studying abroad or engaging with international exchange.
Adaptive Athletics - UA hosts the most comprehensive collegiate wheelchair and adaptive sports program in the nation. With six competitive teams and an adaptive fitness center, we recruit and support a diverse range of athletes.