Annual Report Academic Year 2020-2021

Highland Commons


Academic year 2020-2021 was marked with significant challenges as the campus and the Disability Resource Center (DRC) responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Given the many significant disability implications of the virus as well as the impacts on University teaching, learning and working, DRC worked with many individual requests and also supported larger University planning, including efforts to ensure accessibility in our physical, digital, curricular and workplace environments.  Beyond basic accessibility, our campus emphasized universal design to encourage the highest levels of flexibility and inclusion.


DRC staff successfully pivoted to remote work.  Though we saw some staff attrition, we managed to be available to students and employees.  Our coordinator for physical access retired after nearly 30 years on campus which prompted a reorganization to more tightly couple digital and physical accessibility based on shared priorities and outreach. 

Student Access

Student accommodation requests remained steady all year.  DRC saw a decrease in student requests, as courses were delivered remotely and often asynchronously and did not necessitate as many individual accommodations. Many students appreciated the flexibility of remote course modality however there were some students who expressed a preference for in-person attendance and engagement.


  • Total affiliated: 3,469
  • Total requests: 16,058

Classroom Access


CART Courses 212
Interp Requests 134
Courses with video 166


Exam Administration

Total courses 6,926
Total requests 15,223
Total remote proctor 180


Alt Formats

Total completed 526
Total courses notetaking 506


Workplace Access 

Workplace Access saw its highest number of new requests for accommodations.  The University encouraged flexibility in the workplace however there were many employees who requested additional accommodations in response to COVID.  In additional to facilitating requests, Workplace Access fully transitioned to an online database to manage all employee records, including an online request form. The Workplace Access team collaborated in multiple work groups to help shape guidance on flexible work arrangements and re-entry during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


  • Total requests: 225

Digital and Physical Access

Digital and Physical Access consultants joined together to create our Digital and Physical Access team (DPAT). This re-organization proved to be beneficial as campus projects increasingly included both digital and physical access components. DPAT experienced a busy year as we worked to make pandemic-related and virtual options accessible for all users.

  • Continued to participate in campus committees such as the IT Campus Continuity and the Provost’s Pandemic Academic Coordination teams.
  • Worked proactively on the Campus Classroom Committee to establish capacity requirements for classrooms that re-calculated classroom capacities to allow space for Captioners and/or ASL interpreters and an accessible desk space is available in each of the over 200 classrooms. This project included creating accessible classroom furniture diagrams to display the best layout for ensuring access.
  • Worked closely with the President’s Office to provide accessible virtual and in-person Commencement and Convocation ceremonies in addition to Fall Orientation sessions.
  • Established an electronic process for UA employees to request Workplace Accommodations.
  • National Presentation for 3Play Media: Accessibility for Remote and Hybrid Classes. Lopez, B., Hunziker, D. ACCESS at Home 2020 3Play Media Virtual Conference 2020;


Events were all held remotely which required coordination and scheduling of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters and Computer Assisted Realtime Translation (CART). Events included all:

  • Weekly Presidential briefings
  • Campus-wide updates, Commencement and Convocations
  • Access at COVID POD
  • All other livestreamed events. 


  • Total events: 1127 (remote)
  • Total CART: 327
  • Total interp: 635
  • Total live-streamed CART: 187

Adaptive Athletics

We were proud to cheer on 17 current athletes and alumni of UA Adaptive Athletics represent the USA in the “2020” Paralympic Games in Tokyo, JP.

Continued COVID management made it a challenging year for Adaptive Athletics as many tournaments and opportunities for competition were canceled.


Outreach continues to be a priority for DRC. Staff continued to work with instructors and departments to ensure access in course design.

We continued to provide support and professional development to units such as: Life and Work Connections, Parking and Transportation Services.

Representation on Campus Committees

  • President’s Cabinet
  • Behavioral Intervention Team
  • Critical Incident Response Team
  • HR Alliance
  • Diversity Coordinating Council
  • Faculty Affairs

Supporting the University's COVID-19 Response

DRC was highly involved in the campus’ continued pandemic response and planning to ensure that information and updates were provided in a timely and accessible manner.  DRC’s involvement with institutional pandemic management is a testament to our campus commitment to disability access and inclusion.

Disability Cultural Center

This was the third year of student services fee funding to support the Disability Cultural Center (DCC).  Despite the constraints of the pandemic, the DCC held many events and social spaces virtually and the community responded well to the shift to remote engagement.  DCC partnered with the campus cultural centers as well as local organizations.  With generous support from longtime donors, Donna and Sam Smith, we renovated the Center with new vinyl tile flooring and adjustable furniture to maximize access and model universal design. 

Given the success of the DCC and its well-established reputation on campus, effective July 1, 2021 it will be organized under the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, congruent with the organization of the other cultural centers.  The DCC will remain physically at DRC but this new administrative organization better reflects the work and scope of DCC.

Certificated of completion for Ableism 101 Total Attendees 2020-2021 Total Engagement since 2018
50 1,332 4,089

Accomplishments and Accolades

#1 Ranking

UArizona is ranked #1 university for students with disabilities by College Magazine

Top 10 Ranking

UArizona was ranked in the nation’s top 10 wheelchair friendly campuses by New Mobility magazine

Priorities for the Academic Year 2021-2022

  • Continue to work closely with the University to manage evolving COVID protocols
  • Develop flexible workplace plans to meet the changing needs of students and employees
  • Continue to recruit student athletes toward our goal of 50 participants.