Annual Report Academic Year 2021-2022

Highland Commons Building


As we moved through the Pandemic, academic year 2021-2022 was a time of flexibility and innovation. We began a consistent on-site presence again in July 2021, though the majority of students and employees continue to opt for remote meetings. DRC staff also engaged in a three-part training on the intersections of racism and ableism which yielded important discussion about how to make our practice more inclusive and expansive.


DRC continued a flexible work schedule for our employees that allows for a combination of on-site and remote work.  This schedule is responsive to employee interests and shifting student requests for remote meetings.  In response to a few staff resignations, we made a small reorganization and conducted a review of staff salaries that resulted in an across-the-board increase for many staff providing direct student service and ADA compliance.

Student Access

Consistent with anecdotal data from around the country, DRC saw not only an increase in student requests with but requests that came in much later into the year than in the past. Students are adjusting to in-person learning after years of COVID-induced remote classes and they express trepidation about how to navigate campus and classroom learning, resulting in new requests that are often more complex than pre-COVID. Specifically, we saw an increase in requests for flexible attendance and extensions on assignments.

DRC continues to work closely with Housing & Residential Life on accessible housing accommodations.  We recently decided to have one person only from each department coordinate accommodations and assignments so we can better track data and trends and offer the most consistent accommodations.

We successfully onboarded five new Access Consultants and added an Exam Administration Assistant to support this fast-paced area. We offered over 30 presentations to orient new students to DRC.


  • Total affiliated: 3,742
  • Total requests: 19,822

Classroom Access


CART Courses 97
Interp Requests 87
Courses with video 208

Exam Administration

Total courses 7,433
Total requests 15,624
Total remote proctor 150


Alt Formats

Total courses 2,637
Total requests 3,244


Total courses 390

Workplace Access

Workplace Access continues to be busy, even as University COVID protocols relaxed. The most frequent requests are for a flexible work schedule (e.g., to work remotely or on a hybrid schedule), and to teach online. An interesting trend to watch is that requests made by Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA’s) doubled since last year, increasing from 17 in AY20-21 to 30 in AY21-22.


  • Total applications: 395
  • Total requests: 280

Digital and Physical Access

The Digital and Physical Access Team (DPAT) continued to proactively work with campus for accessibility of the digital and physical/built environments.

  • DRC purchased Anthology Ally for D2L integration. Ally assesses course content accessibility, provides analytical data, and offers remediation options. A pilot is planned to begin in the Fall 2022 semester.
  • Microsoft gifted $100,000 to the Disability Resource Center to advance access for disabled students in STEM environments. Projects included a collaboration with the Think Tank and MIS 111 to enhance access to tutoring and training around Office 365 accessibility options. Additionally, we collaborated with the UA Esports program to host an inclusive Esports event for campus.
  • DPAT presented at AHEAD 2022 regarding UD in the Digital and Physical environments to showcase techniques others can implement on their own campuses.
  • Led the effort to integrate assistive listening systems into the regular operations and upgrade schedules of CTS.
  • Improved Universal Design at campus ceremonies in physical, digital, and communication access with stage upgrades for commencement and convocations, website upgrades, and the new locations of captions and interpreters.

Communication Access

This area has responded to the changing dynamics of the classroom and events with great resiliency. This year we revised our communication methods to streamline responses to requests and we expanded resources to facilitate the majority of services remotely.  There was some staff turnover and we hired two new ASL interpreters and expanded the hours and scope of responsibility of other interpreters to ensure we can meet the demand. A highlight is that when the Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team was invited to play in Greece, two ASL interpreters traveled with them to provide access for a wheelchair basketball player.


  • Total Events: 1460
  • Total CART: 370
  • Total interp:1007
  • Total live-streamed CART: 122

Event Access 

Event access requires collaboration across digital, physical and communication access. While some events were offered remotely or with hybrid options, many were back on campus this year. We returned to fully in-person ASL interpreting services for in-person events to create the most equitable access and we utilized QR codes at large events to provide all attendees the ability to access captioning on their personal devices in addition to traditional captioning on screen.

Commencement was a big success this year with regard to universal design.  The stage was “in the round” which increased seating/viewing options for all. The stage was ramped with no stairs. ASL interpreters were located on main stage and captioning provided beneath centralized speaker locations for first time.  In the past, DRC coordinated ADA-specific volunteers but this year, all volunteers were responsible for all guest-related questions, including access.  DRC staff volunteered but our efforts were to support the event generally.

Adaptive Athletics

Adaptive Athletics had a successful recruitment year and reached 55 students, our largest roster to date. And they finished the year strong with an average GPA of 3.44. We now support nine sports – new to the roster: Paraswimming and E-Sports.

In addition to resuming regular travel and competition, this year was marked with exciting international travel and outreach. The Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team was invited to a friendly competition with Team Greece in Athens. The program hosted over 75 international delegates, teaching them how to coach and enhance performance in wheelchair sports. Athletics Director, Peter Hughes, presented on our unique model at the Sports & Society Conference in Denmark.


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


  • Accessing Higher Ground
  • Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Management Institute
  • University of Macerata Inclusion Week (Macerata, IT)
  • Caterpillar Tucson Diversity Day
  • Sport & Society Conference (Aarhus, DK)
  • AHEAD Annual Conference

Representation on Campus Committees

  • Senior Leadership Team
  • Critical Incident Response Team
  • Diversity Coordinating Council
  • Behavioral Intervention Team
  • IT Campus Coordination Team
  • Student Services Leadership Group
  • IT Directors
  • Classroom Use Committee

Accomplishments and Accolades

  • DRC was one of six schools awarded an unsolicited gift from Microsoft of $100,000 to support campus digital accessibility.
  • Adaptive Athletics has its highest student enrollment to date.

Priorities for Academic Year 2022-2023


Continue to steward our relationship with Microsoft and formalize partnership with Arizona E-Sports.


Implement instructor access for all courses and provide trainings for faculty.

Biomedical Campus

Hire new exam coordinator for the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and renovate their exam administration space.


Explore a reorganization of the student access team to better balance direct service with outreach.

Continued professional development

Support our staff in engaging in professional development and prioritize intersectionality staff training.