The Michigan State University Adaptive Sports & Recreation Club provides inclusive and accessible sports for students with physical disabilities. With the help of MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), the club provides wheelchair hockey, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby, as well as many other events for students to participate in.
The Michigan State University Council of Students with Disabilities (CSD) recently hosted their 6th annual Adaptive Sports Day: Sports & Recreation for All Abilities on April 2, 2022 at Demonstration Hall.
Mandy Zuckerman, Tower Guard alumna from the class of 2020-2021, will be receiving the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities 2022 Student Leadership and Service Award for her contributions towards making Beaumont Tower more accessible.
Earlier this semester, the Michigan State University Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) hosted its annual BOND Transitions Program! The event was a great success and significantly helped MSU students with autism adjust to life on campus.
Whenever one thinks of MSU’s Tower Guard, whether they are familiar with the organization or not, they immediately think of Beaumont Tower. This iconic monument on campus represents the legacy that Tower Guard, one of the oldest student organizations on campus, takes pride in. Mandy Zuckerman, member of the Tower Guard class of 2020-2021, realized that for an organization that represents accessibility and inclusivity, the space in which they meet, Beaumont Tower, is not accessible itself.
Recently, Michigan State University introduced GoodMaps to campus, improving accessibility in indoor navigation. Leslie Johnson, Assistant Director of Assistive Technology and coordinator of this initiative, explained that GoodMaps is a digital mapping app that uses LiDAR (3D laser scanning), image recognition, and positioning technology to create maps for indoor navigation. This allows students to have accurate, turn-by-turn directions when searching for a specific location within a building.
MSU students take large strides in advancing technology for the ALS community. The team, consisting of Claire Kendell, Jessica Stevons, Sean Arnoldt, Don Gorton, Nicholas Boblet, and Brennan Koehler, sought to upgrade the original MSU SCATIR (Self-Calibrating Auditory Tone Infrared) Switch. The team was led and sponsered by Stephen Blosser, former RCPD employee.
Over the past month, the MSU IT Academic Technology team offered several webinars for educators that focused on accessibility. Of the nine webinars offered, three were accompanied or led by RCPD staff Leslie Johnson, Assistant Director of Assistive Technology, and Ashley Maloff, Chronic Health Ability Access Specialist.
The Michigan State University Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives funds ‘Creating Inclusive Excellence Grants’ that support a variety of different programs, including faculty development to research inclusion practices. One recent grant, which involved the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, is supporting a series of workshops, some instructional support and two years of attendance at MSU’s Accessible Learning Conference (ALC) for academic faculty and staff members. It also contributes to the promotion and development of accessible teaching and learning through the Faculty Accessibility Fellows Program for the College of Arts & Letters, College of Natural Science and Eli Broad College of Business.
The Accessible Learning Conference (ALC) at Michigan State University is annual event designed to provide a range of sessions exploring universally accessible courses, websites, and content. What began as a one-day “Making Learning Accessible Conference,” has transformed into a two-day commitment to student involvement and opportunity. With hundreds of attendees from various universities and educational organizations, ALC works to help students, faculty, and community members provide an accessible Spartan education.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, MSU was faced with the difficult decision to transition in-person classes to remote offerings. It was a considerable change, but MSU faculty and staff rose to the challenge to make remote coursework accessible for all. RCPD Assistant Director for Assistive Technology Innovation, Leslie Johnson, was one of the staff members that played an integral part in this project. As the pandemic provided moments of uncertainty, Leslie remained involved in addressing student, staff, and faculty concerns for providing accessible and inclusive content for the Spartan community’s success during this time.
Michigan State University is an institution devoted to providing educational opportunities and an inclusive environment. For over 48 years, the RCPD has held to these values by advising and supporting persons with disabilities throughout the MSU community. Through Ability Access Specialists, Team RCPD continues to encourage the growth and advancement of students and their abilities. With that, the RCPD is delighted to announce Tesia Freer as our new Blindness/Visual Impairment (B/VI) and Media Access Specialist.
On a campus known for accessibility innovation, Michigan State University’s College of Engineering is a longstanding partner with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Working together, RCPD and Engineering faculty facilitate projects that inform students of universal design and the life-changing role that well-designed technology plays in providing access.
On a mild morning in May that is full of singing birds and blooming flowers, a student in the midst of musing over their final semester approaches Bessey Hall and takes a deep breath. Heading up the pathway to the back entrance, they stop to look at their surroundings, enchanted by the scenic changes. Instead of going inside, they step off the pathway into the round and spacious courtyard seating area beside the building. Their nose is filled with the scent of lavender as they choose a bench and pull out a copy of their commencement speech to pass the time. Behind them on the backrest is a braille plaque which reads, “RCPD, Maximizing Ability and Opportunity, Building Community, Growing Success." This space is the rebirth of opportunity. As they ponder graduation, and the start of a career, they reflect on all that MSU has become: home.
Michigan State University is an institution that strives for diversity and inclusion both at home and abroad.
With the help of the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities and an MSU Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant, one recent MSU graduate was able to contribute to these efforts by designing an improved method of teaching English to students with visual impairments. A recent MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) graduate and Columbian Fulbright scholar, Maritza Medina G. faced difficulties as a blind student when learning phonetics. She received a Tinker Field Research Grant from the MSU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and wanted to conduct her thesis research on phonetics through assistive technology’s universal design.
As RCPD Assistant Director for Assistive Technology Innovation, Leslie Johnson oversees an exciting opportunity to enhance the experiences of students, staff, and faculty on campus. Since taking on this role at the beginning of 2020, she has empowered new opportunities for MSU students and employees, using a wide range of technologies to maintain an accessible environment.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities across the nation have shifted to remote instruction. In order to ensure that students with disabilities retain equal access to the same content as their peers, it is vital that online environments remain just as accessible as the physical environments were.
On a Saturday afternoon, the Council of Students with Disabilities brought a different kind of athletic activity to Michigan State University’s campus. Adaptive Sports Day energized IM Circle and eager athletes and community members joined to amplify ability.