Princeton is Recognized for its Accessibility Certification Program

June 18, 2019

At the 2019 M-Enabling Summit, the Office of Information Technology's User Experience Office was recognized by the International Association of Accessibility Professional for leadership in higher education accessibility by integrating inclusion throughout the organization. Damian Sian and Mary Albert were honored for their innovative use of professional accessibility certification as a means of building awareness, expertise, and community across Princeton's campus. To date, 90 staff in a variety of roles and departments have prepared for and passed the strenuous, industry-recognized Certified Professional of Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC) exam. With 90, Princeton has the highest number of certified staff of any organization worldwide, and more certified staff than all other higher education institutions combined.

Although the certification was designed for accessibility professionals, the User Experience Office took a different approach and pioneered a program to use the certification as a means of structuring a training course and to build and maintain an accessibility community. Both the exam preparation course and the ongoing continuing education credit classes and events are designed to enhance the skills of any staff who are responsible for any aspect of digital accessibility, such as editing websites, designing instruction, creating presentations, writing articles and social media posts, or providing services to any audience that may include people with disabilities.

Staff who participated in the cohort-based training classes completed an online course, attended three days of instructor-led training, and participated in study sessions. The course materials were designed by Damian, who also led the classes and study sessions. UXO staff were certified by the IAAP and proctored the online exams onsite. UXO staff were among the first cohort to take the exam, helping the office to strengthen its capabilities in promoting inclusive, user-centered design.

Presenting the award to Damian and Mary, Dr. Christopher Lee of the G3ICT noted that, "Their team's commitment to certification and to developing best practices, as well as to decentralizing expertise throughout the campus, is phenomenal."