Departmental Accessibility Resource Coordinators

DARC Network Management

Each campus needs leadership of the DARC network.  There are two to three main approaches that can be suggested here, based on ACCESS-ed experience.  Visitors are encouraged to share their own ideas on this site. Please use the "feedback form" available via our home page.

One option for getting started is to find a DARC Manager or form a management team of two to three professionals on the campus.  One of the main discoveries of the ACCESS-ed Project, as it piloted the DARC system, was that the Professional Development offices and the Learning Center offices, are pivotal in disseminating ideas, strategies and information about Universal Design in Education.  Thus, a manager or team involved in one or more of these campus divisions is an essential choice, when available.  

It is also beneficial to have a “seasoned campus professional" who is well known to their colleagues on the campus, who is articulate, well respected and involved in campus governance.

A third option for getting started, one chosen by a couple of our partner campuses, is to first form a Universal Design Committee of interested professionals.  The committee can consider how best to approach setting up a system on your particular campus.  A committee can assist in identifying and the manager or management team then continue to provide support as a steering committee.

No matter the order, some form of a steering committee will be of benefit in strengthening and sustaining the DARC system on a campus. This can be your initial committee or a committee that is formed subsequently by manager or management team. Amidst the ACCESS-ed Partners, one campus started with bringing UDE to campus attention through one interested faculty member, another through the director of the Learning Center on campus, and yet another, through the Disability Service Director on campus.  

Initial interested parties who have been targeted for campus UDE or steering committees have included, but are not exclusive to campus planners, diversity directors, ground supervisors, building supervisors, IT professionals, vice chancellors (or assistant vice chancellors), provosts, deans, purchasing or finance professionals, recreation or athletic directors, student services directors (including disability services), library directors, housing directors, parking and transit directors, evaluation and testing professionals, faculty, and graduate teaching staff.

One campus with an interested faculty member used its convocation as a venue to solicit potential committee members. An ACCESS-ed poster  was prominent, and this faculty member greeted his colleagues with an accompanying hand-out of information about UDE.  He encouraged his interested colleagues to sign up with a sign-up sheet near the convocation registration area.  He utilized the sign-up list to help form a development committee.



Roles and Responsibilities of the Campus DARC Manager(s)

  • To facilitate the creation of a campus network of DARCs.
  • To maintain a campus link to ACCESS-ed Web site resources and other resources specific to campus.
  • To communicate the goals of the project on campus.
  • To facilitate appropriate initial and ongoing training for the DARCs.
  • To provide ongoing support to campus DARCs.
  • To provide support to ACCESS-ed Project data collection.

Purpose of the Departmental Accessibility Resource Coordinator (DARC) Network Manager(s)

  • To help promote an accessible campus climate environment for all individuals with disabilities.
  • To develop a campus-wide support system approach toward universal design concepts in education/instruction.
  • To implement universal design as a first-order approach to meeting needs of students with disabilities to provide more equal access to education and benefit all students.
  • To motivate faculty and staff to implement UDE.
  • To provide resources for DARCs regarding universal design concepts and strategies in education/instruction (by linking to the ACCESS-ed Web site and/or perhaps by maintaining an updated resource database).
  • To assist in replication of DARC system on other campuses.

A lot of people with a disability say, "This is who I am. I don't come here hoping my disability will go away, but because I want to participate."

Carolyn R. Thompson