An Update on Accessibility at Bard
A Diversity@Bard Newsletter UpdateBard College has made an ongoing institutional commitment to strengthening and expanding accessibility and inclusion with input from all segments of the campus community, especially students. Although the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted some of our progress last spring, work in this area has now resumed and will continue full force into the fall semester of 2021 and beyond.
Over the past year, we have worked together to make Bard more accessible, from campus improvements to curriculum updates. Some of the highlights:
Facilities Audit: The College completed a facilities audit to assess and prioritize physical improvements in a systemized and efficient way across campus. On-site visits and accessibility audits were conducted at more than 120 campus buildings and locations. Priority status for upgrades was given to highly utilized academic and public spaces, specifically Olin, Olin LC, and Rose/Hegeman, plus Kline Commons and the Campus Center, where more substantial improvements will also be done. Additional priorities include campus-wide signage updates and continued efforts with pathways and parking.
Access Barrier Reporting: A mechanism was developed for the community to report any access barriers in order to mitigate them quickly and efficiently.
Barrier Reporting Form
Interactive Campus Map: Bard has contracted with Concept3D, a mapping software company that generated a campus model/map of Bard, creating interactive layers with accessibility information highlighting aspects of terrain and building access.
Bard Accessibility Map
Working Group: An accessibility working group comprising students, staff, and faculty now meets regularly to review the physical accessibility of campus, address technological/document accessibility, and review instructional and human resource practices.
Curriculum and Campus Life: On the curriculum front, the College established a Disability and Accessibility Studies curriculum initiative in spring 2021. The curriculum initiative, listed for the first time on the spring 2021 course list, both organizes courses that relate to this area under one heading and serves as a catalyst for the development of additional classes beginning in 2021–22.
The Center for Faculty and Curricular Development is providing training for universal design and considerations for accessibility and inclusion of disabled students in the classroom.
Accessibility training for Learning Commons tutors and peer counselors is ongoing.
Admission: The Office of Admission has reached out to prospective students through webinars and podcasts on campus accessibility and accommodations. The Admission team has focused on inclusion and accessibility in their new application process.
Speaker Series: A speaker series on disability and accessibility is planned for spring 2021. Disability justice advocate Angel Love Miles will deliver the keynote address at the 2021 Difference & Justice Symposium on March 20, and memoirist and poet Kenny Fries will speak in April.
Kline Commons Renovation: Finally, upgrades to the interior and exterior of Kline Commons are scheduled for summer 2021. Accessibility considerations are an essential part of the renovation plans. In addition to servery changes to increase traffic flow, there will be updated and additional signage, contact information and/or intercom at entry points, grading and repairs to the patio, and non-gendered, ADA-accessible bathrooms added. The renovation also adds a “clean kitchen” that can accommodate all major food allergies, including gluten. Outdoor pathway, parking, and grading considerations will also be a major component of this renovation.
For more information, call 845-758-6822.