Short-term Recommendations (6-12 months)
Phase one entails reviewing and augmenting the existing ICT Accessibility Policy (ICTAP) concerning the recommendations identified by HirePotential to address any gaps in the policy. A formal Council (The Accessibility ICT Policy Council - AICTPC) has been established to oversee these modifications. The highlights of phase one include:
- Address and execute changes to the accessibility evaluation standards, procurement process, policy, budget, and metrics.
- Revise the building infrastructure obligations by relying on property management building codes, as they relate to ADA specifications for embedded building maintenance and monitoring equipment and make the evaluation exempt from the policy.
- Revise the exception appeal examples on creating an Equally Effective Alternative Access Plan (this has been completed).
- Establish a legacy software expectations schedule, with timelines specified, explaining the deadlines by which currently non-compliant legacy software is to be brought into compliance.
- Provide alternative access examples in the policy for reference purposes.
- Define staff, faculty, and student responsibilities in the policy to know they are responsible for understanding how to apply this policy to all technology resources that they create, maintain, procure, adopt, or publish.
- Identify the appropriate staffing to fulfill the current requirements set out by the original policy and the revised version.
Mid-term Recommendations (12-18 months)
Where Phase One recommendations provide a means for defining gaps in the policy and related processes and changes needed, the next phase speaks more to how we will execute these recommendations. The work of the AICTPC will entail a continuation of the evaluation of the testing roles, responsibilities, and processes, including the following key signature objectives:
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the current manual and automated accessibility testing processes.
- Identify testing process documentation requirements on Answers (answers.syr.edu).
- Document the requirements and work required to develop proposals used to hire external entities in support of the purchase, adoption, creation, customization, and oversight of products and services. (This will entail creating and instituting an Accessibility Rider to address auto-renewing products and services in order to enforce accessibility requirements uniformly across the campus, as well as improving the procurement process through the hiring of more ITS staff to evaluate products and services pre-purchase, additional training for the campus community, and improved reporting on efficacy of the procurement process.)
- Reduce the risk of inaccessible custom-built or customized products and services being developed or on campus or by external companies by creating a master list (to be housed and maintained by ITS).
- Assure that the same staff who have budget approval responsibilities are also responsible for the accessibility of purchased products and services. Assure that all IT products and services with Master Services Agreements include accessibility terms and conditions, and that reviews are completed as part of the ICT contract review process.
- Work with Purchasing, the Office of University Counsel, and the ITS Contract Manager to create and institute an Accessibility Rider to address auto-renewing products and services to enforce accessibility requirements uniformly across the campus.
Long-term Recommendations (18-36 months)
The long-term recommendations seek to secure a sustainable model for continued accessibility review. A key objective of this model is to create additional ITS Accessibility staff positions, which would position the University to be able to address the following needs:
- Provide procurement training specific to accessibility testing in alignment with the policy.
- Work with schools/colleges, departments, student organizations, and vendors on the collection of credible evidence to be used to speed up the purchase approvals and to assure compliance, or the creation of alternative access plans.
- Provide ICT consulting to both the purchaser and vendor. (Explicitly include a vendor section in the Policy documenting expectations concerning the procurement process and products and services deliverables).
- Establish and manage the purchase process improvements that include vendor survey responses, evaluation techniques for the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, and the creation of an Accessibility Conformance Report. Provide trainings on the new processes and reporting materials. Increase ITS accessibility staffing to assist in building out and supporting the procurement asset analysis.
- Establish ongoing effectiveness metrics to: (1) monitor the usefulness of accessibility product and service reviews and update as needed, (2) evaluate the Accessibility Assessment Committee (AAC)’s approval criteria and update as needed, and (3) evaluate the impact of the Accessibility Compliance Committee (ACC) exception process and update as needed.
It will also be critical for sustainability to implement success evaluation criteria and associated continuous improvement objectives, namely, review of staffing level effectiveness, accessibility testing strategy effectiveness, AAC and ACC utilization, and the ICT Accessibility Policy.