[Athen] Statement of Nomination for Vice President

Terry Thompson tft at u.washington.edu
Mon Oct 29 16:01:37 PDT 2007

Hello ATHEN membership:

Struck by seeing this in Pratik's recent email listing candidates...

> 2. Vice President: (none)

... I've decided to run for the position of Vice President of ATHEN. I was
one of the founding members of ATHEN, and have been a leader in many of
ATHEN's key initiatives, including the following:

* ATHEN Survey. I led the committee that created the original survey in
2004, and published the results on-line, as well as in the EDUCAUSE Center
for Applied Research (ECAR) Research Bulletin. This survey is the sole
comprehensive source for objective data on how colleges and universities are
addressing their technology access needs. I'm currently working with a new
committee on an update to the survey.

* ATHEN Wiki. After Sean Keegan installed the wiki software, I have been
actively working to populate it with a core content structure that
ultimately will be self-sustaining. The wiki is currently being utilized by
several groups within and external to ATHEN.

* Collaboration with EDUCAUSE. I have been involved in EDUCAUSE as a
presenter and accessibility advocate since 2002, working to promote
accessibility awareness in the higher education IT community. I brought this
effort to ATHEN in 2006, and coordinated a teleconference involving several
ATHEN officers and members and several EDUCAUSE executive staff members.
Following that historic meeting, I was invited by EDUCAUSE to serve as
leader of a formally recognized IT Accessibility Constituent Group, which
now has over 200 members. I was also invited to present on "Critical Issues
in IT Accessibility" at the annual CIO Meeting, which I did just last week
to an audience of nearly 100 high-level IT administrators. This meeting last
week, and the IT Accessibility Constitutent Group meeting that followed, are
likely to be springboards for many additional accessibility-related
activities within EDUCAUSE, possibly in partnership with ATHEN.

* Collaboration with vendors. I have been active in a leadership role on the
Blackboard Accessibility Interest Group, organized by Jon Gunderson et al at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is not officially an
ATHEN group, though many if not most of its participants are ATHEN members,
and the group is now utilizing the ATHEN wiki to document some of its
efforts. A goal of the group is to work collaboratively with Blackboard
toward their more fully addressing accessibility issues in their product
development process starting early in the idea phase. The group has recently
divided into four sub-groups, one of which is the Testing Subgroup, which I
lead. I am also a participant in ATHEN's iTunes Accessibility SubGroup, and
have worked to structure and populate the ATHEN Wiki to support the work of
groups such as these.

As access technology professionals, our efforts to increase technology
accessibility at our institutions is highly dependent on vendors developing
products that are accessible. I believe that ATHEN, possibly in partnership
with EDUCAUSE, can play a key role in collaborating with vendors to achieve
this goal.

* Evaluation Subgroup (aka "AT Initiative"). This group may or may not have
an official name, but it does have a well-defined goal, which is to develop
a product (either a tool, checklist, method, set of guidelines, or simply a
resource) that (a) helps vendors to integrate accessibility into the design
process, and (b) helps purchasers/users evaluate accessibility of products
under consideration. I have been an active participant in this group since
it started, and am currently conducting a review of existing tools and
methods, the results of which will be a living document, published on the
ATHEN wiki.

I have worked in the technology access field for 15 years across three
organizations. I am currently at the University of Washington (UW), where I
divide my time between providing IT accessibility support to UW faculty and
staff, and doing the same nationally with the grant-funded DO-IT Program

Terry Thompson
Senior Computer Specialist
DO-IT, Computing & Communications
University of Washington
tft at u.washington.edu

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