Utah Assistive Technology Program changes leadership

Dr. Martin Blair

Dr. Martin Blair recently resigned as the Utah Assistive Technology Program’s director, after leading it for more than ten years. He remains at the CPD as the associate director of both the Technical Assistance for Excellence in Education center and the Mountain Plains Regional Resource Center.

A nationwide search will begin for a new UATP director. It will likely take six months. In the meantime, CPD Assistive Technology Specialist Sachin Pavithran will serve as the program's interim director.

"UATP has been an awesome experience," Blair said. "I’ve met tremendous people from all over the country, who use technology to be independent." His heart is still with them, but as other duties demanded his time he decided it was time to step away. He looks forward to an infusion of new ideas and fresh thinking in the program.

Sachin Pavithran

"Dr. Blair has been an effective and highly visible leader of this project for over a decade," said CPD director Bryce Fifield. "He has seen the project through several critical transitions, launched a number of new initiatives, operationalized new state-wide policies affecting the acquisition, maintenance, and use of assistive technologies throughout Utah, and has been an important national leader affecting assistive technology legislation. His work, along with that of all the UATP staff and partners, has had a profound and long lasting impact on the quality of life of Utahns with disabilities."

The people who receive services from the Utah Assistive Technology Program will not see a change, said Interim Director Pavithran. But the staff at UATP will be seeking opportunities to partner with other colleges and departments within Utah State University, with the aim of creating and applying new technologies that will make people with disabilities more independent.

CPD by the numbers

The CPD welcomes seven new faculty fellows in 2012: Dr. Damon Cann, Dr. Chris Davies, Maureen Hearns, Dr. Lisa Boyce, Dr. Steve Hansen, Dr. Tim Riesen and Christopher Gauthier. Watch our website in January for their biographies. This group brings the total of faculty fellows to seventeen. The CPD's fellows are from five different colleges across the Utah State University campus, and one of USU's regional campuses.

Can people get to all your content? Find out how accessible your institution's website truly is.

A girl uses a computer.

Using the internet is essential in gaining a postsecondary education today. Students, faculty, and staff must have access to institutional web content for many educational activities.

However, if websites that provide necessary information are not accessible, those with disabilities may not be able to independently complete their daily assignments or compete with their peers.  The most accessible webpage in the world is still inaccessible if a user with disabilities must navigate inaccessible pages to get to it.

The Gaining Online Accessible Learning through Self-study (GOALS) project developed an innovative solution to this issue by designing an online self-study tool. It helps colleges and universities evaluate their system-wide web accessibility efforts and improve their accessibility across all departments.

This Benchmarking & Planning Tool will begin its next round of invitation-only testing in early 2012. For the next three years, GOALS will work with its partners to help inform colleges and universities about the Tool and get them on board.  Top level administrators must be involved to promote the institution-wide changes necessary, and a team of key players must work together to address and maintain web accessibility.

If you would like your institution to take part in the next round of testing, please contact the National Center on Disability and Access to Education. For more information, read the rest of the story on our blog.

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CPD Holiday Card

We wish all of you the best holiday season. Watch this message for a glimpse into Christmases Past, as we continue to celebrate our 40th Anniversary.

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