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College of Natural Sciences Five Year Plan

MAU: College of Natural Science

Submitted by: Ryan Ward, Cori Fata-Hartley, and Stephen Thomas

Date: 9/1/15

MSU Statement on Accessibility:

MSU is committed to providing accessible experiences to all students, faculty, and staff.

General Statement on Accessibility by MAU

General Statement on Accessibility by MAU Please include a general statement on accessibility for your MAU which describes any additional requirements or focal areas you have.


A college that is welcoming for students, employees, and participants in the college's programs and activities.

The College of Natural Science seeks to provide an educational experience that respects the dignity and independence of its students, faculty and staff members, and that embodies and promotes the principles of integration, inclusive design and equal opportunity.


To further strengthen the College of Natural Science's culture of inclusion by creating a learning and working environment - in principle, word and practice - that makes information accessible to all users.

Key Goals

Over the course of this three-to five-year accessibility plan, the College of Natural Science will:

  1. Identify barriers and establish strategies to address accessibility issues and regulatory requirements within the university selected timeframe;
  2. Encourage and support efforts related to improving the accessibility of all educational materials, websites and multimedia through university policies, procedures, protocols and standards.
  3. Proactively evaluate and review the college accessibility plan to ensure compliance, maintain continuity, identify continuous improvement opportunities and the overall success of the initiative; and
  4. Inspire an environment where educational services and materials are delivered in a manner that respects the rights, dignity and independence of all users.

Process and Training

  • Training methods (Faculty and Staff)
  • Training materials developed or used (Include links to materials if available)
  • Describe communication infrastructure for accessibility between units, college, and university.
  • Describe mechanisms for how accessibility issues can be identified and acted upon at the correct level.
  • What are your plans to sustain accessibility awareness, knowledge and activities? (Community of practice? Ongoing training and awareness?)

Training and Materials



The college's strategy for accessibility training involves a combination of face-to-face workshops with experts / peers and digital resources that allow for just-in-time training. The college plans to employ trainings offered at the university level (e.g., LCTTP and IT Services), as well as to collaborate with other units on campus to offer workshops and presentations during the academic year. These events will be coordinated by the educational technology leads of each college (and in some cases, departments). Individualized trainings for departments, programs and faculty can be scheduled through the college digital curriculum coordinator.

Communication and mechanisms

For iterative improvement of course accessibility, the college is increasing the number of possible reporting lines for identifying and elevating accessibility concerns. Lines of reporting will include SIRS, course surveys and/or college and departmental advisors. In addition, we will create structures and reinforce communication lines with RCPD to help develop early warning systems that can increase faculty development time in meeting accessibility needs.

Formal and informal faculty and staff liaisons will help connect resources in departments, the college and across the university. Faculty will work with liaisons to identify the appropriate resources to aid in curriculum and content development.


Part of college's approach to sustaining accessibility will be to foster a community of practice on accessibility. Informal groups will help with dissemination, troubleshooting and adoption of accessibility approaches. Additionally, the college will connect accessibility to processes, workflows, awards, professional development and reporting lines that are already in place.



Website content contributor training will use workshops provided by LCTTP and IT Services and individual and small-group consulting sessions/workshops within the college.

Additionally, the college will use venues such as its quarterly website forum and regular CMS open hours to provide website accessibility training and review commonly found website accessibility errors.

Communication and Mechanisms

Website managers at the departmental level will effectively serve as an informal extension of the Liaison Network and function as a collegewide accessibility communication and solution network.

Websites will include links for reporting accessibility concerns. Concerns logged in this manner will be sent to both the college digital content liaison and the responsible website caretakers.


The college will use automated software to increase the frequency of site scanning for accessibility and provide regular website accessibility reviews for departments and follow-up with mediation training as needed.

New Content

How is your MAU handling content generation and guaranteeing that all new content is accessible? For new courses, websites, and applications

  • Please outline how you will be ensuring that the content or application is accessible.
  • Describe your process for training course developers, web developers and for purchasing new software/webware


For online and hybrid instruction, the college has a digital curriculum coordinator who will consult with faculty on the development of new courses and direct faculty members to university and college trainings that will include accessibility and universal design. Instructors and developers of face-to-face curriculum will receive training through regularly scheduled college and university initiatives and through dissemination from course coordinators.


The college regularly reviews new content and applications for accessibility and

Most college websites are being created in a Content Management System (CMS) that is hosted out of the Dean's office. Content in this system will be regularly reviewed for accessibility and common CMS resources that increase accessibility can be pushed to these sites.

Training resources and course information related to accessible software selection will be distributed through the college's web forums.

Existing Content

How is your MAU handling remediation of content already generated but not accessible?

  • Provide a scope for the amount of work that needs to be done
  • Please outline how you will inventory and prioritize your current digital content for scanning and remediation.
    • Websites (e.g., use Google Analytics, use MSU&#39s compliance scanner)
      • Core content (Active and related to the primary mission of the MAU)
      • Secondary content (Active not related to the primary mission of the MAU, e.g. internal websites such as meeting reservation systems or other administrative apps)
      • Historical (Not currently maintained by the MAU, but available on the internet) All older content than 2010 needs to have a note that it's not accessible and we can make it so if needed - or that we can accommodate
  • Courses (e.g., pull data from Registrar; begin with the large enrollment courses...)
    • Existing Active Course Content
  • Third Party Applications (except those listed on the MSU Acceptable Applications list)


The college currently has 58 online courses and five hybrid courses that will likely include a large number of digital resources that will need to be made accessible. These courses will be given priority, followed by face-to-face courses with large enrollment and introductory courses and more specialized and low enrollment courses.


The College of Natural Science hosts more than 100 websites and web-based applications and will prioritize the materials based on use, need and impact.


The college has two large scale academic applications in use: LON CAPA (Course Weaver) and beSocratic. Because of their integration into the curriculum, these programs are a high priority for evaluating their accessibility and developing potential alternatives. These programs will go through a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) analysis that will guide the development of educational equivalents for their use with students with disabilities.

Exception process

Attach any exception requests and list their current status as submitted, pending, or approved.

Purchased or Outsourced Content

For purchased/outsourced applications, services and content, please explain

  1. How accessibility evaluation or verification is included in your process of decision-making and procurement
  2. Your current or planned support to address the gap with inaccessible content or functions.
  3. Enterprise Software.
    • It should be accessible, if not then the vendor needs to know that they are on the hook.

Academic Applications

Purchasing applications from third-party vendors for academic purposes will be done in collaboration and consultation with IT Services using their procedures for determining accessibility and need for support.

Strategic planning

Describe how your MAU will improve content or training of faculty with regards to accessibility:

Strategic Plan by Year

Year 1

Create infrastructure to identify and promote accessibility needs, identify most at risk resources, and begin active interventions. Types of activities might include:

  • Creating trainings on accessible documents (PDF, DOC, etc.).
  • Communicating accessibility expectations to faculty and staff members.
  • Creating an accessibility network: Identify liaisons and connect to course coordinators.
  • Identifying and building infrastructure components to foster accessibility attitudes and initiatives.
  • Beginning a regular communications website and application accessibility review cycle and enhance website headers, footers and navigation tools for accessibility.

Year 2

Continue to address improved accessibility in high risk assets, develop interventions to impact a wider range of accessibility issues and begin evaluation of interventions. Types of activities might include:

  • Quantifying percentage of accessible syllabi.
  • Fostering an accessibility network.
  • Creating accessibility training on additional file types (e.g., PowerPoint).
  • Cataloging content in all online and hybrid courses and identify areas for remediation.
  • Reviewing and enhancing content of top 12 percent highest traffic, communications-based websites and applications.

Year 3

Begin identifying accessibility needs of medium-to low-risk assets and iterative design of interventions based on evaluation data. Types of activities might include:

  • Collecting data on quantity and quality of accessible documents (e.g., PowerPoints, text and pdfs).
  • Evaluating accessibility of content in online/hybrid courses and websites.
  • Creating training on accessible multimedia.
  • Reviewing and enhancing content of top 35 percent of highest traffic, communications-based websites and applications.

Year 4

Extend accessibility remediation to low-risk courses, continue iterative design of interventions based on evaluation data and re-evaluate accessibility reporting mechanisms and sustainability measures. Types of activities might include:

  • Collecting data on quantity and quality of accessible multimedia.
  • Extending faculty population exposed to accessibility training.
  • Putting infrastructure and feedback mechanisms in place for iterative course design for accessibility.
  • Reviewing and enhancing content of top 60 percent of highest traffic, communications-based websites and applications.

Year 5

Broaden evaluation of accessible resources to consider persons with psychological and cognitive disabilities. Evaluate overall accessibility of the college's digital resources and develop new 5 year plan.

Types of activities might include:

  • Examining accessibility of materials for recognized psychological and cognitive disabilities.
  • Evaluating infrastructure and course content for accessibility.
  • Developing future directions for accessibility with stakeholders.

Resource Allocation/Investment

  • Describe the allocation and to what end it serves
  • How are these investments sustainable, or not?
  • List them and provide a description


Funds have been invested in collaboration with IT Services to set up an undergraduate assistant program that will allow units to pay an hourly fee to remediate the accessibility of materials.


Web development staff time has been reallocated to researching and implementing best accessibility practices and to developing team process to reduce content accessibility errors.

Additional resources that help you support stakeholders (e.g. liaisons, faculty, staff or students) with regards to accessibility:

Any other things you are doing to enable carrying out the policy?


We employ and train a team of student employees to identify inaccessible content and reach out to content owners and identify issues and/or teach remediation practices.

Future Needs

What resources would you like to see put into place to support your MAU in the future?

  • Funding and-or tools to help scan online content for accessibility.
  • Software licenses for products that help with accessible document creation and assessing accessible documents would also be of great value.
  • Video captioning services at a reasonable cost.
  • Continued and regularly refreshed courses for accessibility at low to no-cost through IT Services or LCTTP are crucial to our success.

Additional Comments