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IT Next: Digital Access & Inclusion Conference, May 16, 2019

Presentation Slide Deck and Videos

Complete 2019 IT Next Conference Slide Deck (, 140 MB).

Video (51:33): Welcome (Baker & McCurdy) & A Brief History of Digital Accessibility at Michigan State University (Hudson & Pierce) (

Video (41:44): We Will be Known by the Students We Graduate: Toward a More Accessible Institution (Grabill) & Accessible Learning Conference Announcement (Fowler et al.) (

Video (36:58): Digital Content and Accessibility becomes Digital Experience Team: DigitalX (Evans) (

What is it?

IT Next: Digital Access and Inclusion Conference is a half day event, first held on May 16, 2019 in alignment with Global Accessibility Awareness Day (, that provided an opportunity for IT professionals, communicators, and academic specialists across the institution to engage, network, and advance in their careers.

"Digital access" addresses how our users access electronic information, and how content creators, programmers, and developers and other staff can ensure that web pages and web delivered content can function with assistive technology used by persons with disabilities.

  • Come learn about why digital access and inclusion are an integral part of the modern digital landscape.
  • Hear from leaders on how technology is a driving force that enables access, and the major role that MSU and other institutions have to play.
  • Discover how you can make IT more accessible for persons with disabilities.

At MSU, we’re continually working to make the experience more inclusive and accessible for everyone. If you plan to attend and require any accommodations (e.g., alternate formats, live captioning, interpreters) to participate, please email us at

Why are we doing this?

MSU IT has welcomed over 200 staff members over the past year, all of whom are passionate and dedicated to the people and technology they support. While we have much work to do to realize the potential of this new organization, IT Next 2019 is intended to provide an opportunity to learn why access in technology is so important, ways that we all can support this work, and learn how MSU IT is taking ownership of our core software and services and focusing to support digital access and inclusion.

Date and Time

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Registration begins at 12:30 PM
Sessions will be from 1 to 4 PM EDT, with an optional reception after.
Add to calendar: Sessions only, Sessions & Reception


Clara Bell Smith Center
282 West Shaw Lane
East Lansing, MI 48824
View Map

Staff and metered visitor parking is available across the street at the Spartan Stadium (lot 79)

Speaker Bios

Session 1 at 1pm

Michael Hudson

Michael Hudson serves as Director of the MSU Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD at Michigan State University). Recruited to MSU in 1992 by Judy Gentile (RCPD founding Director), he served for nearly 8 years as Blindness and Visual Impairment Specialist while simultaneously advancing MSU leadership in assistive technology and accessible textbooks. By the mid 1990s Michael expanded his focus to include students with chronic health and mobility disabilities, serving as specialist for these areas. He was named Director of the rCPD in 2000 following a national search and a prior one-year term of service as Acting Director.

Today, Michael remains passionate about MSU's status as a global leader in higher education and maximizing opportunity for persons with disabilities. His intensive focus on ability, skill development, and organizational efficiency aids his quest for excellence despite his own blindness. Hudson exclaims, "Disabilities need not limit achievement they merely mandate a greater level of creativity, commitment and a repertoire of compensatory techniques."

Graham Pierce

Graham is the Assistant Director of MSU Usability/Accessibility Research and Consulting (UARC), where he has supervised and conducted digital accessibility evaluations, advised on accessibility policy, and worked on grant-funded research for over a decade with partners ranging from academic departments to Fortune 500 multinationals. He also serves on a variety of federal, state, and MSU committees focused on digital accessibility and disability issues.

Session 2, Keynote at 2pm

Jeff Grabill

Jeff Grabill is Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Technology and Director of the Hub for Innovation in Learning and Technology at Michigan State University (MSU). The Hub is designed to help MSU reinvent itself as a learning institution by working with faculty, students, and staff to identify and invent new approaches to learning and teaching, including the use of digital technologies. Jeff is also the Teaching and Learning node leader for the Academic Advancement Network.

Before assuming his role in the Provost's office, Jeff was Chair of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures where he also holds a faculty position as Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing. He helped found the Writing in Digital Environments Research Center. Jeff is also a founder of Drawbridge Incorporated, an educational technology company. As a researcher, Grabill studies how digital writing is associated with citizenship, learning, and knowledge work practices. He has published two books on community literacy and articles in journals like College Composition and Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Computers and Composition, and English Education. He has won seven awards for his scholarly publications.

Session 3 at 3pm

Nate Evans

Nate works with students, faculty, staff, and administrators across the institution to help create more inclusive environments, and shape better digital experiences. He leads Michigan State University's digital accessibility program, and the Digital Content & Accessibility team to provide central support and resources, and to measure digital accessibility improvement.