Accessible Instructing and Workplace Accommodations

Accessibility in teaching and learning is not restricted to making course design and delivery more accessible for students, although this is often the focus. It is also important to consider accessibility for instructors, especially teaching staff who experience disability or chronic illness.

In 2016, McMaster employees participated in an Employment Equity Census, and efforts are now underway to roll out an employment equity strategy for recruitment, retention, recognition, and advancement of employees from equity-seeking groups across campus. 3.3% of McMaster employees who completed the census identify as experiencing a disability, including 3.1% from the “professional” occupational group predominantly composed of faculty (The Employment Equity Working Committee, 2017).

All instructional staff, TAs, and faculty who experience disability in the workplace are entitled to accommodations. In 2015, McMaster updated our Workplace Accommodation Policy to more fully recognize the diversity of our employees and to create a work environment that does not discriminate based on grounds prohibited by Ontario’s Human Rights Code (1990), including those related to disability, chronic illness, mental health concerns, and addiction (Ontario Human Rights Commission, 2014).

While the focus of this resource is on enhancing accessibility for learners, we hope you will also reflect on how we might collectively enhance accessibility for employees in your department and faculty.

If you identify as a McMaster employee, staff member, faculty, or instructor who experiences disability, disablement, chronic illness, or mental health or addiction concerns, we invite you to join our new Employee Accessibility Network for sharing information, supporting each other, and offering suggestions for enhancing accessibility at McMaster. 

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  • Disabled faculty and instructors have written about their experiences as scholars and educators to demystify the misconception that academics don’t experience disability. Their writing advocates for accessibility in the academy and greater inclusion and mentorship of disabled graduate students. Read on with the help of this bibliography!

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