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Minutes for ATHEN Annual Meeting 2015

November 18, 2015 (Wednesday)

Accessing Higher Ground Conference
Westminster Colorado

Minutes by Wink Harner

Meeting called to order 6:38 p.m. by President Sean Keegan

Treasurer Report

  • Heidi Scher: $4914.25 balance
  • One check returned & cleared
  • $9552.42 checking acct
  • pay pal $497.72
  • Total $10,550.14

Financial outlays:

  • website

Approval of 2014 meeting notes

No corrections
Heidi Scher made a motion to accept 2014 meetings as is; Ron Stewart seconded approved minutes. Voice vote unanimous.

  • changes to bylaws
  • added members at large
  • changed membership year to 1-1 to 12-31 of each year
  • came under AHEAD


Working on membership database; expected to be ready to go online through the AHEAD site for membership info for ATHEN.


  • if you're an ATHEN member, should be able to participate in AHEAD webinars at membership rate (rather than at non-member rates)

Update on Committee Reports

Joe Humbert membership report:

  • 72 professional members with 60 universities represented
  • 2 student members (see his report)
  • associate members

No other committee reports.


  1. Teresa Haven - Vice-President
  2. Joe Humbert - treasurer
  3. Robert Beach - member at large

New Business:

Update on Canvas collaboration - Terrill Thompson

Campus Collaboration Group - 92 people have signed up for the CANVAS course, report questions, obstacles and suggestions; report to liaison with Instructure who works on resolving accessibility bugs. Concern that it may not carry forward. Bridge accessibility team not at the same level of accessibility as Instructure. Collaborations with Blackboard (previously led by Hadi Rangin) and other LMSs. How can we promote collaboration efforts with other LMS vendors?

SEAN: call to engage others in promoting working groups with other vendors changed because of job or responsibility changes. Time to call for new folks to participates. Existing list of vendors & collaborations exist.
Rachel Thompson of Univ. of Alabama - volunteered to lead - contact her for willingness to collaborate.
Sheryl Burgstahler - suggested an open discussion on the ATHEN list serve in re collaborating in individual ways on our own campuses and share with the group.

Educause IT Constituency Group - Sue Cullen

Focusing on:

  • accessibility policies
  • IT risk document collaboration & posted online
  • ongoing building awareness on campus & with faculty
  • procurement, accessible tech
  • web accessibility
  • curricular accessibility

Annual Meeting: IT constituency working group HUGE attendance (Terrill's count), Christian Johansen - 40-50 reported in attendance, Policy group joined in.

New Business Discussed:

Assistive Technology badges - promoted by Leyna Bencomo

- is there an interest in creating badges for accessible technology expertise - recognizing diverse skills represented. Start with list of defined skills.
Comments: Tom Weisbeg (university of Wisconsin?) Question: what sort of accreditation will be recognized? Who qualifies the badge-holder skills?
Comment: Ron Stewart: ATHEN has created a list of competencies. IAAP has certification available. Degrees in AT? K-12 focused. Is there credentialing available?
SEAN: Teaching Accessibility group with Educause, establishing knowledge & awareness
SUE: tackle the curriculum first.
SUGGESTION: Sean recommended group think about and collaborate on suggestions on how to move forward with "certification" for AT accessibility. Executive council of ATHEN would welcome suggestions on how to accomplish developing criteria.
LEYNA - will start discussion on the ATHEN list. Ron will provide materials already prepared.

What are obstacles/challenges in setting up/adopting accessible instructional materials on their campuses?

Robert Becker: would share accessible instructional developments happening with his campus.
Ron Stewart  - recommended establishing a database of (print/alt media) for sharing on server. Not legal to share books across some state lines.
SUE - discussed liability issues of gathering usability/accessibility data
BRAD (who) Held from University of Central Florida - timeliness of testing must be made known, as well as version and under what circumstances.
SHERYL - thinks ATHEN too loosely organized to create a database. Suggested it be grant-funded and with paid staff.

JOSEPH - Taft College - recommended a database similar to ATN, asking vendors to submit what they're actively working on in re accessibility.
SEAN: two models - providing information only (static) versus interaction (dynamic); Suggested taking suggestions and comments/ideas offline and have executive council make a recommendation or report to group at large.
JOE HUMBERT - suggested universities chip in & pool $$ to set up & maintain database.

BRAD - suggested a share point discussion board.
TERRILL - reminded group this is an unconference topic for discussion on Thursday
RON - wants a concrete proposal, suggests ATHEN can develop proposal, and turn it over to another (?) group to maintain the database.
CATH - set up a best practices & follow
Use the listserv for conversations & engaging with various other listservs for possibilities.

Membership and Benefits

  • it is not on the website but it will be soon (per Sean).
  • one benefit will be membership price for webinars through AHEAD
  • discounts for conference

Teresa & Sean: In working with IT developers & IT side of house, "personas" are driving the development of IT.

All IT developers at NAU are using personas, working on infusing disability or related issues into ALL of the personas (example: the veteran persona might have tbi, hearing loss & ptsd), can infuse other strategies into the personas (example: language acquisition skills for ELL similar to some LD).
Readily achievable: if working with IT developers, post personas on AHG website that all members could use; will need feedback on personas, how do they look. 10 Personas for Education (book) recommended

Finalizing for roundtables 9:15 11-19-15 - Howard Kramer

Online link for sessions: all online.
Thanks to Howard for putting together a great conference and an increase in attendance.

Heidi moved to adjourn.
Ron seconded.
Adjourned 7:55 p.m.