Skip to content Skip to navigation

Minutes for Accessing Higher Ground Conference Meeting 2007

ATHEN Minutes - November 8, 2007 at Boulder, Colorado
10th Annual Accessing Higher Ground Conference


Secretary- Elect opens the meeting. Ascertainment of the presence of a quorum – Yes.

President Ron provides overview of ATHEN for attendees. As of this meeting, ATHEN has 85 members.This is an unconfirmed count as a full accounting of members is in progress at the time of this submission. Fiscal balance is $3037.03 as of the AHG meeting on November 8, 2007.

Membership awards and recognitions

E.A. Draffan – Honorary Membership voted unanimous. (3.6. Honorary - Individuals of distinction who are elected unanimously by the Executive Officers and approved by a 2/3 vote of the membership because of outstanding and noteworthy service in the field of AT in Higher Education. Dues for this classification are waived.)

Howard Kramer – Official recognition of his ten years of service to the Accessing Higher Ground conference.

  • Discussion of the 2008 AHG conference being the 11th anniversary.
  • Discussion of potential special events for the 11th anniversary
  • “AHG goes to 11”

Updates on Affiliations and Conferences

  • Accessing Higher Ground (Howard)
    • Present conference (AHG 2007)
    • Howrad Kramer did not attend the meeting
    • General consensus among attendees was that the conference was going very well.
  • Student registrations for future AHG conferences
    • Dann Berkowitz broached the topic of ATHEN offering sponsorships of students so that they may attend the AHG conference.
    • Ad Hoc committee to formed to investigate this and report back to the Executive Committee (Dann Berkowitz, Sean Keegan, Heidi Scher, Gerry Nies)
  • AHEAD (President Ron)
    • Call for proposals for the 2008 AHEAD conference
    • AHEAD does look to ATHEN for presentations on tech issues.
  • TechShare (E.A. Draffan)
    • TechShare is the UK answer to AHG – takes place in October.
    • Many presentation on e-text/alt-format- very good conference
    • There is a desire to open the conference to entities outside of the UK
  • Educause (Terry Thompson)
    • Educause has started an IT Accessibility Constituency Group -
    • Terry spoke at annual Educause meeting to an audience of 100+ high level IT administrators for 30+ minutes.
    • Reports that he and ATHEN are  making positive headway with Educause.
    • Terry recommends that ATHEN members get involved with Educause activities at the regional and local level.
  • ATIA Conference
    • Howard Kramer and Dan Comden are ‘Strand Managers’
    • At the 2007 CSUN conference ATHEN was invited to submit presentations
    • 6-8 ATHEN members will be presenting at ATIA in January, 2008.
    • ATIA is very K-12 vendor driven conference


If anyone is interested in being on the editorial review board, contact President Ron. E.A. Draffan is guest editor for 3rd edition and the 3rd edition focuses on practices in the European community. It is now up on the ATHEN website.

4th edition is being edited by Theresa Wells-Haven and the theme for the 4th edition is “Who we are as a profession?”

  • What does it mean to be an AT professional?
  • Daily role(s) and daily activities
  • Necessary skills and abilities
  • Theresa is looking for someone to write an editorial in order to articulate the theme in a positive manner.
  • The deadline for submission is fluid.


Learning Technologies (Saroj Primlani).

  • Attempt to assess how vendors access or build accessibility into their products.
  • More people need to get involved.

Website & Wiki (Sean Keegan)

  • As always – looking for website content
  • Wiki is not yet ready for public use but members can access it
  • Wiki needs content as well
  • Sean is working on how to best protect the content

Consulting Group (Ron Stewart)

  • Question to membership about interest in doing accessibility evaluations for institutions, companies, public entities, etc.
  • Do we as an organization have the ‘horsepower’ to create an Accessibility Evaluation group and accept payments for such services
    • Example – a vendor of ‘classroom clickers’ desires an outside and objective opinion of their products.
    • Vendor seeks assistance with hands-on evaluation of products.
  • President Ron has a list of possible consulting opportunities and needs feedback as to ATHEN as a group would (or would not) approach this.
  • One possible catch for entities who hire ATHEN for such work is the insistence of leadership that such evaluations be made available for public consumption.
  • The matter was left to the membership to consider and for interested parties to think about it and have an off-line conversation with Ron.

Survey (Terry Thompson)

  • The updates version of the survey is ready for distribution.
  • During the winter and spring members will be contacted.
  • Results of the survey will help to inform Journal issue #4.
  • Much thanks to E.A. Draffan and Pratik Patel for their assistance.

iTunes U (Joe Humber – proxy)

  • The group is actively meting under the direction of Joe Humbert.
  • The group has two primary goals:
    • Prepare evaluations and send a letter to Apple regarding the accessibility of iTunes U. – President Ron recommends against a letter being the best choice at this time.
    • Develop guidelines for the captioning and/or synching of podcasts.
  • A proper review of iTunes U and appropriate feedback to Apple so that ATHEN is recognized for the organizations professionalism and expertise comprises an excellent opportunity.
  • However, it is important that we as an organization do not screw this up.
  • The fact that ATHEN is working/communicating with Apple/Mac in a very respectful, polite, constructive, and professional manner is having a positive impact on how our organization is viewed by outside entities.

Technology Certification (Ron Stewart)

  • There had been talk of ATHEN developing a general DSS certification program in conjunction with AHEAD.
  • AHEAD had spoken with President Ron about developing a program in AT for DSS professionals.
  • This is currently on the side-burner (as opposed to the back-burner). Ron is continuing the conversation.
  • The group had a lively conversation comparing RESNA certification to a potential ATHEN certification.

Elections (Pratik Patel)

  • Dan Comden and Pratik Patel were thanked for their service to the organization.
  • Election results were announced as follows:
    • President – Ron Stewart
    • Vice-President – Terry Thompson
    • Secretary – Dann Berkowitz
    • Treasurer (elect) – Heidi Scher* (*The election results were contested. There has been a call for the election to be redone.)
  • Membership Coordinator – this position is a non-elected position and with his election to Secretary, Dann Berkowitz passed the position and responsibilities on to Joe Humbert.

Minutes submitted by Secretary-elect Daniel Berkowitz