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Minutes for Accessing Higher Ground Conference Meeting 2006

ATHEN meeting notes November 9, 2006 at Boulder, Colorado 9th Annual Accessing Higher Ground Conference


Ron Stewart welcomed everyone and called the meeting to order - 6:03pm MST.

  • 31 people present at the meeting (35 by end of meeting, apx 8 non-ATHEN members)
  • Officer intros and quick background of org.
  • is the website, is the blog that Dann Berkowitz maintains.
  • Accessing Higher Ground was voted to be the organizations official conference at the CSUN 2006 ATHEN meeting.


  • 148 members as of tonight (international members are Ireland, UK, Canada)
  • $2050.00 in the bank
  • Thanks to those ATHEN members who are presenting this week.


  • e-Journal #2 final draft is near completion.
  • 3rd edition scheduled for the Fall.
  • Looking for guest editors for future issues. Need new guest editor - looking at doing 2 per year.
  • Hoping to go to peer review of the articles.

Pending Business

Maybe a consortium would be a good ATHEN project - Jon Gunderson's proposal.

Consortiums to work with vendors of web-based items. Looking to ATHEN to build on the work started by Jon's team. Has been working with a Consortium currently for working with vendors on accessibility for web-based information, . Work together to improve the accessibility - lobby. The companies do not have a formal way to move forward the complaints. Spoke of working with WebCT - Robert Dumas, who said he liked working with the group because it gave him concrete information and examples to take to WebCT. Vendors spoke to collaborative efforts that helped WebCT to go to be addressing their issues - Illuminate also responded that they wanted this. This would fit into the Web Access SIG.

Ron spoke of affiliation with AHEAD and need for affiliation with other organizations (Dann proposed NASPA)

Educause should be a resource for ATHEN and we should have a presence - Terry Thompson.

Terry was contacted and (Educause) asked him to facilitate an AT roundtable. Terry is coordinating a conference call looking into associating Educause and ATHEN - currently Ron and Terry are going to be participating- the President of Educause is also going to be participating in the hour long conference. Strategy was discussed as to the way Educause is approached. Wanted to limit number of people involved at this stage, and be open to various possibilities. Dann queried how many were Educause members - apx 12 raised their hands. Question was raised whether it would b good to have ATHEN members do presentations at Educause - response was that Educause seemed to especially be interested in innovative or new technologies and accessibility and that this would be a good way to get onto their agendas, at local regional levels as well as possibly at the national level. Some ideas for members include:

  • Look into your individual campuses relationship with Educause.
  • Check the Educause website to see if your school is a member, and ask about become a rep-member.


Tools people are currently using to guide the consortia - Survey of what types of AT are being deployed. Should we be doing a 2007 Survey? Pratik Patel has been working on an accessible survey instrument and it is ready. If anyone is interested in testing the beta version, he needs testers. ATHEN should use Pratik's tool. This would also fit into the Web Access SIG.

SIGS (Special Interest Groups)

  • Web Access - Sean Keegan
    • Dan C. and Sean are heading up the web accessiblity portions of ATHEN.
    • Sean and Dan C. are supposed to co-coordinate the process.
    • The ATHEN website is moving up the Google listings as more people look for information on access technology, the survey, and checking into the eJournal. Wanted more people to step forward and share resources. Contact Sean.
  • Alt-Format [e-text] - Gaier Dietrich is coordinating. Ron reported -
    • Etext Journal (see above)
    • AHEAD and APA (American Publisher Association) update - Meetings and data national postsecondary: if nothing else a Meta database of the availability. Have established a publisher look-up Service: keyword searches for titles to get the connection to the publisher.
    • Ron talked about the format NIMAS files break about one gig... the NIMAS standard model works only til about grade 6.
  • Assistive Tech - Teresa Haven-Wells (not present)
  • Other issues with the SIGs:
    • We need a structure for the SIGS to do their thing and move forward.
    • We need people to step forward and help make this work

Queries on the items held over from year to year

  • do we have web conferences for follow up?
  • how often do we meet?
  • how do we vote – what happens to action items?

Standing Committee Proposal - Membership Committee

Cheryl Porter brought up the point that new members do not know what is going on and do not know how to join the listserv. Pratik proposed a membership committee and have a formal packet for people who join, and said he would be interested in taking that on. Marla said she had some forms for this. Cheryl Porter was very interested in being part of this initiative.

Action Item

Proposal: ATHEN will at least partially host (pay for?) AHG keynote speaker - (Unanimously approved after formal motion was given.)

Other potential action items:

May need a secure portion of the website for sensitive data, and possibly voting. Several items were brought up that would require a change to the bylaws, including creating standing and ad hoq committees.

Membership items:

  • Should elections now be held at AHG? (need to modify bylaws) - Dan C. Other suggestions included voting online.
  • What are the dates of membership - NOT rolling membership (need to modify bylaws)
  • Who should checks be sent to?
  • Can we accept credit cards?

If yearly memberships coincided with the AHG there would be a vehichle for credit cards. AHG received portion from membership dues this year. Dann B. and Marla Roll will lead an effort on how ATHEN can better support the AHG conference (for exampe - ATHEN members proctoring sessions). Notes respectfully submitted by Cath Stager-Kilcommons and Dann Berkowitz.