A look into Information, Accessibility, Design, and Policy at Illinois

by Abigail Kalsto | Dec 05, 2018

In collaboration with the Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services, the College of Applied Health Sciences continues our pioneering efforts on behalf of the full inclusion of people with disabilities by developing the very first university-based professional certificate in Information Accessibility Design and Policy.

The person that transformed the University of Illinois’ policies for people with disabilities: Tim Nugent. “Tim Nugent was a pioneer for disability rights and accessibility, founding a first-of-its-kind program at the University of Illinois, leading research efforts, and advocating for changes that would have influence well beyond the campus ”(Illinois News Bureau).

To honor Nugent and his many innovations, we are Introducing the Timeline of Disability & Accessibility by IADP at Illinois. Dr. Nugent achieved a number of significant “firsts” in serving people with disabilities at the University of Illinois.

1949: First National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament & Founded NWBA
Nugent created the first National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament which lead to the creation of the NWBA to provide a year-round structure to wheelchair basketball” (NWBA).

The first curb cuts at a post-secondary institution1950: The first curb cuts at a post-secondary institution
“Curb cuts on campus promote accessibility for people in wheelchairs and can also serve as a directional guide for the blind” (Illinois Archives).

1952: The first fixed-routine buses with wheelchair lifts.
“When students first came to the Champaign-Urbana campus, there were two transportation options available: push to class or schedule a ride with someone who had a car. In 1952, that changed when the "Blue Bulls," two buses with hydraulic lifts, made their debut. Seats on one side were removed to allow wheelchair access to the remaining row of seats and to accommodate storage. These buses laid the groundwork for accessible metropolitan transportation systems now available nationwide” (Illinois Archives). The first fixed-routine buses with wheelchair lifts

1959: The first and still only residential program to serve students with severe disabilities who require assistance in performing daily living tasks and the first state-of-the-art residential hall integrating students with and without disabilities in a unique living-learning community. Otherwise known as the “Illinois Program Model.”

Tim Nugent Hall is a LEED certified hall and houses mostly upper-division undergraduates, and the first floor is home to the Beckwith Residential Community program for students with severe physical disabilities.“Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) and the Greenbrier Nursing Home of Champaign built the hall Tanbier. Disability support services personnel at the University of Illinois sought to create a means by which students who needed assistance with activities of daily living could move away from home, reside in the Champaign-Urbana community, attend the University of Illinois, and become better prepared to manage their disability-related needs and move to the locale of the best available employment opportunity after graduation” (An Exploration into the Barriers and Facilitators Experienced by University Graduates with Disabilities Requiring Personal Assistance Services). Photo: Tim Nugent Hall is a LEED certified hall and houses mostly upper-division undergraduates, and the first floor is home to the Beckwith Residential Community program for students with severe physical disabilities.

1961: The first study abroad program for students with disabilities
Sweden’s Central Committee on Rehabilitation awarded Nugent as an “outstanding expert in rehabilitation.” This funded Illinois’ DRES program to fund the first post-secondary institution to organize national and international trips for individuals with disabilities, host workshops, and provide demos dispelling negative, stereotypical attitudes & beliefs about persons with disabilities” (The History of Discrimination in U.S. Education). 

1962: 18 wheelchair-using students and alumni traveled to South Africa in 1962 to show what these students with disabilities and alumni had accomplished.

1965: The University of Illinois piloted its first study abroad program to Auix-en-Providence, France, for disabled university students. 

Tim Nugent is inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame.1973: Tim Nugent is inducted into the Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Always a visionary, Dr. Nugent expanded wheelchair basketball beyond the VA hospitals to bring structure to the sport and create worldwide adoption and acceptance for wheelchair basketball. That acceptance has seen the sport grow into one that is now competed on the program of the Paralympic Games and Parapan Am Games, and which has been enjoyed by millions of people.”

The first wheelchair athletes in the world to win the Olympics.1984: The first college-level adapted sports and recreation program. This produced the first wheelchair athlete in the world to win the Olympics. Sharon Hedrick, won a gold track medal at the Olympic Games by breaking the world record. She finished with a time of 2:15.73 in the 800m wheelchair. She successfully defended this title at the following games in South Korea.






About Illinois Online
At Illinois, we understand that today’s learners want and need options for their education and we are leading the way in innovative higher education delivery modalities. From high school students pursuing online math programs to residential students taking an online course to improve their time to degree to working professionals who want or need certifications, to career changers pursuing a fully online degree, to personal curiosity from someone who wants to explore a subject area. Illinois offers an extensive range of online academic options to students around the globe including 90+ Online Degree, Certificate and Endorsement Programs, 1700+ Online Course Sections, Online Learners from Across the Globe and 3.2 million MOOC Learners (Massive Open Online Courses). For more information visit: https://online.illinois.edu/. 

About IADP
Through the professional certificate program in Information Accessibility Design and Policy (IADP), website developers, programmers, designers, information technology specialists, compliance officers, educators, and disability service providers will learn about the following: Principles of accessible information architecture and universal design information technologies used in educational, healthcare, corporate, and employment settings. Federal and state legal mandates governing information technology accessibility and their relationship to the civil rights of people with disabilities. Information technology accessibility standards, design practices that enable adherence to those standards, and tools that support validation and evidence of compliance to those standards. Each certificate requires the completion of three graduate courses (2 hours each, a total of 6 hours). For more information visit: http://iadp.ahs.illinois.edu/

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