Creating an inclusive campus for all students

When students think about which college they want to attend, many make their decision based on offered majors, scholarships or even how good their athletic programs are. Auburn University is known for all three of those things and more. Adding to the growing list of things that confirms Auburn’s new motto of “we are an everything school,” Auburn was featured in the Careers & Disability Magazine, which referred to a list from The Mighty.

Auburn was ranked number two in the country on The Mighty’s Top 10 Universities and Colleges with Outstanding Programs for Students with Disabilities. This is a huge honor for Auburn and is a testament to the work that Accessibility and the College of Education’s Education to Accomplish Growth in Leadership Experiences for Success (EAGLES) program does. According to the magazine, “Although 86% of universities enroll and educate students with disabilities, only 24% of the schools polled indicated offering those students assistance ‘to a major extent.”

Accessibility’s job is to create a more inclusive and equitable environment for Auburn students and staff with disabilities. Marlye Lee, an accommodations specialist in Accessibility, works with students, faculty and the community to reduce barriers and create a more accessible campus and learning environment. “I was thrilled to learn that Auburn was ranked #2 on The Mighty’s top 10 list,” she says. “It is easy for me to recognize the work that our office does, but for it to be recognized by others- that’s amazing. I think it [the ranking] gives students and faculty confidence in our office and, hopefully, brings understanding of our mission – that disability is a fundamental element of diversity and we really value the experience of students with all abilities and what that experience brings to our campus.”

This acknowledgment of Auburn on this list was no surprise to Haven Hart, who sees day-in and day-out what this team does for Auburn and its impact on current and future students. “I believe the current services provided by Accessibility already meet the needs of students and our numbers are significantly increasing each year,” she says. “That tells us that the interest is already there. But if the ranking generates more interest in Auburn and this office, we welcome those students to the Auburn community and are happy to serve them.”

The ranking adds to an already stellar year for Accessibility. “At Auburn, we want to be number 1 at everything, from athletics to accessibility.” Lee says “With the EAGLES program continuing to grow, our wheelchair basketball team winning a National Championship this year and more visibility for Accessibility, we are really in a position to move Auburn into that top spot.”

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— By Jayla Coleman, Media & Marketing Intern

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Last modified: 08/01/2019