By Molly Hovden
Todd Weissenberger and Kirk Corey have won a 2016-17 Diversity Catalyst Award in recognition of their contributions to improving website accessibility at the University of Iowa.
The award is sponsored by the Chief Diversity Office and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. It honors employees, programs/departments, and students or student organizations engaged in diversity initiatives that promote the development of an inclusive, diverse campus community at the UI.
Weissenberger, IT accessibility specialist, and Corey, director of policy and user services, of the UI Information Security and Policy Office, inspired others on campus to embrace technical accessibility; their leadership and passion helped people understand why website accessibility is important. The UI made great strides in web accessibility, ranking first in an assessment of 140 university websites.
Corey and Weissenberger were instrumental in developing and executing strategy that involved creating campus-wide standards, providing training and consulting, raising awareness, conducting internal evaluations, and adopting a content management system that supports accessibility.
The two are able to point out ways accessibility best practices benefit everyone–for example, how improving the web experience for assistive technology users also creates a better experience for users of mobile devices. In addition to serving as a valuable accessibility resource to campus, they built partnerships to ensure the success of these efforts, teaming with fellow advocates on and beyond campus, UI executives, assistive technology users, web developers, and content producers.
“Accessibility is not just a job to them,” says Associate Vice President and Chief Information Officer Steve Fleagle. “It is easy to see that they believe in this cause–in doing what is right by providing an equivalent experience to all users of technology, regardless of ability or access method.”
Corey and Weissenberger were among six individuals who received the Diversity Catalyst Award this year. The award ceremony was held March 27 at the Iowa Memorial Union.