Thursday, May 19, was the 11th annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), focusing on digital equality for the one billion people in the world living with a disability. Creating an accessible digital environment supports the full participation of all members of the campus community in the academic, research, and work life of the University. In a world where 15% of the population has a disability (according to the World Health Organization), a statistic that holds true for the University of Chicago as well, it is vital to ensure that technology for coursework, digital materials, websites and web applications are accessible for as many students as possible. This is precisely why GAAD was so important. 1 2

All of our Center for Digital Accessibility (CDA) team members are CPACC (Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies) certified from the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP). Without the CDA and their assistive technology (AT) resources, students with disabilities at UChicago would not be able to have an equitable learning experience as their classmates.

GAAD topics included the Digital Accessible Experience (DAX) team from the Chicago Lighthouse, who demonstrated AT devices and software used by people with visual impairment and disabilities. The UChicago CDA and Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) teams both presented about the University’s Digital Accessibility Policy. There was also a discussion of the legal framework underlying digital accessibility and recent legal challenges. The day finished with demos of software programs that offer accessibility checkers and examples of website accessibility testing methods.

If you missed the presentations, or just want a quick review, you may watch the UChicago GAAD presentation recordings on the CDA website.


1. “Disability and Health.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, November 24, 2021.

2. “SPRING 2016 CAMPUS CLIMATE SURVEY Diversity and Inclusion.” University of Chicago. Campus Climate Committee, November 2016. SPRING 2016 CAMPUS CLIMATE SURVEY Diversity and Inclusion