The National Federation of the Blind administers an accessibility inclusion fellowship program under a non-visual accessibility initiative grant from the State of Maryland.
It was an honor to be among the first group of college faculty to be awarded a Blind Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship. Being able to work with the staff at the National Federation of the Blind to become informed about accessibility has transformed the way I think, and in turn, has allowed me to enhance my students' understanding of the power they will have to suggest and implement concrete strategies to ensure that organizations integrate accessibility into information systems when they enter the work world. — Susan Vowels, DBA
The Accessibility Inclusion Fellowship is a one-year fellowship awarded by the National Federation of the Blind to three Maryland professors to assist them in integrating accessibility into their curriculum and teaching methods in at least one course. We award $2,000 to an instructor of a University System of Maryland school or a professor of an independent Maryland college, and two awards of $1,500 each to Maryland community college instructors.
In addition to providing a financial stipend to each professor, we work individually with the professors/instructors to brainstorm solutions to their accessibility challenges, help them develop and implement an accessibility action plan, and provide meaningful educational resources and tools. As a result of the enhanced knowledge and skill sets of our fellows, our fellows not only create greater access to students to all to their courses, but empower their students to consider accessibility from the ground-up in all of their ensuing work, resulting in their greater demand in the marketplace.
Our work with former fellows has included:
- Meetings with the NFB access technology team and other staff members to educate, inform, and problem-solve
- Tours of the NFB
- Classroom presentations by the NFB’s access tech specialists
- Student presentations to our access tech specialists, who then provide feedback to the students
- Accessibility resources and materials to educate the professors
- Recommendations of upcoming, relevant accessibility seminars, conferences, and boutiques
Current 2021 Fellows
Michael Scott Brown, PhD
Program Director, Computer Science
University of Maryland Global Campus
Course: Software Design and Implementation, Information and Technology Department
Howard Community College
Associate Professor of Physics/Astronomy
Course: Elementary Astronomy and its corresponding lab
Assistant Professor and Statistics Coordinator
Carroll Community College
Course: Introduction to Statistical Methods, Division of Mathematics and Engineering
Renee F. Hill
University of Maryland
College of Information Studies
Course: Diverse Populations, Inclusion & Information
Joyram Chakraborty, PhD
Department of Computer and Information Sciences
Course: Human Computer Interaction
Austin A. Lobo
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Course: Database Systems
Susan Vowels, DBA
Constance F. and Carl W. Ferris
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Business Management
Course: Management Information Systems
2022 Fellowship Program
Applications will open the Fall of 2021. The following information is needed for the application.
- Professional title
- Name of your institution
- Email address
- Phone number
- Course title
- Is this a required course, or elective?
- Cover letter
- Class syllabus
- The course description from the college catalog
- Two professional references
Your existing course does not need to have an accessibility component. If chosen, the NFB will work with you through our Center of Excellence in Nonvisual Access to enhance your course curriculum to include accessibility concepts by providing consultation and assistance with course instruction.
We look forward to the continued progress of equal access to information and technologies with your help. Together, we turn dreams into reality.